Wine production in Málaga province started in the eighth century BC with the Phoenicians and the industry was later developed by the Greeks, Romans, Moors and more recently, by the British.
Málaga has three DOs (Denominaciones de Origen):
DO Málaga (mainly sweet white wines)
DO Sierra de Málaga (white, rose and red wines)
DO Pasas de Málaga (raisins).
The province is most famous for its sweet fortified dessert wines from the DO Málaga which are made from the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel white grape varieties.
The three main growing areas are: La Axarquia, Montes de Málaga , and Zona Norte (the hills north of Antequera).
I know of two bodegas in the Centro where you can try local wines; one quite central, and the other (my favourite) slightly off the beaten track.
For more contemporary drinking experiences, please see my post on Rooftop Bars. All these bars and others can be found on my Google map
Antigua Casa de Guardia (Intermediate A-), 18 Alameda Principal, www.antiguacasadeguardia.net
This ancient tavern has sold famous local wines on draught since 1840. It’s just a single large room spanned across its width by a long bar and barrels with signs on along the back wall. My favourites are the Málaga Virgen and Moscatel.
In traditional style, the bartenders chalk up your bill on the bar as you go along. They serve simple tapas too which probably haven’t changed since the place opened.
Casa de Guardia is a good place to start your night out as it has heaps of atmosphere and cheap, though not amazing wines (B/C).
La Odisea (Intermediate A), 2 Subida a la Coracha, www.vinosdemalaga.com
This is a favourite spot of mine and I have my friend Nicky and a local blog to thank for making me come here. I love the old world charm of ‘The Odyssey’ and would totally recommend it over the more famous and touristy Antigua Casa de Guardia.
There are about twenty small barrels of different local wines inside and customers can buy wines to take out by the bottle. They sometimes also put on wine tastings and live music.
The location isn’t ideal (on a main road right by the entrance to the tunnel that goes under the castle) but it’s still nice to sit outside on the small terrace.
If you want more peace and quiet there’s an internal patio out the back, complete with a small bomb shelter from the Second World War. Or you could sit in the dark interior by the barrels, but it can be a bit stuffy in the summer, even with the doors open.
I tried two local sweet wines at €2 a glass; the Pajarete (B+) and the Málaga Cream (A), which has notes of coconut to my palate. I liked the Cream so much that I got a bottle to take home for a mere €12. I also tried their brandy which was just okay (B) but good value at €3 a glass.
They also serve tapas which I also need to try next time, along with their acclaimed homemade vermouth. A favourite spot, do go.