Andalusia, located in the southwest of Spain, is the southernmost administrative region of the Spanish mainland. It is home to the world-famous fortified wine, sherry.
The climate of Andalusia, which has a significant influence on wine production, can be divided into three zones: the cooler, Atlantic-influenced west coast, which includes the sherry-producing regions of Jerez and Sanlucar de Barrameda; the Mediterranean climate in the south, around Málaga and the Sierras de Málaga; and the relatively warm and dry conditions around Montilla-Moriles.
The latter two areas are best suited to the production of Andalusia's characteristic heavy dessert wines, made from Pedro Ximenez and Moscatel (Muscat) grapes, while the lower average temperatures of the southwestern coast are essential to preserve the acidity essential to the Palomino grapes for the production of Sherry Fino and Manzanilla styles. Airén is another important variety, grown in northern Andalusia, although it is mainly used in brandies and blended wines.
International varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot also produce good wines in the warmer parts of the region, and are becoming increasingly popular with local producers.