Malvasia Group | The Malvasia group of grape varieties is extensive. Being mostly unrelated in terms of genetic ties, it cannot be considered a family. However, Malvasia Bianca Lunga, Malvasia Istriana, Malvasia di Lipari, and Malvasia Nera di Brindisi have been shown to be related in one way or another. The reason why there are so many unrelated Malvasias is due to ‘Malvasia’ being the best-known wine from the 14th to the 17th-century. This was thanks to seafaring Venetians who traded the ‘Malvasia’ brand of wines very successfully. See Malvasia, origin of the name for more detail, as described by Professor Attilio Scienza in an interview for the Italian Wine Podcast.
Wine styles | Malvasia grapes are distinctly different, and range from aromatic to non-aromatic, red or white, and are variously suited to sparkling, still, sweet or dry wines.
The following pairs of Malvasia-named wines are specific to one region, with the first-named variety often considered the best qualitatively: the white-berried Malvasia di Lazio and Malvasia di Candia Aromatica are mostly found in Lazio; the red-berried Malvasia Nera di Brindisi and Malvasia Nera di Lecce are found in Puglia; and in Piedmont the Malvasia di Schierano and Malvasia di Casorzo are both superior to Malvasia Nera Lunga.
Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p53.