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Malmsey

Malmsey (or Malvasia) is a sweet Madeira wine made - in Portugal, the Azores, the Canary Islands, Sardinia, and Sicily - from fully ripe Malvasia grapes that are partially dried on the vine. While originally Malmsey from Madeira was made with Malvasia grapes, for many years it represented a sweet style rather than a varietal wine. However, when Portugal entered the EU it began to require that "Malmsey" be made with Malmsey grapes. The wine has a high residual sugar content of 8-10%.

In the 15th century it was still made predominantly in Greece, from whence its name derives (Monemvasia on the coast of Laconia), and very popular with those English who were rich enough to afford it.

Like other wines, Malmsey is sometimes sold in containers called butts whose size depends on what kind of wine it is but that hold somewhere around a hundred gallons. George Clarence[?], brother to King Edward IV of England, was said to have been drowned in a butt of Malmsey in the Tower of London in 1478.



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