Grappa is the true embodiment of Italian temperament in degrees of fortress. This is an amazing and original alcoholic drink. Being a product made from waste wine, she conquered the world with her taste. Each year, Italy produces about 40 million bottles of grappa, which are distributed in all countries. Indeed, it is a drink made in the territory of the republic that has the right to bear the proud name of Grappa. We bring to your attention the most complete and accurate hop review.
The origin of grappa is inextricably linked with the advent of distillation methods. Distillation methods were developed in Mesopotamia between the 8th and 6th centuries. BC. and soon applied to wines for the manufacture of cognac. Distillation of pomace probably also has very distant roots. There is a legend telling about a Roman legionnaire (I c. BC) who, returning from Egypt, stole a distillation apparatus and began to receive distillate from grape pulp.
The historian Luigi Papo notes in 511 A.D. in the Friuli region, the first beverage production in the hands of the Burgundians. They borrowed apple cider distillation methods from neighboring Austria and applied it to grape harvesting to obtain grappa.
The appearance of the Nardini distillery in Bassano del Grappa in 1779 led to a real revolution through the introduction of the "steam distillation" method, which is still used today. In fact, Bortolo Nardini is the oldest distillery in Italy.
After World War II, Italian companies began a period of unprecedented growth. The Italians have changed their lifestyle, followed by a fundamental change in tastes.
Grappa producers kept pace with the times and listened to consumer preferences. The taste of the drink became soft, less aggressive, and it began to be aged for a long time in wood. So saw the light of new types of grappa, scattered around the world.
What is grappa
Grappa is essentially a distillate from grapes. Drinks obtained by a similar method are called differently in other countries. For example, in Germany it is Schnapps, in France - Mark, in Spain and Greece - Tsikudya. For Uruguay, European law is not valid, so they use the very similar term grappamiel (grappa with honey). Do not confuse grappa with brandy. The latter is the result of distillation of grape must, not pulp.
The name of the drink most likely comes from the word "graspa", which in Veneto means "vine." It is believed that the product got its name from the province of Bassano del Grappa (Bassano del Grappa). However, there is no evidence of this fact.
The quality of the grape marc is the first and most important factor for producing a good drink. More often grappa uses pulp left over from the production of red wines. Such squeezes undergo a fermentation process in the wort, therefore they contain alcohol and only a small amount of sugar and do not need additional preparation.
In the manufacture of white wines, the pulp is not fermented, which is why it is very rich in sugars and does not contain alcohol. It is called "vergini" (virgin). A wort for rosé wanders for a while with the berries. Such a pulp is called "semifermentate". It already has some alcohol. Before grappa production, both types of the described raw materials go through a fermentation step.
Grappa of the highest quality requires the removal of seeds from the pomace before distillation. And, even more so, it is very rare if the distillery uses pulp mixed with stems and leaves.
For over 50 years, Italy has introduced automated distillation methods. Modern distillers are a design of 3 connected devices having the shape of a truncated cone. This provides the highest degree of purification from impurities. Such plants are characterized by a continuous distillation cycle, high power and relative simplicity of the manufacturing process.
Despite the many positive properties, some beverage manufacturers are of the opinion that the grappa obtained in distillators with an intermittent (periodic) cycle is much better in quality. Therefore, at reputable factories they cook it the old fashioned way or combine 2 methods.
The alcohol content in grappa can vary from 37.5 to 60%. The final product of distillation contains 65-86% of alcohol. Therefore, it is brought to the necessary strength with the help of distilled or demineralized water.
Aging or ripening is an additional stage in the preparation of the drink, since the final step in obtaining young grappa is filtration. So remove the impurities of the oils and get a crystal clear and transparent drink. After this, one grappa is sent to the bottle, the other - to ripen.
The aging process takes place in wooden barrels, usually a volume of 225 liters. The type and taste of the final product depends on the type of wood with which it comes into contact. Most commonly used are oak, acacia, ash and cherry.
Cherry containers come with a lighter drink. The grappa from oak barrels has an amber color and a characteristic taste due to the high content of tannins in the wood. In addition to the view on the final aroma, a specific oak variety also affects. Therefore, barrels are made from trees that grow not only in Italy. Another characteristic of the aging process is time. Depending on the length of the stage, different types of grappa are obtained.
Grappa is classified according to its age, the nature of the marc and the grape variety responsible for the particular flavor. The following types of drinks are distinguished:
- Giovane - a young grappa that remains in an inert container of steel or glass until bottled in a bottle.
- Aromatica - A drink obtained from aromatic grape varieties (Muscat, Malvasia).
- Affinata - grappa, cast after storage in wooden containers for 12 months.
- Invecchiata - a mature drink, also called Vecchia (old), which is bottled after 12-18 months in wooden containers.
- Stravecchia (Stravecchia) or Riserva (Riserva) - grappa ripening for more than a year and a half in wooden containers.
- Monovarietale or "One Grade" - A drink made from grapes of a particular variety, which is usually indicated on the label.
- Polivitigno - a product from different grape varieties, but belonging to the same family. Such raw materials can be different in terms of ripening, harvest time and wine making technique.
- Flavored (Aromatizzata) - grappa, to which at the end of the distillation one or more natural vegetable oils were added.
This, of course, is far from a complete classification of grappa. If you take into account the geographical origin, you can distinguish many more options for the drink. All of them differ from each other by the centuries-old tradition inherent in the region and the culture of distillation. And, of course, one drink can belong to different types. For example, grappa can be young and flavored.
There are about 130 different grappa producers, of which 63% are in northeast Italy.
In some distilleries, such as Rovero and Castelleri Bergaglio, the production of a strong drink accompanies the main one. Other factories (Poli and Nonino) are aimed exclusively at making grappa and buy raw materials from winemakers. Nevertheless, several firms that deserve respect and popularity among consumers stand out from such a variety:
- Berta (Berta) - A company from Piedmont with a very wide range of drinks. A distinctive feature of grappa from Bert is the unusual shape of the bottles in combination with the highest quality of the drink.
- Bocchino - A company that carefully stores traditional methods of distillation and aging grappa. Cellars for ripening a drink are dug in the hills. Bokkino produces 4 types of grappa with a strength of 40-50 degrees.
- Bortolo Nardini - The oldest factory associated with the Nardini family. Even today, the descendants of Bortolo continue the tradition of production.
- Vittorio Capovilla - A company mainly engaged in the distillation of fruit drinks and in small quantities producing grappa. Grappa di Bassano is especially appreciated with a strength of 41%.
- Marolo - a distiller that combines modern equipment with traditional methods. A distinctive feature of the company is a wide range of not only drinks, but also sweet desserts with grappa.
- Nonino - A company representing the women's quota in the standings of distilleries, since the Nonino family consists mainly of women. The company always strives to revolutionize production methods, while respecting tradition. All types of drinks received by Nonino deserve attention, but Grappa Cru Monovitigno Picolit can be emphasized. Her bottle is made in the form of a flask. It has a mild flavor with the aroma of honey and acacia flowers.
- Poli - A company that produces a large assortment of grappa in recognizable bottles with a long and narrow neck. The plant uses 2 distillation methods, producing drinks with a delicate taste.
- Romano Levi - a legend in the world of grappa. The plant still uses a direct discontinuous cycle distillation method. Bottles adorn labels with unusual patterns designed for collectors.
There are more manufacturers of quality grappa than are listed. When choosing a drink, you can focus not only on the brand, but also on the names indicating the specific region, the use of which is legally regulated:
- Grappa di Barolo;
- Grappa piemontese or del Piemonte;
- Grappa lombarda or della Lombardia;
- Grappa trentina or del Trentino;
- Grappa friulana or del Friuli;
- Grappa veneta or del Veneto;
- Grappa dell'Alto Adige;
- Grappa siciliana or Grappa di Sicilia;
- Grappa di Marsala.
The production of these types of grappa must meet certain standards. Firms that do not fulfill the requirements for using the name grappa or geographical indication use the term "acquavite di vinaccia" to refer to a drink.
What is different from chachi
Many consumers ask themselves: "How is grappa different from chacha if they are obtained by similar methods?" At first glance, the difference between these "hopping sisters" is only in the homeland (chacha - Georgian distillate from the squeezed grapes). In fact, this is far from the case.
- Chacha is a coarser and stronger drink. The alcohol content in it is 55-60%.
- The raw materials for its production are unripe or substandard grapes along with combs or squeezed grapes. While grappa is made exclusively from pulp (sometimes with seeds).
- A great influence on the aroma of the drink has a grape variety. For chachi, Georgian wine white grapes Rkatsiteli or Isabella are used. For grappa, fragrant Italian varieties are a priority.
- And finally, the chacha ripening occurs in mulberry containers, which also affects the difference in the aromas of the two drinks.
Based on the above information, we can conclude that grappa and chacha are two different drinks "from root to tip".
How to taste and drink
Grappa tasting by professionals is a very accurate process, with stringent requirements. It should take place in a room with bright walls and good soundproofing, so that attention is focused only on the aroma of the drink.
Tasters are advised not to use perfumes, not to smoke, and not to eat foods and drinks with bright tastes. If several types of grappa are involved in the process, then they start with a young one, go to fragrant and finish seasoned.
The optimum temperature of the drink is 9-13 degrees. Although mature grappa is an exception. It is served at 17 degrees.
The ideal grappa glass has a tulip shape and a height of 10-15 cm. It should be medium convex made of crystal or clear glass. The neck of such a glass is narrow with an open crown. It promotes the gradual release of aroma.
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The first assessment of grappa occurs visually in the lumen. If the drink is not aromatized with oils, then any turbidity will be considered a defect. Next, determine the color, while the young grappa, ideally, is absolutely colorless.
In order to assess the smell of the drink, the glass is kept a little away from the nose, trying to perceive the nuances, and not inhale the alcohol. Young grappa has a clear, fresh aroma with fruity accents. Mature - full of notes of vanilla, cinnamon, licorice, cocoa and even tobacco.
To assess the taste of grappa in small sips scroll on the tongue for a few seconds. This allows the taste buds to fully open. After each type of drink, it is recommended to drink half a glass of milk in order to “renew” the oral cavity.
If the purpose of your tasting is not to assess the quality characteristics, but to want to have a good time in the company of friends, then remember that grappa is a classic digestif. It is drunk in small doses after meals to aid digestion. In Italy, grappa is added to espresso. Such a drink, the Italians called caffè coretto, which means "fixed coffee".
Salted pistachios and crackers with acacia honey sprinkled with parmesan flakes will be a pleasant accompaniment to the grappa's own aroma.
How original is grappa, the range of prices for it is so amazing. In Italy, a strong drink can be purchased from 7-8 euros per 500 ml. But this is just the starting cost. Depending on the manufacturer, the type and age of the drink, buying grappa can cost you even 600 euros for the same 500 ml.
In Russia, the cost of grappa starts from 1000 rubles for a drink of dubious quality. It reaches 65,000 rubles per 500 ml for the collection Grappa with a long exposure time.
On this heady information is completely exhausted. Live zealously, love honestly, travel excitedly and remember: "Do not put off what you can drink at dinner for breakfast!"