The story of an all-Italian masterpiece: Grappa

by Redazione Fine Taste

If you think about it, grappa is a product that unites Italy.

It is true that there are regions where it is more widespread, the mountain ones with the harshest climate, but it is also true that grappa is produced, and appreciated, throughout Italy.

It is certainly an evocative product: the image of the grandfather sipping a glass after coffee while chatting with his grandchildren, the relief and warmth you feel in the mountains when you drink a little grappa to warm up and recover from the biting cold, a pause for reflection perhaps smoking a good cigar...

Even when it comes to grappa, there is no shortage of creativity in Italy, so much so that it is increasingly easy to find grappa in both savory and sweet recipes (the delicious chocolates filled with grappa!).

Definition of grappa

Grappa is defined as a pomace spirit distilled exclusively in Italy. This means that the seeds and skins of the grapes (the pomace) must come from grapes grown and vinified in our country.

But how is it produced? And where was she born? Below are the answers to all your questions about this incredible distillate.

Origins of grappa

Exactly when humans began producing Grappa is difficult to determine; the sources seem to show a distillation of pomace already between 1300 and 1400, but perhaps even earlier. In any case, what is certain is that at the beginning it was a popular drink for the less wealthy classes: the nobles tended to drink wine, leaving the 'waste' (peels, seeds, stems) for them. The result was a completely different distillate from the one we know today: much drier, more alcoholic and often with a pungent and unpleasant flavour. It was during the First World War that Grappa finally took its place on the scene, when it was used as 'liquid courage' for soldiers at the front.

But it was only after the Second World War, with the economic boom and changing tastes, that grappa became less aggressive, soft and elegant, thanks also to the long aging in wood.

How is grappa produced?

Grappa is obtained using one of those inventions that one cannot help but marvel at: the still. There are different types ("discontinuous cycle" for the production of small-scale grappa, "continuous" for industrial grappa), but what they have in common is the ability to separate the volatile parts of the fermented pomace (alcohol, water and aromatic substances ) from its solid components. In other words, distillation. Each producer can therefore decide whether, how much and where to age their grappa, then filter it and bottle it.

Types of Grappa

Young, flavoured, aged in wood (or barrel), aged and reserve. These are the main categories for classifying a grappa. But these are not the only criteria; For example, it is possible to distinguish the types of single grape varieties (Teroldego, Nosiola, Moscato, Brunello, Barolo...) from those obtained from the pomace of different grape varieties.

A real world to get to know and explore, always aware that we are talking about alcohol anyway!

Furthermore, it is essential to rely on artisanal and long-experienced producers.

Distilling is an art, an experience accumulated over years of experience and passion.

In short, there are lots of ideas to warm up the atmosphere, you just need to choose and experiment (with chocolate, for example, it's pure magic). And remember, if you like a combination, then it's always the right one.

Take a look at our selection of artisanal Trentino grappas HERE