Malvasia del Chianti

Malvasia del Chianti, which is technically called Malvasia Bianca Lunga, probably originated in the North East. Evidence of this can be found in its closest relatives: the Garganega, used to make the famous the Prosecco, and the Vitovska. In ampelographic terms, it is one of the easiest varieties to recognise: the bunches are typically large and ample, and the rounded, medium-small berries have slightly thicker, tougher skin than that of the Trebbiano Toscano. Clearly, these features can vary according to the clone and the biotype, but in general, these are its most obvious characteristics. It grows quite happily throughout Tuscany, although it does have some weaknesses: it is particularly susceptible to downy mildew, and is not very resistant to other vine diseases. Outside Italy, it is surprisingly common in the vineyards of Croatia, with as many as 500 hectares planted with this variety. Unlike Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia played a central role in Bettino Ricasoli’s recipe for Chianti. However, today’s Chianti Classico does not include any white grapes in the production process. Nevertheless, it plays an important part in the making of Vin Santo. Indeed, Malvasia del Chianti (as it is right to call it in this context) lends a special aroma and freshness to this famous sweet wine from the winemakers of Chianti.

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