Found in the Penedès region of Catalonia, Malvasia de Sitges is just one of a much bigger Malvasia grape family. It may be relatively unfamiliar to wine lovers, but it does have the bonus of a fascinating and unusual back story.
Malvasija Dubrovačka, Malvasia di Lipari and Malvasía Aromática create wines that aren’t often found outside their home regions of Croatia, Italy and the Canary Islands, respectively, but mention Malmsey from Madeira and there may be more recognition.
In a quintessential moment in Shakespeare’s play Richard III, George Plantagenet is drowned in a butt of Malmsey. What’s Malmsey? Yet another name for the Malvasía grape.
Scroll down for a selection of seven Malvasia de Sitges wines to try
The word ‘Malvasía’ is thought to be derived from Monemvasia, a town at the very southern tip of Greece, but there is no genetic evidence for this link to the grape. Nonetheless, via its modern-day descendants, the variety has spread far and wide across the Mediterranean and out to mid-Atlantic outposts as well.