Malvasia Nera, the long-bunch Malvasia variety, is cultivated alone or together with the Malvasia di Schierano in the townships of Albugnano, Berzano, Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Moncucco, Passerano Marmorito and Pino d’Asti; it is also sporadically present in other areas in the provinces of Asti, Alessandria and Turin.
The mature leaf is medium-sized, wedge-shaped with three (less often five) lobes. The dark green blade is flat or with slightly upturned edges, of average thickness, with a smooth or finely bullate surface. Medium leaf dentation with straight or slightly convex edges. Glabrous upper and lower face. Thin, light green petiole, which sometimes shades into pink, hairless.
The ripe bunch is medium-large or large, cylindrical and not very compact, usually with 1 or 2 well-developed wings. Light green herbaceous pedicel of average size, green rachis.
The round berry is medium-large.
Budbreak: early (soon after Brachetto d’Acqui, at the same time as Arneis).
Veraison: Early or medium-early (it starts early and usually ends by mid-August).
Ripening: Medium-early (in the second ten days of September); it is important not to excessively delay the picking date, or the acidic energy of the must will drop.
This grape variety emerged soon after WW2 and over the past few decades it has been grown along with Malvasia di Schierano in the characteristic cultivation area. It is often preferred for its higher and more consistent yields, in addition to the good resistance of the canopy to fungal diseases and pests. Compared with Malvasia di Schierano, the Malvasia nera presents more moderate vigor and greater fertility. It has a more precocious growth cycle and ripens at least one week before Malvasia di Schierano.