Malvasia Bianca Lunga is a green grape from Italy, more commonly known as Malvasia di Chianti or Malvasia Toscana.

Being susceptible to several diseases, Malvasia Bianca Lunga is considered bit fussy in the vineyard. Subsequently it is a bit demanding of the viticulturist. It comes with a spicy fragrance of musk and apricot and will also be recognised by its high level of residual sugar.

Photo: Urusla Brühl, Institut for Grapewine Breeding Geilweilerhof, Germany

Malvasia Bianca Lunga was allowed in the Chianti Classico DOCG until 2006. It is still allowed in the Chianti DOCG and can then participate with up to ten percent. Nowadays the variety is a major component in producing Vin Santo, Tuscany’s sweet desert wine. In the Vin Santo del Chianti DOC it participates with a minimum of seventy percent, and in the Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC with a minimum of sixty percent. In a Vin Santo it is often blended with the grape Trebbiano.

Food pairing
The classical and wonderful companion to a Vin Santo is Cantucci, the well-known almond cookies from Tuscany, also known as Biscotti di Prato. It is however likely to match beautifully also with a tart with dark fruit topping, for example Blackberry. A Vin Santo is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.

Where is it grown?
Malvasia Bianca Lunga is found mainly in Italy and Croatia. In Italy, you find it mainly in the central regions of Toscana, Marche, Umbria, and Latium. In Croatia, you find it several regions but the focus is in Dalmatia, both the Srednja i Južna Dalmacija (Central and South) as well as in Sjeverna Dalmacija (the Northern) regions.

The planted area in Italy mounts to 2.259 ha/5,582 ac, placing it as the forty-eighth most planted grape in the country. Almost eighty percent of the plantings, 1.777 ha/4,391 ac are in the four central regions mentioned above, with a focus in the sub-zone of Ancona in Marche (468 ha/1,156 ac) and in the triangle of Florence, Sienna and Arezzo in Tuscany (500 ha/1,235 ac in the three sub-zones together).

In Croatia, plantings of 285 ha/704 ac are reported, placing Malvasia Bianca Lunga as the fifteenth most planted grape.

Malvasia Bianca Lunga has been documented in Tuscany for many centuries. It is however not self-evident that it has originated there. The variety has shown to be a close relative to several other Malvasia sub-varieties, making it difficult to establish its true origin.