Malagousia is a white wine grape grown in Greece. The grape is extremely aromatic and has the capacity to produce elegant and soft wines.
Origin and History of Malagousia
Malagousia is the perfect example of the modern revitalization of the New Wines witnessed in the past 20 years in Greece.
It is the quintessence of the procedure used by the Greek winemakers to rediscover their potential.
Malagousia was a white wine grape known to very few people in 1970s and was believed to be extinct.
Malagousia is famous today and is widely known as a top class grape because of the work done by the university professors and top wine producers. In 1983, Evangelos Gerovassiliou rescued this variety from extinction.
He planted this grape in his vineyard in the Halkidiki region. Malagousia produces excellent dry white wines as well as some amazing sweet wines. It is believed that this grape originated from Aitoloakarnania which is situated in the west portion of the central Greece and mainly famous for its use in the manufacture of sweet wines.
The plantings of the modern day were resurfaced in the region of Halkidiki in Macedonia, and currently there are several producers who cultivate Malagousia in many vineyards of Greece.
Regions Where It Is Grown
In the present day, this white wine grape is cultivated all over Greece and its name is seen on several best selling covers. This appealing white wine grape variety is cultivated in the Valley of Muses situated in Central Greece.
Malagousia is famous under the following synonyms: Malaoyzia, Malagouzia, Melaouzia, Melaoyzia, Malaouzia and Malagoyzia.
Vinification and Viticulture
The grapes are instantly taken to the winery and frozen to prevent oxidation. Generally, Malagousia is flattered by oak-ageing but several stainless steel vessels are likewise impressive.
Malagousia can undergo the ageing process in the bottle for 4 years or more whereas the sweet wines require 4-7 years to develop their potential and in fact keep improving.
Depending on the practices and vineyard sites, the productivity and natural vigor of the variety must be carefully checked- it can give rise to a range of varieties: from aromatic, fresh and delicate, apt for drinking young, to full-bodied wine, which is vinified partly in barrel at least.
Further, it undergoes skin contact to improve the extraction of the fragrances; it is barrel-fermented partially. After this, it is matured on its lees for some months so that it gains deep floral aromas and flavors.
The distinctive aromas of Malagousia, ranging from lime, citrus, exotic fruits to basil are likely to undergo oxidation and thus the winery should be taken care off. This grape variety is generally used as a blending agent, and adds middle body weight particularly to Assyrtico.
The aromatic profile of the wine highly depends on the time of harvest. If the vine is harvested below 11.5% alcohol, the scent is reduced. If harvested above 14%, the fragrance becomes similar to Muscat and can be overwhelming. The sweet spot is present in the range of 12.5-13.5%.
It is difficult to manage the vine. It is really vigorous and some cultivators have tested with several rootstocks to limit the growth of the vine, but they ended up by just immense pruning.
The vine is also very vulnerable to viral infections and is not resilient to drought, which may be a problem in several dry areas of Greece.
The winemaker who first observed the potential of the grape, Gerovassiliou believes that he has recognized two distinctive clones of the vines with varying berry sizes. The only difference is in their aroma. The small-berried clone seems to be more fragrant than the large-berried clone.
Characteristics of Grape Wine
The wine produced by Malagousia is lemon green, medium pale in color while the nose is highly expressive and immense exhibiting the notes of basil, flowers, green bell pepper and peaches.
It is full-bodied and round on the palate with usually high amount of alcohol. The wine’s sweet versions are produced with the grapes of late harvest as they are denser and more fragrant.
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