Malvasia moscata: general information

general information managed by Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante - CNR
How to cite this source Raimondi S., Ruffa P., Schneider A., 2014. Malvasia moscata. In: Italian Vitis Database,, ISSN 2282-006X
acknowledgments Ager Foundation, Regione Piemonte
botanical information
Malvasia moscata
type of origin
Vitis vinifera
variety group
not available
variety for
Registered in the National Catalogue
Official name
Malvasia moscata B.
documented synonyms (3)
synonyms documented by the Istitution that appear with the eventual support of the literature
  • Malvasia greca (Monferrato (Alessandria e Asti))
  • Moscato greco (Monferrato (Alessandria e Asti))
  • Malvasia bianca di Piemonte (Piemonte)
wrong denominations (1)
wrong denominations indicated by the Istitution that appear with the eventual support of the literature
  • Mosella (Tortonese (Alessandria))
released clones
  • shoot
  • leaf
  • bunch
  • berry
Historical references

The occurrence of varieties named “Malvasia” in Piedmont, likely with white grapes, has been attested since 1468 in the Statutes from Mondonio (Comba et al., 1990). G.B. Croce, in his “Della eccellenza e diversità dei vini...” (1606), besides mentioning a “Moscatello nostrale” (i.e. local Muscat, likely White muscat), also devoted one paragraph to a “Malvasia similmente nostrale” (i.e. a Malvasia similarly local) which describes with dense and elongated berries, good for table consumption and for wine making, that turns out sweet and fragrant like the grapes. This short description indeed reminds the today’s Malvasia moscata.

A significant information comes several decades later from France by Jean Merlet (author of the Abrégé des Bons Fruits ,1667) who among other muscat varieties mentioned a “Muscat de Malvoisie” or “ Malvoisie musquée” characterized by a relevant muscat flavor widely grown in the surroundings of Turin.

A century later the count Giuseppe Nuvolone (1798) included a White Malvasia within the grapes reputed of high quality for wine.

The first complete ampelographic description of this variety is by Demaria and Leardi (1875), who mentioned the synonym ‘Malvasia greca’ (Greek Malvasia) as a possible “sub-variety”.

distribution & variation

Although the decline of this grape cultivar according to Demaria and Leardi (1875) was already ongoing at the end of 1800 when it was replaced by White muscat, its cultural relevance is proved not only by the many historical references but also by its today’s occurrence in different (often  distant) areas of the region. Several vines were in fact recovered (as single plants or part of rows) in the surroundings of Alessandria, Asti, Pinerolo, Chieri and even in the northern part of the region, indicating a widespread presence in the past.

While declining in Piedmont, this variety (likely introduced by immigrants from Piemonte) moderately developed in California, where accounts today more than 500 ha (Robinson et al., 2012) under the name of Malvasia bianca.

technological use


Dry wines produced with Malvasia moscata exhibit high quality potential: in the strong, peculiar aroma, scents of rose, honey and acacia flowers prevail; the well balanced taste is not spoiled by the bitter finishing typical of many muscat grapes when giving dry wines. It can be used as aperitif, but sweet dessert wines even from dried grapes could be obtained.


In the New World it is used for sparkling wines, for adding floral scents to Chardonnay or for dessert wines (Verdegaal, 2003). More recently it is also used for dry varietal wines, rich in aroma and flavor, showing a certain viscosity on the palate (Robinson et al., 2012).


bibliographies (9)
authors year title journal citation
Comba R., Dal Verme A. 1990 Repertorio di vini e vitigni diffusi nel Piemonte medievale Vigne e vini nel Piemonte medievale. Ed. L'Arciere, Cuneo.
Croce G.B. 1606 Della eccellenza e diversità dei vini che nella montagna di Torino si fanno; e del modo di farli. In Torino, per Aluigi Pizzamiglio.
Demaria P.P., Leardi C. 1875 Ampelografia della provincia di Alessandria Ed. Negro, Torino.
Gallesio G. 1995 I giornali dei viaggi A cura di E. Baldini. Accademia dei Georgofili, Firenze.
Merlet J. 1667 L’abrégé des bons fruits C. De Sercy (Paris).
Nuvolone G. 1798 Sulla coltivazione delle viti e sul metodo migliore di fare e conservare i vini. Calendario georgico della Società Agraria di Torino.
Robinson J., Harding J., Vouillamoz J. 2012 Wine Grapes. A complete guide to 1368 vine varieties, including their origins and flavours Allen Lane - Penguin Books
Ruffa P., Raimondi S., Boccacci P., AbbĂ  S., Schneider A. 2016 The key role of "Moscato bianco" and "Malvasia aromatica di Parma" in the parentage of traditional aromatic grape varieties Tree Genetics & Genomes Ruffa et al., 2016
Verdegaal P. S. 2003 Malvasia bianca In Wine Grape Varieties in California. University of California. Agriculture and Natural Resources. Publication 3419.
updated at 2016-11-16 14:45:15 (6 years ago)