Malvasia wine

Malvasía de Sitges is a sweet wine typical in this town on the Catalan coast. It is made using a grape variety with a white stock originally from Greece which is from where its name originates. The malvasia grape is small and its seeds are thick, very sweet and aromatic. In Catalonia it is used to make wines with the Penedès and Tarragona Designations of Origin. This variety is only grown in the countryside of Sitges and its surroundings. The grape must, once fermented, gives way to a fragrant, sweet drink with a high alcohol content which is usually drunk after celebrations and after the xatonadas. Nevertheless, it is also used in the preparation of various meat dishes, such as duck breast with raisins or pig's trotters. Its unusual bouquet is the result of various factors: proximity to the sea, a late harvest and the considerable alcohol content and acidity of the wine. It was already very well-known and popular during the Middle Ages (being referred to in Tirant lo Blanc) because it was assumed to have vitalising and medicinal properties. According to legend the first vines arrived from the Adriatic coast thanks to someone called Jofre, a resident of Sitges who participated in the defence of Sicily on the orders of Roger de Llúria. There, he discovered how this drink was made as explained by the friars in the city monastery with the same name, Malvasia. Nowadays however, this wine variety is considered as Sitges's most genuine product, even though it can only be purchased bottled in the town's wine cellars. Amongst all of them, the most outstanding is that of the Sant Joan Baptista Hospital.

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