Istrian Malvasia vine leaves are very exuberant. It’s got strong vine with long scion and internodes. Leaf is mid size or big, has three parts with emphasised tines. Surface of a leaf is smooth, light green, smooth at the bottom. Cluser is mid size, loose or medium compact, usually with one wing. Berries are mid size or big, round, yellowish-green and when ripe and on the sunny side golden-yellow. Skin is covered with grey bloom and emphasised top dot. Meat is juicy of pleasant, sweet taste. Malvasia is very fruitful variety therefore agrotehnical and ampelotechnic measures are reqiured to regulate the crop. It’s very delicate when in blossom, so it can disperse. In average accumulates 17-22% of sugar and 7g/l of total acids.
Malvasia wine is medium to strong with alcohol content of 11,5 and 13.5 vol.%. Moderate acid content, between 5,0 and 6,5g/l of total acids. It’s full, rounded and harmonic wine with 18 to 22g/l of extract.
Malvasia is a variety of large oportunities which, according to content of aromatic components, we can classify as semi-aromatic variety with a large flower-fruit aroma potential. It’s specific and discreet aroma which reminds us of acacia flower fragrance especialy if the grapes are from the higher and sunny positions.
Fruit aromas that usually dominate are apple, plum and apricot. When the wine is mature there’s a certain bitter almond taste too. Malvasia’s got straw-yellow colour with a golden hue and depending on technological method of processing and seed-processing the colour is moving from greenish-yellow through staw-yellow to golden-yellow tones.
Although Malvasia’s been long present in these parts of Europe, in older files there are no records of it. The authors like Hugues, Stancovich and others (19th century) don’t mention it in their work.
First written data on Malvasia cultivation in Istria date from 1891 in conection with wines exhibited at the wine fair in Zagreb. In 1900 F. Blasig metioned Malvasia among other varieties in an article on a grape harvest and areas around Piran and Pićan.
First, although very short description, D. Libutti gave in 1913. From that description we can see that is matter of a variety with good features, which can be recomended for further cultivation, but he doesn’t say anything about it’s prospects. He assumed that different kinds of Malvasia were cultivated in Istria, but he didn’t say which ones.He described Malvasia from around Poreč and gave it a name „MALVAZIJA BIJELA”(White Malvasia).
Vitolović (1960) with his associates between 1946 and 1957 had published comprehensive ampelographic researches in Istria and described 198 varieties of which 91 indigenous. These are most extensive ampelographic researches of varieties in Istria so far.
Vitolović had then established that there is only one variety of Malvasia cultivated in Istria, the one that Libutti described and that there are three tipes: malvazija vela, malvazija mala and malvazija rastresitog grozda (Malvasia big, Malvasia small and Malvasia of loose cluser). Of these three tipes most represented one was malvazija vela so the research was directed to that tipe (other two appeared very rarely) and the author named it MALVAZIJA ISTARSKA (Istrian Malvasia).
Group of Malvazia wines belongs among the oldest cultivares, like Pinot wines, Gamay wines etc. We can presume that it originates from the Venetian times, as Vitolović claims, but most likely it was imported much earlier or it came into existence in these ecological conditions with specific biological characteristics. Despite everything, based on agroecological and biological characteristics, we can without a great error call it endemic, indigenous Istrian variety. Latest ampelographic research results are in favour to that, which prove that acording to izoenzymatic and DNA analisis Istrian Malvasia differs from other nowadays known Malvasias. The name Malvasia according to two Greek authors Krimbas(1943) and Logothetis (1963) originates from a Greek town Monembas on Peloponnese island. It’s interesting that already in Venice in 14th century, a Greek wine „Malvagia” was sold and the shops where it was sold were called „Malvasia”.
Like it was said before, first short description of MALVAZIJA ISTARSKA gave Libutti in 1913 in the article „Ceni su alcuni vitigni indigeni coltivati in Istria” published in “L’istria agricola”.More detailed ampelographic description of this variety M. Štiglić has published under a title „Istrian Malvasia White Monograph” and he published the results in 1957 in „Agronomy Herald”. Vitolović wrote about Malvasia in „Vinegrowing of Istria” published in 1960. Fazinić (1961) in Agronomy Herald wrote the article „Research of suitability of the most important varieties in Istria” where he shortly describes Malvasia. Z. Turković in „Ampelographic atlas” in 1963 as well as Avramov in 1962 and 1965 in „Vinegrowing and Ampelography” describe Malvasia. Fairly detailed description of this variety gave also I. Cosmo and M.Polsinelli in 1964 in „Malvasia istriana”. R.Licul in 1974 also very shortly talks about Malvasia. Vivoda in 1976 and especially in 1989 gives very detailed ampelographic description of this variety. Very shortly about malvasia also wrote N. Mirošević (Vinegrowing) and I. Sokolić (First Vinegrowing-winemaking lexicon) in 1993.