Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Grappa Essentials

I've never heard about "grappa" in my 23 years of life, until 2 years ago when I met these friends of mine whom introduced me to a wonderful world of wine & spirits. Below is all you need to know about grappa so that the next time you're offered one, you know perfectly what you're taking!

Origins

Many might have thought that grappa derives its name from "grapes", well, it is actually from the place of its origin - the small town of Bassano del Grappa in the Veneto region of northern Italy. It depends on which part of the globe you're in because different countries called it differently. The French call it Marc, the Spanish refer to it as Aguardiente, and the Germans have named it Tresterschnapps.

Grappa can be considered a spirit drink, distillate or pomace brandy. The raw materials for grappa is grape pomace, which is the skin and seeds that are left behind after the wine has been produced. These “wine scraps” are what grappa is made from. The skin and seeds are allowed to ferment and distill at least for half a year and the end product is clear grappa which is usually 90 proof. This is a good example of "reduce, re-use & recycle"!


Varieties

To be classified as grappa, it has to be at least 37.5% and the best grappas are invariably 45-50% abv. There are four distinct categories: new grappa, aged grappa, aromatic grappa and flavoured grappa.

New grappa is refined for six months before being bottled. Aged grappa is preserved in wood vats for a year or more, from which it acquires its distinct fragrance and aroma. Aromatic grappa is made from single-marc pomace, thereby acquiring a distinctive aroma transmitted during distillation (Pinot, Picolit, etc.). Flavoured Grappa is given a particular flavour by blending in with aromatic ingredients, such as fruit or distilled spice essences (pear grappa, peach grappa, lemon grappa, etc.).



Domenis Secolo in "pocket size"

So, if you are someone who likes floral notes and you appreciate traditional strength grappa, then Domenis Storica is widely recognised as one of the finest of the genre. It is also available in 10 bottles of 5ml each single dose in cigarette-liked boxes and it's one of the most innovative packaging for grappa. This is perfect for those who need a quick fix of alcohol - like Huai Bin. Hehe... I did find it rather amusing drinking a shot of it.


Grappa di Amarone Allegrini

This is another bottle of a different grappa variety that I've tried. It's very different from the floral type grappa because this one is aged in oak. It has aromas of dried leaves and some notes of black pepper, leading to a vibrant palate of caramel and red cherry flavours. And you can see that the colour is different too!


Drinking Grappa

So when do you drink grappa?

Grappa is usually served in these tulip-shaped glasses.

Grappa is not to be taken like wines or beer. It is after all a perfect "digestif" after a bellyful of Barbaresco and Barolos during an authentic Italian meal. It is a perfect end to an Italian meal after your dessert of course! And not for the faint-hearted as it might be a fiercesome drink but nonetheless, very exciting!

Many Italians like to add a dash of grappa to an espresso, and the concoction is known as a "caffe corretto" - literally a coffee that corrects - something that puts you right for the day. Of course, all well made traditional grappas go extremely well with a (sweetened) espresso coffee. It is, after all, the spirit that espresso is meant to marry with.


19 comments:

Huai Bin said...

OMG! That looks so good! I love the nifty tube packaging. Can I have one? =D

KY said...

I'll stick to coffee :X

Cath J said...

Interesting...

zewt said...

have you ever got your liver checked before? :P

sorry... a bit morbid there.

suituapui said...

I'm with KY...I'll stick to coffee too! LOL!!!

Anonymous said...

Try to take one shot of espresso followed by grappa.

p.calais said...

grappa is VERY nasty!!.its NOT the easiest drink to take.tried over here in an italian restaurant where they brew their own grappa.the waitress recommended it n said it was nice n all...it wasnt!.but i'll still have it every now n then.

Admirer said...

Next time I go to Kualar Lumpur… You can take me for a booze! :-Q :-))

boo_licious said...

They're selling those Grappa tubes here??? Where where where? Pray tell? I had 2 boxes of them given to me in Italy - this jap fella drank it all before I could bring them home!! It's good as it's quite sweet and doesn't hit u so hard.

Absolutely love grappa. Our after hours choice after drinking wine the whole nite.

foongpc said...

Thanks for sharing about this grappa. I have not heard of it in my life!

eiling lim said...

Huai Bin: I wished I can own the whole box too. No it's not mine and I only get a tube...

KY: I know....

Cath J: Yeah

Zewt: My liver is perfectly fine thank you.

STP: Haha...

Anon: I will try but so far did not have both side by side yet.

P Calais: It's an acquired tate because it's very strong! But the aged and expensive grappa is very niceee...

Admirer: But first I need to know you.

Boo_licious: It's not mine and you can't get it here! I know... so disappointing la. Grappa is always good as a night cap after all the heavy food and wine. Totally agree!

Foongpc: Now that you know, will you try?

FooDcrazEE said...

CAN U REALLY taste the peppery thingy? its kind of hard to really detect all sort of thingy in wines, grappa and other alcohol bv. . .u must have a very define palate

eiling lim said...

Foodcrazee: I don't have a refine palate. Sometimes when we drink in a group, we share notes like what do you think of the wine, the aroma and the palate? That's how I learn to detect some of the tastes or nose.

Jem said...

very educational posting.

i'm not too familiar with italian wines and such.

would love to try it - looks delectable :)

eiling lim said...

Jeremy: Haha... take it slow and you'll learn the wonderful taste of alcohol!

Admirer said...

Thanks…You are so kind and I thought you never ask/ just kidding. Haha!! :-))

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