December 10, 2009

Good Grappa is a Wonderful Thing

It is not only Americans that think that drinking grappa is like drinking lighter fluid; even my Italian husband is not a great fan of grappa, until he tried the grappa I was sent as part of a tasting panel.

I was asked try to participate by my friend at Studio Cru. How did he know? I adore great grappa!

What was even better is that we were asked to pick which grappa we would like to try. Having been in Sicily last year, I saw that they had a grappa from one of the wines I really liked, Catarrato- so agreed to try.

The Brunello Distillery has been making grappa; Acqua Vitæ- water of life, since 1840. They obviously know what they are doing.

Grappa is a by-product of wine making. The pomace (seeds and skins) are distilled in large copper tanks. It is high in alcohol, the one I tasted was 41%. Great after dinner.

When I was younger, I used to blend grappa with a sweet liquore, I used Amaretto and called it "perfetto". The grappa was too strong for me and the Amaretto too sweet.

Living in Italy, I now adore grappa- but will only drink what I call REAL grappa. I love when you can taste the fruit in the grappa and not just a burning sensation.

The Brunello family created an entire line of fabulous grappa's called Ricordi:each from a single grape pomace,which to me is to my taste. Some are sweeter or more floral.

Here is what they say about the one I chose, Catarratto di Monreale.

A historic white-grape vine, native to Sicily. Also known as "catarratto vrancu" and the "Leopard's grape". The vine is found throughout Sicily, and is particularly concentrated in the provinces of Trapani and Palermo.

It is quite vigorous and ripens fully between the end of August and mid September. To the nose the grappa is characterized by very fine and intense, typically Sicilian scents (citrus). On the palate it is smooth, warm and lingering with a slight hint of sage and liquorice.
To better appreciate its organoleptic characteristics this grappa should be enjoyed in a tulip-shaped glass at a temperature between 12° and 15°C.

I adored the aroma as well as the flavors, no burning sensation at all.

A very good quality grappa.

Grappa should be enjoyed in small glasses, as in the foto, and sipped slowly. I enjoy serving grappa with deep rich bittersweet chocolates, I also make some chocolate truffles laced with grappa which are perhaps an easier way to learn to love grappa.
Stop by the Brunello Distillery site and check out their products.
I will find out if there is any in the USA! I hope so-if not when you come- you must try!!!

Winter is a perfect time to warm up with a nice grappa!
And a nice way to warm a grappa, in Venice, is after you have had your shot of espresso, pour your grappa in the warm cup and swirl, resitin, it releases the aroma's and cleans out your coffee cup, giving the grappa a tiny hit of the espresso. Then you can go on to enjoy a plain grappa after-Cin cin!!!


  1. Aren't you the lucky one? I never liked grappa until I bought some in Piedmont made from barolo grapes. Now THAT was a turning point.

  2. Exactly- I think most people get the cheap crummy grappa- like bad olive oil too..

    We deserve the BEST!!!

    Single grape grappa's , CRU, are what people should look for.

    I had some lovely "moonshine" last time I was in New Orleans- smooth- a wonderful way to end a meal!

  3. Sad to say tried a few grappa's and never liked them...grazie for sharing this writing Judy, now will have to try grappa again per your suggestions!

  4. Blessings on this post. Here in South Texas most liquor merchants don't know about grappa, let alone good grappa.

    I was introduced to it in Val d'Orno at a B&B that was an old monestary. Casa Condanuova (I don't remember exactly). Every night after dinner my son and I would split a glass and my wife had a tiny sip. And we all slept soundly.