Cordoba Wines

Pedro Ximenez is a delightful with desserts. © Michelle Chaplow
Pedro Ximenez is delightful with desserts.



Montilla-Moriles, located in the south of the Andalucian province of Córdoba, is one of the historical wine regions of Spain. The wine here has certain similarities with the Sherry of Jerez, but usually has suffered from the comparison. Montilla's dry finos have always been considered rougher than the equivalent Sherry, usually for lack of care in the wine-making process (though a good Montilla can be as fine as a good Sherry). Furthermore, in the past much of the region's production of Pedro Ximenez, the predominant grape in Montilla, was shipped to Jerez to sweeten their cream Sherries.

Now the dozen or so wineries in the region are trying to make up for lost time and establish a name for themselves.

These days it is hard to talk to anyone in Montilla without coming, sooner or later, to the subject of the comparative virtues of Montilla wine as opposed to Sherry. As with Sherry, the flor yeast intervenes in the process, and the same solera system is used to blend the different vintages. The major distinguishing factor is the grape variety used. While the Palomino grape is used for Sherry, most Montilla is made from Pedro Ximenez, which has a much higher sugar content and therefore gives wines with a naturally higher alcohol content, up to 16 percent volume. This means that, unlike Sherry, Montilla is not fortified with the addition of extra alcohol, and locals claim that as a result it does not give you a hangover.

The biggest and oldest winery in the area is Alvear, which can trace its origins back to 1729. They make the best-selling dry fino C.B. Alvear and other wineries in Montilla-Moriles also make interesting olorosos, amontillados and sweet wines which are well worth seeking out. In 1999 Alvear's Pedro Ximenez 1830 was voted by Spanish critics as the best wine in Spain.

The Montilla-Moriles wine region is situated in the province of Córdoba and covers an area of 7,742 hectares. The Montilla-Moriles wine region consists of 95 vineyards (Bodegas), which produce 24.4 millon liter of wine annually.

The grape used in Montilla-Moriles white wine is predominately Pedro Ximénez, as opposed to the Palomino used in Jerez. Other grape varieties used are Layrén, Baladí, Moscatel and Torrontés.

Red wine grape varieties are Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The 'fino' of Montilla-Moriles possesses a continental aroma of thyme and rosemary. The palette is hazelnut, against that of Jerez which is Almond, and of aromas of olive and of a very dry taste.

The wines of Montilla-Moriles have more body than those of Jerez having a stronger aroma, with lower acidity, less dry and less bitter. The reason for the differences is that the vineyards are further from the sea.

The vineyards are all between  37º 11' y 37º 40' latitude north and between 125 and 600 metres above sea level, average min and max temperature of 12,2 and 25,7 degrees centigrade, have between 2.800 and 3.000 hours of sunshine a year and between 501 and 998 mm of rainfall a year.

Typical Wines produced are:

  • Fino - pale, dry "sherry"
  • Amontillado - golden, dry, smooth
  • Oloroso - aged, dark, smooth, dryish
  • Palo Cortado - between Oloroso and Amontillado
  • Raya - between Fino and Oloroso
  • Ruedo - Non-aged fortified white wine
  • Pedro Ximenex - very dark & sweet

The controler of wine in the Montilla-Moriles wine region is:

Consejo Regulador de la D.O. MONTILLA-MORILES
C/Rita Pérez, s/n
14550 - MONTILLA (Córdoba)


Those wishing to explore the Montilla-Moriles wine region should follow the A-45 motorway between Cordoba and Antequera to visit the villages of Fernan Nuñez, Montemayor, La Rambla, Montilla, Aguilar de la Frontera, Morilles, Puente Genil and Lucena.


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