Like Muscat, this is an ancient, Mediterranean-based variety, whose heartland is Italy, where it makes anything from dry white to red wines and the rich, sweet, fragrant whites of the islands, notably Sardinia, Lipari close to Sicily.

Malvasia Istriana, from Friuli is particularly good and, as a sub-variety, like Malvasia di Candia, it is often blended to improve Italian basic whites. As a red variety, Malvasia Nera is blended with Negroamaro in Puglia. It’s common in Spain and Portugal and in Madeira, it is responsible for the rich Madeira wine known as Malmsey.

Written by