It is not surprising that they make wine in Malta. But you rarely see wines from there. They probably drink most of what they produce themselves on the island. And to be honest, the production is quite small. However, efforts are being made to revitalize the local wine industry.
Malta is located just south of Sicily and has, of course, a warm and pleasant climate. The grapes ripen quickly and without problem. They grow French grape varieties but also some indigenous grapes, like Gellewza, Ghirghentina and Sirakuzan.
We recently tasted some wines from a winery named Maria Rosa Wine Estate. It is a small family winery with just over four hectares of vines. The grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and the local Sirakuzan (which is the Maltese name for Nero d’Avolo, better known from neighbouring Sicily). The warm and generous sun is very evident in the wines that are powerful with lots of ripe fruit. The oak character is a bit too dominating, we would prefer less. As always, it is interesting to try wines from the new regions/countries.
Some tasting notes:
Maria Rosa Wine Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008: Powerful and a bit heavy in style. Dark berries, a bit jammy and quite oaky. An unpretentious wine to drink with grilled meat.
Maria Rosa Wine Estate Sirakuzan Reserva 2008: Ripe dark fruit, some vanilla and chocolate on the nose. Quite a good structure. A pleasant wine. It would, however, benefit from less oak ageing.