History of the Malvasia

History of the Malvasia

Malvasia in Piacenza means Malvasia Bianca di Candia aromatica (aromatic white malmsey of Crete) and is one of the 17 varieties of the large Malvasia family (including white, black and pink grapes).
Even though it shares its ancient origin and the etymology, it is the most aromatic and rich. Its name derives from the Greek town of Monemvasia or Monemvaxia, located in the Candia Island, today known as Crete.

Monemvasia was an important harbor from where many wines (from the Peloponnese, Rhodes, Crete and other islands), produced from raisened grapes, were shipped. Over time, all the wines shipped from the island were known as Malvasia even though they were very different from one another.

During the Middle Age, from Monemvasia many wines were shipped. From the second half of the 13th Century, the Venice Republic ships transported and sold the Crete wine in the Mediterranean Sea and in Northern Europe.

The Venetians italianized Monemvasia first into Malvagìa and then into Malvasia. Since then, in Venice, the osterie selling wines from Monemvasia were known by that name and, today, many streets called Calli della Malvasia can be found, where the old osterie where. Andrea Bacci, at the end of the 16th Century, was the first academic to describe the different Malvasia varieties.

When the variety arrived in Piacenza is not precisely known but the name is reported in the Annali dell’Agricoltura del Regno d’Italia di Filippo Re, in 1813.

At the beginning of the 1960s, it is the most cultivated white grape variety in Piacenza, with a 40% share. The Malvasia is not as widespread in Parma and in Reggio Emilia because the Colli Piacentini are still the ideal habitat, where around 700ht are dedicated to it.

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