Malvasia: the vine of the Mediterranean sea + the Fair
Malvasia is the vine of Mediterranean sea, a story of men, territories, methods, and traditions of the different areas, full of mistery and legends that I am going to discover with you.
In the past, when I was starting to learn something about wine, between books and Onav courses, I took advantage of any occasion (dinners, brunches, or endless italian aperitivo), to understand my tastes, by discovering that bubbles stimulated a particular curiosity in me.
I would choose Prosecco (when forced), Franciacorta (when I had to please others), Trento DOC (when the possibility of finding something good was significantly higher than the rest on the wine list).
Surely, I would definitely avoid, without hesitation, Malvasia.
And that was a mistake. A huge mistake.
Henceforth, I come from Tuscany, the most beautiful land of the world. I am made by 99% of patriotism and regional pride, so I used to consider Malvasia one of those barely sufficient grape varieties. Too much sweet, able to please only the palates of non-professional, thus not worthy of my attention.
When you start to fall in love with a territory, you also fall in love with its customs and traditions, including its gastronomic delights, right?
The opposite happened to me.
Now it has been two months since I arrived at Cantina Il Poggio in the role of Wine Expert and our Extra Brut Spumante is 100% Malvasia Aromatica di Candia: Mattia started telling me its story, the first book he assigned me to read was “La Malvasia di Parma. Past, Present, and Future” by AIS Parma.
So, I started to get curious, to pour myself a few more glasses of Parmigianino and to try to find its why and it ended up that Malvasia began to make me deeply connected with this territory.
I started to discover its history and vicissitudes (including the various legends and misteries that revolve around it) and with this article, I want to start talking about Malvasia, the vine of Mediterranean sea (and, yes, it is only the beginning).
Historical Overview – to start with
Once upon a time, in the Peloponnese peninsula, there was an ancient village, called Monemvasia, which means “harbour with a single entrance”. From the beginning of the Middle Age until the late Renaissance, wines from the nearby islands were collected in Monemvasia, including those from Crete, which, at that time, was called Candia.
During those years, the Republic of Venice played a fundamental role: it began to market Malvasia both in Italy and throughout Europe, distorting the name from Monemvasia to Malavagia, until 1214 when it was definitively named Malvasia.
From the 14th to the 17th century, Malvasia was the most famous wine in Europe: it was consumed during private events, celebrations and religious ceremonies. Consequently, several locals and alleys of Venice took her name too.
For the Serenissima, the trade of this wine represented a significant income. Consequently, the Venetians began to plant vines along the entire italian east coast, throughout the centre of Italy, both with Malvasia and with grape varieties that resembled it. In total, there are 19 varieties of Malvasia, with 19 different DNA, which cover almost the entire italian territory.
Malvasia Aromatica di Candia
In Emilia Romagna, more specifically in the area of Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia, Malvasia Aromatica di Candia is the local vine type. According to some studies and researches, it is possible to assume that Malvasia Aromatica di Candia is a cross between Malvasia Aromatica di Parma and another grape variety which is still unknown, but has a genetic relationship with Moscato Bianco.
Malvasia Aromatica di Candia has a rich and complex aromatic profile, with scents reminiscent of orange, cedar, lemon, yellow fruit such as peach and apricot, and floral notes such as acacia and lavender, honeyed and herbs such as sage, which finish with a slightly bitter, non-invasive taste.
In short, just put your nose in the glass, close your eyes and find yourself walking along the coastline, immersed in the classic landscape of the Mediterranean Sea, with all its fresh and colorful scents.
Malvasia is an extremely versatile grape variety, suitable for dry and semi-sweet wines, excellent in her sparkling version.
The grape bunch has a thick skin, which is why the amount of aromas is truly remarkable, because this is where we find them. We like to serve it in tastings with olives from the olive groves of our property, marinated in a mix of salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, fennel, bay leaves and orange zest.
When you drink bollicine, it is quite often an occasion to celebrate, and with the right bottle, any occasion is good for celebrating 🥂
The Parmigianino, made of 100% Malvasia Aromatica di Candia, is the Extra Brut Spumante DOC of Cantina Il Poggio. Fine and elegant, the Parmigianino gives us a sense of carefreeness and quenches our thirst during the most beautiful moments, those spent with the people we love.
It ferments at a controlled temperature and is bottled the following spring after harvest, after a slow refermentation in autoclave. Clear, with golden reflections, with an intense, delicate, and characteristic aroma, in our version, hints of peach, sage, and hawthorn stand out. Great for palates that do not like artificial sweetness, but rather those who are willing to appreciate genuine flavors.
The Malvasia Fear in Parma
Malvasia has literally enchanted me, and its story certainly cannot end here. In fact, we will talk about it again and again.
Behind Malvasia, there is a past made of men, lands, methods, traditions of the different areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Several stories that have intertwined thanks to a grape variety.
Sometimes it’s a territory that saves the wine, sometimes it’s the wine that saves a territory. At Cantina Il Poggio, we strongly believe in the potential of our beloved Malvasia.
Have I piqued your curiosity and you want to delve into its history too?
Start by celebrating🥂
📅 Save the date! On May 20th and 21st, 2023 and come visit us at the Festival of Malvasia in Sala Baganza (Parma, Italy).
We’ll be there, waiting for you! Don’t miss it! 😎
Cheers 🥂 Alessandra