Grappa, Spirit of Italy
; published on March 8, 2011 at 2:37 am
“Grappa is an exclusive drink. Of every thousand bottles of spirituous liquors produced around the world, only one is a Grappa” “Grappa is Italian culture and history in liquid form” (Ove Boudin, Grappa Italy Bottled, Pianoforte Publishing)
Grappa is a spirit made from grape skins, “vinaccia” is the Italian word, distilled to extract alcohol and flavours. The term Grappa is protected by both EU and Italian law: only Italian vinaccia distillate may use the name Grappa.
Grappa has a long history, and from the beginning it was more a kind of food for humbles than a beverage, something that could provide body heat, and also some relief in the misery. That’s why Grappa has a soul that has carried it through the ages, even now, after reaching high quality status.
The best Grappa is made in Autumn, when the grapes are harvested and fermented to make wine. Vinaccia has to be as fresh as possible to produce the best quality, and the small artisan distillers stop to distill within Christmas.
Only industrial companies go on for some months more. Autumn is therefore the best period to visit distilleries, most of them are located in northern Italy, and are really worth visiting. The real ones are not difficult to be found in the wine producing areas: your nose will guide you to that tall chimney with white smoke coming out. After visiting, and tasting, purchase what you like, either white young Grappa or yellow oak-refined, and be sure: quality is high and prices are by far lower than any other top quality spirit. Can you think of a better Italian souvenir?