Malvasia

Name of varietal: Malvasia

Common synonyms: Malvoisie, Malmsey, Malvasia Istriana, Malvazia, Monemvasia

Parentage of the grape: thought to be indigenous to Greece

History of the grape: Malvasia is one of those rabbit-like vines that likes to procreate, often spontaneously. For this reason, there are dozens of clones and subspecies derived from the original, and it comes in both red and the much more common white. It is believed to have originated in Greece as Monemvasia, and was brought to Italy by the Romans, from where it spread most notably to Spain, France, Portugal and Croatia.

In most places in Europe, it has an often unbilled role in blends and bulk wines, though some more sophisticated productions exist and are worth looking out for. In Italy, it is vinified in the north as a single varietal in dry white wines as Malvasia Istriana. It is also one of the grapes used in Vin Santo fortified wine.

The British started calling the grape “Malmsey” when they established their Read more »

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