Nothing nicer than writing about things you’re passionate about, so that’s why you’ll find mostly reviews about Single Malt Whiskies on these pages. Once in a while it is also nice to be able to broaden ones horizon and dive deep into another distilled world. Nothing better than a Master Quill Week to check something out intensively.
This time we’ll have a look at Italy’s famous, or should I say, notorious distillate: Grappa. For a long time Grappa had quite a reputation, and still today. When you talk to people about distillates, Grappa is thought of as a not-so-nice distillate. However, Grappa is starting to become noticed and sometimes even fashionable. Primary reason for this is the move towards high quality. I picked seven Grappa’s randomly, and all are Grappa’s I’ve never tasted before. The first Grappa we will try is a barrel aged Amarone Grappa by Grappa Paesanella. Not a lot of information is available about this brand, so we’ll have to dive in rather blind into this Grappa. What is Grappa actually?
Grappa is a grape pomace brandy from Italy, San Marino or the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. Pomace are the left overs you get after pressing, when making wine: stems, skins, pulp and seeds of the grape. f.i. an Eau de Vie from grapes is made from the must, the freshly pressed grape juice, so it includes the juice. Grappa is made from the solid left overs and water is not allowed in its production. So steam distillation or au-bain-marie is the way to go when making Grappa.
Color: Light copper gold, with a slight pink hue
Nose: Sweet and winey. Very fruity. Extremely grassy. Hay. Creamy and slightly oaky. Grape seed. I’m not a connoisseur of Grappa’s yet (I’d like to be), but having smelled quite a few Grappa’s before I have to say this has a typical grappa smell for me, and the finer points lie within the details that can be picked up besides the obvious. Although creamy (ice-cream), I do not pick up any vanilla, so I’m guessing French or Slovenian oak barriques were used. Probably a few from new oak, although not much if any. Full aroma. Nice developement in the glass with air. Keeps changing and changing in a subtle way. Grappa is interesting stuff.
Taste: Sugary sweet, almost like a Rum. Of all the Grappa’s I’ve tasted I never tasted something as sweet as this. I hardly would call this a Grappa, but more a Grappa based liqueur. I think I understand the (heavy) usage of sugar, it probably masks something, and makes the Grappa itself more accessible. Grappa can be hefty stuff you know. Understand, si, like it, no. It really tastes like a (dry) Grappa with a lot of sugar dissolved into it, like someone did this at home. Pity. It’s so sugary it’s almost difficult to try to detect something else here. Its like Grappa trying to be a 7yo Abuelo Rum. Slightly bitter and warming finish. This would also do nicely as a Jägertee.
I really dislike the added sugar flavour of this. The sweetness alone sets off my alarm and ruins this grappa for me. As a Liqueur, not really, as a Grappa: well, I can’t recommend it. I hope tomorrows expression will be better.