Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Malvoisie is one of France’s most confusing vine names, perhaps because, like pineau, the term was once used widely as a general term for superior wines, notably those whose origins were supposed to be Greek. There is no single variety whose principal name is Malvoisie, but it has been used as a synonym for a wide range of, usually white-berried, grape varieties producing full-bodied, aromatic whites. Despite the etymological similarity, Malvoisie has only rarely been a synonym for malvasia. Malvoisie is today found on the labels of some Loire, Savoie, and Aosta wines made from such plantings of pinot gris as remain, as Malvoisie du Valais is a common synonym for, usually sweet, Pinot Gris in Switzerland. It is also sometimes used for bourboulenc in the Languedoc, for clairette in Bordeaux, and for savagnin in the Austrian Tyrol. vermentino is sometimes called Malvoisie in Roussillon and Corsica.