Have you ever heard about the legendary Malvasia wine?
Since medieval times Monemvasia has been famous for its wine. Indeed, Malvasia wine was one of the products that made Monemvasia famous around the world. The Franks called the region Malvasia, The wine was sweet and had a delicious taste while evidence about its unique quality can be found in old documents.It was a fine and rare drink with presence in all the royal courts of medieval Europe.The mild coastal climate in combination with the terrain made up the exceptional features which gave a unique taste to the ‘MALVASIA’ wine. In the 13th century local traders loaded almost all the wine produced in vessels from the port of Monemvasia and Venetian and Genoese merchants transported and spread it around the known world. The domination of the Greek wine Monemvasia-Malvasia over the foreign markets of the East and West held for five centuries. It began to be produced before the 13th century in Byzantine Monemvasia and continued in Venetian Crete until the mid-17th century. No other wine gained so much reputation in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and since then no other wine has owned such an interesting history.The trade of ‘MALVASIA’ wine was extended globally and this is certified by commercial documents which are kept in the archives of The Byzantine Museum in Venice. Therefore, ‘MALVASIA’, a Byzantine wine with a geographical appellation of origin,while it also has a historical appellation of origin.
Malvasia wines were known high and wide throughout Europe; referred to as “Malvoisie” in France, “Malvasia” in Italy and beyond and Malmsey in England.
Shakespeare mentions the wine in King Richard III, where the Duke of Clarence, brother of King Edward the IV, is brutally murdered.
In Act I scene IV he is murdered in the Tower when his slayer says “ I’ll drown you in the malmsey-butt within”.
Unfortunately, the Turkish occupation of Monemvasia resulted in the destruction of the vineyards and the wine ‘MALVASIA’ ceased to exist.However, in Europe, the name continued to be used for various grape varieties surviving to this day as well as for the corresponding wines. None of these ones managed to even approach the unique quality and taste of the original Malvasia wine.
In 2010 Onnar, in cooperation with local producers began to research more about the original Malvasia wine. Along with PABE (European Research Program) , the Agricultural Universities of Athens and Thessaloniki, the company VITRO (Company for the Production of Plant Propagating Material) and NAGREG (National Agricultural Research Foundation) , fourteen varieties of grape vines were recorded in the region. It was founded that it is highly possible that some of these varieties were used in the production of the ancient ‘MALVASIA’ wines.
We persistently and consistently studied the features of local grape varieties, an adventure marathon with many battles on the way. Together with the Wine Institute, we were involved in the creation of experimental vineyards and experimental vilification. They also conducted international scientific symposiums on the wine of ‘Monemvasia-Malvasia’. Finally, in the issue 1125 of the official Government Gazette, dated 23 July, 2010, we were given the classification “protected designation of origin” (PDO) for a sweet white wine and a wine liqueur both from sun-dried grapes.
Inspired by the research results and experimental vineyards, Onnar has produced, experimentally, ‘Malvasia’ sun-dried sweet wines with exceptional results.
And now, at the end of 2012 Onnar will be proud to offer for the first time and after almost 600 years the wine “Monemvasia-Malvasia”2010 !!!