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Malvasia

Common name or synonym (many names for one variety) and homonym (one name for many varieties) for many different, unrelated grape varieties, particularly in Italy, Spain and Portugal. They are available in the berry colours white, light green, grey, rosé, red, blue and black and also with different aromas, for example with and without muscatel. In summary, the grape varieties with "Malvasia" in their name have a genetically diverse background and show an equally heterogeneous morphology (external appearance). This means that there are no particular Malvasia-specific characteristics. The name Malvasia refers to a type of wine and not to a family of grape varieties, which is often wrongly called "Malvasia" (the same phenomenon also applies to the four groups of names Lambrusco, Muscat, Trebbiano and Vernaccia)

Hafenstadt Monemvasia an der Südostseite der Halbinsel Peloponnes

The name Malvasia is probably a reference to the port of Monemvasia in the south-eastern Peloponnese, which in the Middle Ages was a transshipment point for dessert wines from the Mediterranean. An important production site was Crete. The merchants from the then naval power Venice imported "Vinum de Malvasias" in 1278. These were so important at that time that the Venetian wine shops were even called "Malvasia". However, these wines were made from different Greek grape varieties, which were often blended together. Among the candidates are Aïdani Aspro, Aïdani Mavro, Assyrtiko, Athiri Aspro, Athiri Mavro, Kydonitsa, Liatiko, Monemvasia, Thrapsathiri and Vilana.

The name Malvasia eventually became synonymous with excellent wines and also found its way into world literature. Shakespeare's Falstaff pays tribute to a Malvasia and Thomas Mann has a bouteille of Malvasia brought from the cellar in "Buddenbrooks". Which varieties the authors meant was probably not even clear to these two. The name Malvasia has been changed or verbalized in different languages. In English, it became Malmsey and is also the name of a type of Madeira wine. In France Malvoisie is used, in Croatia Malvazija and in German-speaking countries Malvasia. There are also the spellings Malvagia, Malvasie, Malvasijie, Malvasika and Malvasiya. In numerous sources and publications often only a short "Malvasia" is mentioned, which often makes identification difficult.

Malvasia Bianca di Candia / Malvasia di Schierano / Malvasia Bianca Lunga

There are at least 25 different varieties with "Malvasia" in the main name, as well as countless in synonyms. In the individual countries and also regions these varieties are called differently. It is not surprising that there is often confusion here. The about 100 most important names with Malvasia in the name:

Further lists of vine variety names or synonyms can be found under Malvasia (common in the German-speaking world) and Malvoisie (common in France).

In Italy, there are also a number of DOC wines with Malvasia in the designation, but for which Malvasia varieties are not exclusively used. These are:

Grape varieties: M.I.P.A.A.F - National Vine Certification Service

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