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A trip to Malaga to meet Samuel Párraga

A trip to Malaga to meet Samuel Párraga

Samuel Párraga works across a handful of different vineyards in Andalusia, producing a number of cuvées ranging from dry, sweet and oxidative in their style.

(Samuel looking out over the ‘Montes de Málaga’)


I have been lucky enough to travel around Andulusia with a good friend Alba Aponte who is the owner of Al Sur de Granada. About to celebrate its 20th birthday, this is one of the first natural wine shops in Spain and is well worth a visit next time you are in Granada.


(‘Montes de Málaga’)


We meet Samuel at a petrol station at the foot of the ‘Montes de Málaga’ mountain range where even here, he is eager to talk about the soil type. He explains to me that this slate soil produces excellent, ripe fruit with strong mineral characteristics. We follow Samuel up the winding roads until we reach Alto Jabonero, a vineyard 890m above sea level. There is a tiny building nestled into the mountain top, surrounded by forest with breath taking views. 1.5 hectares of vines stretch out on a very steep slope interspersed with beautiful red poppies and you can see Malaga City and the ocean in the distance. This plot belongs to fellow winemaker Paco Chinchilla who rents it to Samuel. He was born in these mountains and has been making wines here his whole life.


(Samuel & Paco Chinchilla in the vineyard)


The appellation of ‘Montes de Málaga’ was world famous in the 1800s for its wines that were exported from Malaga harbour until the Phylloxera crisis hit in the 1870s. This put an abrupt end to the growing success and the region has been trying to recover ever since. Many vineyards were replaced with pines trees in order to protect the city from flooding and today, a tiny fraction of land is used for grape production compared to the heydays of the 18th century.



 (Alto Jabonero Vineyard)


In 2010 Paco Chinchilla planted the vines which we are visiting today and Samuel took over maintaining the vineyard and making wines here in 2022. Both individuals are very concerned about the drastic changes to the climate in recent years. Previously average annual rainfall was 500 litres per square meter but last year it fell to just 200. This has resulted in a much lower yield of grapes which are more concentrated with higher sugar levels. Despite this situation and the change to harvest schedules, Samuel has still been able to produce incredible wines by adapting to how he works in the cellar.


(Samuel in the cellar)


I asked if they think the vines will adjust to this new environment and its clear that they both find this a very hard subject to discuss. In short, they don’t really know but it is getting harder and harder to have vineyards in this area. ‘When I think about future generations, it breaks my heart’ said Paco.


(Samuel & Paco Chinchilla in the cellar)


However, it is clear that Samuel is a talented young winemaker who has drive and determination in the bucket loads. He has come from a family with a long history of viticulture and has been harvesting grapes since he was 5 years old. He is learning from older farmers like Paco Chinchilla as well as the newer generation of winemakers like Fernando Angulo over in Cádiz. This will help him forge his own path and continue to produce pure wines that express the Andalusian terroir he is clearly so passionate about.

We currently have the following wines in stock from Samuel; 

Rapagon 2022 - a still, dry white wine made from organic Moscatel and Pedro Ximenez grapes. Fresh and zesty with a touch of aromatics. Easy drinking.

1043 Ancestral 2021 - a rich and juicy red wine with a hint of fizz. The perfect apéritif. Enjoy it chilled. 

0981 Blanco 2021A complex wine that is best served with food. Rich, stone fruit flavours supported by a strong mineral and smokey finish.

View full collection here 


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