Call it, if you like, the “Dot Malvasia”. The Malvasia puntinata is so called because it is characterized by a singular black dot at the height of the center of the berry when it is ready to be harvested.
Palates accustomed to ancient tastes will know what we are talking about: the queen varietal of the Castelli Romani.
A precious and…pop glass
Good and rare, therefore precious, Malvasia Puntinata or also called Malvasia del Lazio has over time become a symbol, expression and identity of the area around Rome.
The resulting wines are fine and typical nectars, embellished by the quality brands conquered over the years by the bottles of the Castelli Romani, mainly based on Malvasia del Lazio.
The bright color of the wines, the lively character, the enveloping aroma and the intense flavour, the varied aftertaste of tropical fruit and flowers, combined with the fresh flavor but also savory and persistent, are the elements which over time have contributed to making the product recognizable and mostly associated with the vineyard area in the south of the capital. The Malvasia puntinata manages to resist and proliferates, very well appreciated at brunchs, with shellfish-based aperitifs but also the simplest and fastest of dinners based on white meats which can become more delicious if accompanied from a good glass of Frascati, Marino doc.
Malvasia del Lazio as you will have already understood from this hint – is therefore an integral part of the history and identity of a territory, the Castelli Romani, which arises, lives, cultivates and makes wine on the so-called “Lazio volcano”.
It is here where the grape Malvasia puntinata has managed to reign until it has become a symbol of identity, thanks to the precious DOC including this varietal on the Frascati and Marino to mention some.
A story began in ancient Greece
The history of Malvasia is ancient. The varietal most likely appears in ancient Greece, in Crete, where one of the sweet wines much appreciated at the time in that area was produced.
The name itself, in fact, Malvasia derives from a Greek term and means “place with only one entrance”.
What is therefore certainly clear is that Malvasia is a vine with a particularly complex history that has seen its fame grow over time and pass from glass to glass and, once tasted, from mouth to mouth, so as to become one of the wines most sought after and consequently cultivated in Europe.
Thus it was that the production of Malvasia was diffused in many Greek islands, then in Dalmatia, in the South of France, in Spain, in Portugal, and, which interests us most, in practically all Italian regions.
A massive but also varied diffusion and, in the past centuries obviously not codified with specific DOC and characteristics, which has generated not only the popularity of Malvasia but also a certain confusion and, consequently an inevitable loss of value. Especially when, over the decades, the study of oenology has gone deeper and deeper.
A quality goal
This picture explains why today’s confusion could have been created in Italy, the main country producing Malvasia grapes, where under the same semantic umbrella there can be a grape with a neutral flavor such as Malvasia Lunga or Malvasia del Chianti, a grape it gives a wine with rather herbaceous aromas such as Malvasia Istriana, a semi aromatic grape such as Malvasia del Lazio or Puntinata, a grape with sure Greek origins but dating back to the settlers of more than 500 years BC such as Malvasia di Lipari , aromatic red grapes such as Malvasia di Casorzo and Malvasia di Schierano, red grapes with a simple flavor such as Malvasia di Lecce, Brindisi and Basilicata, and above all a grape such as Malvasia di Candia (synonym of Crete) Aromatic, with ‘explosive aroma, comparable, in terms of intensity and fragrance, only to that of Moscato. A set of different vines, which have in common only the name and probable geographical origin. Nowadays, in Italy, there are 16 Malvasia vines registered in the National Register of vine varieties, while in Europe there are 46 different types of Malvasia.
In short, the flagship product of the Castelli Romani area occupied a residual part (about 1/50 of the entire production of the large family of Italian Malvasias).
The rediscovery of the grape took place in a fairly recent era, thanks to the assignment of DOC recognition to the wines of Lazio, among which Malvasia Puntinata plays the main part.
Malvasia del Lazio, once very widespread due to the finesse of its products, is today, one of the most characteristic and traditional vines of regional viticulture.
Lazio has soil and climate characteristics that are particularly advantageous for the cultivation of vines, especially in the Castelli Romani area, characterized by hills that optimize the exposure of the grapes to the sun and by a soil of volcanic origin. The cultivation of this vine extends throughout the territory. The high qualitative characteristics with which Malvasia del Lazio is able to express itself in our region are well known to all, and can be easily deduced from the fact that it is included in the blend of almost all the D.O.C. most important in Lazio: Frascati, Marino, Roma Doc, Velletri, Castelli Romani, Colli Lanuvini and Colli Albani.