Dubrovačka Malvasia is a unique and rare grape variety with a fascinating history and a bright future. Though it has been grown in the Dubrovnik area for over six centuries, this grape is believed to have originated in Greece and then spread to Italy, Spain, and Croatia.
By learning about, and experiencing, these exceptional wines, wine lovers can support the continued growth and cultivation of this rare grape, ensuring that its distinctive flavours and characteristics remain a valued part of the winemaking world.
Malvasia’s Greek and Italian Connections
Research has shown that Dubrovačka Malvasia is identical to the Italian Malvasia di Lipari, which suggests that it originated in Greece before spreading to several Mediterranean countries, including Croatia, Italy, and Spain. This grape variety can now be found in almost every Mediterranean country that cultivates vineyards, and its popularity is boosted by names such as Malvasia di Lipari, Nalvesia di Dardegna, Malvasia di Sitges, and Greco di Gerace.
The cultivation of Dubrovačka Malvasia in Croatia dates back over 600 years, with records dating to 1424 in the Republic of Ragusa (now known as Dubrovnik).
Dubrovačka Malvasia is a rare, low-yield grape variety that was at risk of extinction at one point. However, determined winemakers in the Konavle area focused their attention on its cultivation, saving it from disappearing completely. This handful of producers, Malvasia heroes, still cultivate and promote this exceptional grape, ensuring its continued survival and growth.
Dubrovačka Malvasia is a sensitive grape variety that bears fruit in small quantities, late in the year. Central and South Dalmatia have the most favourable climates for its cultivation, with the Konavle winemaking region being one of the most prominent areas for growing these grapes.
The grapes are harvested carefully and processed using both traditional and modern winemaking techniques. The result is a range of high-quality dry white wines, and Prošek sweet wines, which showcase the unique characteristics of the Dubrovačka Malvasia grape.
Dubrovačka Malvasia wines have an appealing golden yellow colour, which is a hallmark of this particular grape variety.
These wines are incredibly aromatic, displaying a combination of stone fruit and floral aromas, often with citrus hints and honeyed nuances.
On the palate, Dubrovačka Malvasia wines are full-bodied and round, yet they remain fresh and lively due to their good acidity. The fruity taste and high alcohol content make these wines an excellent choice for those who enjoy a robust, flavourful wine.
Prošek: A Unique Sweet Wine
In addition to dry white wines, Dubrovačka Malvasia grapes are also used to produce Prošek, a sweet dessert wine made from dried berries. Prošek is a true Dalmatian specialty, showcasing the versatility of the Dubrovačka Malvasia grape and the skill of the winemakers who produce it.
Dubrovacka Malvasia wines are best served with salt or freshwater fish, seafood, and light poultry dishes. The full-bodied and fruity nature of these wines make them an excellent accompaniment to a variety of meals, enhancing the flavours of the food and providing a delightful dining experience.
Visiting the Konavle Winemaking Region
If you’re interested in experiencing Dubrovačka Malvasia wines first-hand, a visit to the Konavle winemaking region is a must. This beautiful area is home to several vineyards and wineries that produce and promote the unique Dubrovačka Malvasia grape, such as the Crvik and Karaman wineries. A tour of these vineyards will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the history and cultivation of this rare grape variety, as well as the chance to taste some of the exquisite wines produced in the region. For a private wine tour contact Insider’s Holidays, Dubrovnik’s finest wine-oriented travel agency.