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article imageReview: Málaga, Spain — Sunshine, tapas and a glass of excellent wine

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By Anne Sewell     Sep 5, 2013 in Food
Most people have heard about Spain’s wine, especially from the famous La Rioja wine region. What you might not know is that Málaga, on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, produces some pretty darn good wine of its own and at affordable prices too.
Spanish wines are famous worldwide, but a lesser known fact is that Málaga has been producing wines all the way back to Phoenician times and possibly has one of the oldest wine-producing histories in the world.
Reportedly, Málaga enjoyed a profitable export of its wine in the past, with the Greeks, the Romans and the Moors all enjoying the quality. However, during the 19th century, tastes changed and along with vine-destroying plagues, Málaga's wine industry was all but decimated.
Things have most definitely improved since then and today, Málaga is the largest of the DO (Denominación de Origen or Designation of Origin) wine producing areas in Andalucía. There are around 3,000 acres planted in some 30 vineyards (Bodegas) and the area produces over 2 million liters annually.
The Málaga area is best known for its sweet wines, produced from the Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez grape varieties. These two grape varieties are mainly grown in the Axarquia growing region of Málaga province, close to the town of Vélez-Málaga.
The larger Moscatel grapes, mostly for eating, are grown around the village of Manilva and a sweet variation of the Pedro Ximenez variety predominates just north of Antequera.
Bodega Málaga Virgen wines and bottles from  Pedro Ximénez Reserva de Familia
Bodega Málaga Virgen wines and bottles from "Pedro Ximénez Reserva de Familia"
MG Spain Export Consulting Spanish International Trade Consulting
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What is interesting to note is that despite where the grapes are actually grown, pressed and sometimes fermented, Málaga wines are all aged in the city of Málaga itself.
Part of the culture and social life of Andalucía is to enjoy a small glass of sweet wine, and Málaga has some original and very interesting wine bars in which to do just that.
The video tells us about two of the very best wine bars in Málaga - Antigua Casa de Guardia and Bodega-Bar El Pimpi.
Antigua Casa de Guardia
Antigua Casa de Guardia was founded in 1840 by Don José Guardia and is the oldest wine bar/tavern in Málaga, and has been producing and serving wine in the same way for the last 172 years.
More than just a wine bar, Antigua Casa de Guardia is an institution, and for lovers of wine, a place that must be visited when in the city.
Not only that, but it has a little Royal heritage too. Queen Isabel II appointed the Antigua Casa de Guardia as the official supplier of Málaga wines to the Royal household and even allows the Royal seal to be used on labeling.
Nothing much has changed over the years and the wine bar retains its original look. As can be seen in the video, the interior of the wine bar consists of age-old oak counters and wooden barrels.
The wine flows from Cuban and Russian taps that date from before the Second World War.
Wine bars in Málaga  Spain - Antigua Casa de Guardia.
Wine bars in Málaga, Spain - Antigua Casa de Guardia.
Spain Holiday
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Casa de Guardia remains an authentic living wine museum, with its antiques, paintings and carefully preserved bottles.
Another tradition which continues to this day, and which may surprise you, is when your bar bill is written on the counter in front of you in chalk.
Bodega-Bar El Pimpi
And what is wine without a taste of the best Spanish tapas? Bodega-Bar El Pimpi is the most famous tapa bar on the Costa del Sol. It is also one of Málaga city's most iconic landmarks and a must-visit destination.
Situated in a former eighteenth-century mansion, right in the heart of the city, Bodega-Bar El Pimpi is just a short distance from the popular Plaza de la Merced.
The bar has a typical Andalucían charm, with terraces and interior patios, perfect for relaxing on warm summer evenings while enjoying some of the local tapas and sipping the delicious local wine.
The food is excellent and also reasonably priced and the bar's Málaga Virgin wine has been voted as being the best in Andalucía.
The bar itself is attractively and traditionally decorated with pictures and posters, bull fighting memorabilia and old barrels, Many of the barrels have been signed by numerous famous visitors to the bar, including Antonio Banderas, the Picasso family, the Duke of Alba, professional tennis player Rafael Nadal, several big names in the Flamenco world, some politicians and various other well-known celebrities.
Any tourists visiting Málaga should do their best to visit both these iconic and traditional venues to enjoy the pleasure of the good local wines and tasty tapas.
Wine bar in Málaga  Spain.
Wine bar in Málaga, Spain.
Spain Holiday
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Málaga - more than just an airport:
While many visitors use Málaga as a destination to fly into, and out of, on their Costa del Sol holiday, the city has so much to offer travelers: history, art, culture, traditional sights and sounds, and great food and wine.
Many excellent hotels and hostelries are available to visitors and for those who prefer to be a little more independent and live like a "malagueñan", there are plenty of great holiday rentals in Málaga and the surrounding areas available for your pleasure.
So make a point to visit this great city in southern Spain, lift up a glass of the best sweet wine from Málaga and say, "Salud!"
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