Malvasia (aka Malmsey) is a white grape variety and a corresponding style of Madeira, one of the four recognised styles of this fortified wine (the others being the dry Sercial, the medium-dry Verdelho, and the medium-sweet Bual and Terrantez. Malvasia Malmsey is the most famous and also the richest, sweetest wine style of Madeira, with upward of four percent residual sugar.
Malvasia Malmsey is the most famous and also the richest, sweetest wine style of Madeira, with upward of four percent residual sugar. Sercial, the driest style, contains up to 1.5 percent residual sugar, Verdelho up to 2.5 percent residual sugar, and Bual and Terrantez 3.5 percent maximum, albeit balanced by sharp acidity.
A young Malmsey Madeira is light-golden in colour, smooth and luscious on the palate, with deep-set chocolate flavours, and a hint of tropical, mango or nectarine notes.
An old Malmsey (ie 30 years) is just a little lighter in colour than a Bual. The palate typically delivers toffee nuts and marmalade sweetness. Old Malmseys resemble Tawny Ports, often showing even more lush character and concentration, depending on cask-ageing.