This native Puglia grape belongs to the vast range of Malvasia cultivars, whose members are often quite different from each other. They inherited their name from Monemvasia, the ancient Greek port in the Peloponnese, and that too seems to be the origin of this grape. It was long believed that Malvasia Nera of Lecce and Malvasia Nera of Brindisi were two distinct native varieties, but recent ampelographic studies and molecular research have determined that they are in fact identical.
Nonetheless, not a few observers today maintain that the very different behaviour in the vineyard of the two grapes leads to the supposition that they originated from two biotypes so different from each other as to seem two distinct varieties. The fairly productive Malvasia Nera (of Brindisi-Lecce) exhibits medium-sized clusters and bluish, thin-skinned berries. Its must does not taste like the traditional Muscat-like traits in many Malvasias, being rather neutral. In many of the Salento denominations, among them the Salice Salentino DOP and the Brindisi DOP, it has always been cultivated alongside, and hence fermented with, Negroamaro.