Ampelography and history
Malvasia is a red grape variety with a medium sized leaf that is pentagonal and five-lobed. The grape bunches are of medium size, cylindrical, compact and with pronounced wings. The berries are medium-large and thick-skinned which makes then tolerant to gray mold. They are very waxy, blue-black in colour, medium-late maturing and aromatic in flavor. Malvasia shows some resistance to adverse climatic conditions and the main vine diseases, ensuring, in general, an abundant and consistent harvest.
There are many grape vines in Italy that go by the name of Malvasia, but this Malavasia with aromatic deeply coloured fruit also known as Malvasia di Casorzo d’Asti, is not to be confused with the many other varieties, both white and red, in Piedmont and in other Italian regions which derive their name from the greek port of Monemvasia, home to a Venetian fortress and a crossroads of trade between East and West.
The Malvasia di Casorzo, although it represents a minority of the plantings in Italy as a whole and Piedmmont in particular, is characterized by a strong personality and independence. Its production area, in fact, has strictly defined boundaries and Malvasia di Casorzo is produced as a DOC wine only in a small area straddling the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, in the municipalities of Casorzo, Grana, Grazzano Badoglio (AT), Vignale Monferrato , Altavilla, Ottiglio and Olivola (AL).
Malvasia di Casorzo’s aromatic grapes are the basis for the production of sweet, highly perfumed wines that may be effervescent or even strongly sparkling. On rare occasions, the grapes are dried and then used to produce very sweet dessert wines (also known as Straw Wine from the straw mats upon which the grapes are dried, vino passito in Italian).