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OBTAINING “MUST”

By definition, must is the juice pressed from fruit, usually the grape, which is fermented to make wine. However, there are two localities in the Sierra de las Nieves, Tolox and Yunquera, where the fermented wine, ie, the finished product, is called must. While in the past a number of mountain villages engaged in the artisanal production of wine in wineries and winepresses, currently the craft is found only in the areas of Tolox and Yunquera.

They are mountain vineyards, high up on the mountainsides of the Sierra, where the use of pack animals is essential for the transport of grape to winepress. The “must wine” of the Sierra is white, dry and of high alcoholic content. The end of September sees the start of the harvesting of the varieties of white grape which are turned into white wines after they have been pressed and fermented. Until not so long ago, pressing was done with esparto grass sandals but, as in other times, it has been adapted to the changes imposed by evolution.

Wine destined for distillation because it lacks the right qualities for consumption is called vino de quema (“burning wine“) and there are good examples of stills which distill the well-known brandies of Ojén and Yunquera.

Despite their quality, the wines of the Sierra de las Nieves never had the marketing that they merit as the vintage is destined for self-consumption or bulk sale. The mountain vineyards suffered a serious reverse at the end of the 19th century with the phylloxera plague and unless policies or guidelines (a regulatory body, promotion and marketing, etc.) are adopted to put the future of these wines on a different course, they will end up extinct, remaining as nothing more than a collective memory witnessed only by the ruined walls of the winepresses..

 

 

Association for the Rural Development of Sierra de las Nieves

Edificio Sierra de las Nieves, Paraje de Río Grande-Las Millanas, s/n - 29109- Tolox (Málaga) - Phone: 952 48 28 21 - Fax: 952 48 29 44

Email: agdr@sierranieves.com