Wine Tasting Club – Malvasia

By / Wine + Drinks / September 4th, 2012 / 2

The Malvasia (pronouced mal-va-ZEE-ya) grape is part of a family that originated at some point in Greece’s ancient history. Now, you can find it springing up in vineyards in pretty much every vine growing region of the world. Italy seems to have taken to heart the most with Spain, Portugal and the US championing its existence perhaps the most. Malvasia actually comes in two types – white and red. If you did take it upon yourself to travel the world looking for it, you’d find that Malvasia Bianca, as the white is known, is the one that’s most commonly planted. The sweet passito style of wine (using dried grapes) are typically made with Malvasia. The grape can also be made into high quality dry wines, too. More often than not, though, you’ll find that a portion of Malvasia has been blended with one or more other grapes.

As I gradually learned more about Malvasia, I couldn’t help drawing a parallel to Chardonnay. The latter is one that is cherished by many winemakers because it’s malleable in the wine-making process. The expert winemaker can mould it into whatever he or she would like it to become – oaked or not, chenin-style, sweet. It’s general characteristics, whether you’re drinking the white or the red are fruitiness both on the nose and on the palate, yet crisp, clear and quaffable.

Try these:

Marqués De Cáceres Antea 2010 $14.95

Composition From Rioja, this white is made up of Viura and Malvasia.
Colour Clear, pale yellow straw with a very slight greenish tinge.
Bouquet Lemon zest, butter, vanilla, Granny Smith apple and spice.
Taste Layers of oakiness come through with a hint of spice; lots of lime and yellow plum with a very long thirst quenching finish.

I had it with a bowl of orecchiete pasta and swiss chard.

Cantine De Falco Salore Salice Salentino 2008 $16.95

Composition From Puglia, this red is made from Negroamaro and Malvasia.
Colour Deep purplish garnet.
Bouquet Boysenberry and cherry with some cedar and cocoa.
Taste Dark cherry and spice, tannins are definitely evident, with a long finish.

Sip it alongside spaghetti and meatballs in a thick tomato-basil sauce.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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