Category Archives: Grappa

Lunch with Daniele Cernilli aka Doctor Wine

Last month, Marina Thompson and Daniele Cernilli invited us for lunch at their apartment in Rome. Both Marina and Daniele are very good cooks and of course there is the wine.Daniere

Daniele Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, and his wife, Marina Thompson, have been friends for many years. We have tasted a lot of wine together both in the US and in Rome. Daniele is a true Roman. He is one of the most important men in Italian wine and has been a wine critic for many years. Daniele was one of the founders of Gambero Rosso and for 24 years was the editor of the Gambero Rosso Slow Food Wine Guide. Daniele was the creator of the now famous Tre Bicchieri, Three Glasses wine classification. Currently, he has his own web-magazine called “Doctor Wine” www.doctorwine.it. There are both English and Italian versions, and it covers both Italian and European wines. I read it regularly and recommend it to anyone interested in wine. He also has the best printed guide to Italian wines which is updated every year called The Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2020.

The Wines

Franciacorta Extra Brut Quinque Uberti in magnum made from 100% Chardonnay. This is a five vintage reserve wine produced with the Classic Method with a minimum of 80 months on the lees. This is an elegant Spumante with hints of chamomile, honey and ginger and a note of almonds.

Greco di Tufo “Vittorio” 2007 Di Meo made from 100% Greco di Tufo from vineyards in Montefusco at 750 meters and the vineyard was planted in 1998. The soil is clay, and limestone. The exposure is northeast and there are 3,500 plants per hectare. The training system is espalier with monolateral guyot pruning. The slightly overripe manual harvest takes place the second half of October. Fermentation is at a controlled temperature in stainless steel and 18 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with hints of apple and hazelnut, a note of citrus fruit, a touch of flint and good acidity and minerality. I visited the winery a few years ago as part of Campania Stories and liked the wine. The winery is located 15km east of Avellino between the villages of Salza Irpina and Parolise. Daniele knows I especially like the Di Meo Greco and I was very pleased he served it to us.

Daniele knows I especially like the Di Meo Greco and I was very pleased he served it to us.

With the wine we had three chesses burrata, mozzarella and straciatella. Daniele said that he had gone to thee different stores to get the best ones in Rome.

Monsanto Chianti Classico “Il Poggio” 2014 in magnum made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino and Canaiolo. The training system is guyot and spurred cordon. The wine is vinified in temperature controlled conical steel vats. Delestage and pumping over for about 20 to 22 days. The wine is aged in 500 liter oak barrels, partly new and partly second hand for 18 to 20 months. The wine remains in the bottle for 2 years before release. The wine has hints of blackberries and blueberries with a hint of violets. Monsanto is located in the western-central area of the Chianti Classico region in the municipality of Barberino Tavarnelle. I have a long history with Monsanto going back over 35 years and the 1977 vintage of Il Poggio.

To go with the wine, Daniele had prepared a delicious stew of chickpeas and Tuscan kale,

which Marina served with a delicate polpettone or meatloaf.

Vinsanto del Chianti Classico 2008 in half bottle made from Malvasia and Sagiovese from various vineyards within the property. Fontodi

There are 3,500 to 6,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. The grapes after the harvest are naturally dried for 5 months. After the pressing the must is racked into chestnut and oak barrels of 50 and 110 liters where aging takes place for at least 6 years. There are only 3,000 bottles produced. Fontodi is located in Panzano in Chianti. This is an excellent dessert wine with hints of hazelnut, dried apricot, honey and a touch of caramel.

To go with the wine, there was a magnificent panettone, one of the best I have ever had.

Finally there were glasses of Grappa UE “Uvarossa” Nonino made from Schioppettino, Refosco and Fragolino. It was a great way to end a wonderful afternoon.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Chianti Classico, Daniele Cernilli, Di Meo winery, Grappa, Greco di Tufo, Uberti Quinque, Vin Santo

A Summer Dinner with Tom and Diane

It is always a pleasure to be invited to the home of Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow for dinner. They are wine and food writers and both have excellent blogs: “Tom’s Wine Line” at ubriaco.wordpress.com and “Another Year in Recipes” at dianescookbooks.wordpress.com

For wine as always we started with Champagne. This time it was Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, Cuis Premier Cru, Brut NV 100% Chardonnay from vintages 2010 to 2015 and it was disgorged March 16, 2019. The dosage is 6g/l.

With it we nibbled at an assortment of appetizers which included nuts, olives and a delicious bean and tuna spread made with canned ventresca, the choicest part of the tuna, on dark bread.

At the table, Diane brought out perfectly ripe heirloom tomatoes from the Union Square Greenmarket with mozzarella di bufala and

Zucchini a scapece (marinted and fried zucchini)

and olive oil from Bucci, one of my favorite producers of Verdicchio.

With this we had the Greco di Tufo 2016 “Vigna Cicogno” from Benito Ferrara made from 100% Greco di Tufo from a 1.5 hectare vineyard. The vines are between 15 and 60 years old and the soil is calcareous clay with outcroppings of yellow sulfur. There is a soft pressing of the grapes followed by fermentation and maturation in stainless steel. The wine spends 7 months on the lees and 2 months in the bottle before release. This is a very impressive wine with a great depth of aromas and flavors, hints of citrus fruit, a touch of lemon and a scent of bitter almond.

Next was the pasta, a recipe I had never eaten before, from one of Diane and Tom’s cookbooks, The Seasons of the Italian Table (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994). It was called Abruzzi-Style Fettuccine and the homemade pasta was dressed with sautéed onion, pancetta, basil, parsley and grated pecorino romano cheese. The simple, rustic sauce was very appealing.

This was paired with the 2011 Ghemme DOCG “Pellizzane” from Monsecco made from 90% Nebbiolo, 5%Vespolina and 5% Bonarda from the Novara Hills. The vines are an average of 30 years old. Harvest is in the second half of October and there is a carefully hand selection of the grapes. The wine macerates for 12 days before fermentation in stainless steel. Then it goes into a combination of old Slovenian botte (large oak barrels) and then in second year used French barriques for an additional 3 years and a year in bottle before release. This is a wine with hints of red and bark fruit with a touch of blueberries and notes of tobacco and spice. The wine was drinking very well.

A lamb stew with peppers and tomatoes followed.

With it we drank Taurasi 2007 Primum Riserva DOCG from Gustaferro made from 100% Aglianico from very old vines. The vineyards are at 300 meters and on south facing slopes. The training system is pergola. The wine is aged in botti for two years. This is a wine that can age. It has hints of black cherry, red currants, spice and a touch of raspberry.

With a selection of cheese we had the

Barolo 1999 “Colonnello” DOCG from Poderi Aldo Conterno made from 100% Nebbiolo (Michet and Lampia) varieties from the Colonnello vineyard (40 to 45 years old) in Bussia (Monforte d’Alba). There is a manual harvest in mid-October with grape selection in the vineyard. Vinification with skin contact inside stainless steel vats for 30 days. The wine is decanted several times before transfer to oak casks where it is aged and refined.

Our dessert was a light one of homemade lemon granita accompanied by some plain cookies, and as always we finished with grappa.

Tom has a wonderful collection and the Grappa Di Venegazzu “Della Casa” from Loredan Gasparini was my choice. It is made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

4 Comments

Filed under Aldo Conterno, Barolo, Ghemme, Grappa, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi

Hello Grappa in Pictures

I drink Grappa all year long but as the weather turns colder and the holiday seasons is under way I tend to think of Grappa more often.

While writing on another subject I came across a number of pictures of my last “Hello Grappa” trip that I wanted to share.   As I looked through my photos, I sipped a glass of grappa and enjoyed a grappa brownie that Michele had made. For more on Grappa see Hello GrappaDistilleria Marzadp,  Grappa Cocktails

The first stop  was the Bonollo distillery near Padua (Trento)

Bonollo

Elvio Bonollo after the Grappa tasting

Bonollo- The vinaccia, after it has been distilled.

 Grappa Prosecco

Grappa Amarone

Our next stop was the Bottega Distillery in Bibano di Godega (Veneto)

Before the tour of the distillery and the grappa tasting we had the chance to see a glass blowing demonstration

The result

A Grappa Masterclass with the enologist Lorenza Scollo who is very interesting and knowledgeable 

Tasting Grappa with another Grappa lover Tom Maresca at Bottega

Grappa Prosecco


Grappa Bianca

Grappa Moscato

Grappa in Barrique

That night we had dinner with the dynamic and entertaining Sandro Bottega

We also visited the Bepi Tosolini Distillery in Udine (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia)

Lisa Tosolini giving us a tour of the distillery 

Most of the barrels have been signed by visitors to the Distillery. Michele had been here on another press trip but could not find the barrel she signed the first time so she signed another barrel.

I even signed a barrique!

 

Must

The vinaccia (must) going into the still

Individual tasting sheets for the tasting conducted by Lisa, very interesting and informative.

Grappa Friulano

 Most

Grappa Ramandolo

We also tasted a unique Smoked Grappa, almost like an island scotch

Next stop was the Castagner Distillery in Treviso (Trento)

Giulia Castagner

Making Grappa 

It is all done by computer 

Giulia conducted a  tasting for us of a number of Grappas

Grappa Riserva Leon 7 years old

Grappa Brunello di Montalcino

Last but not least was the G Bertagnolli Distillery in Mezzacorona ( Trento)

Stefano Pederiva, the export manager explained how grappa is made

Stefano conducted a Grappa tasting

Aged Grappa Gran Grappino

Traditional Grappa from Trentino

5 year old Grappa in barrique


I was very impressed with all of the grappa that I tasted. Today there is a grappa for every taste:  traditional white Grappa, Grappa aged in different size barrels and woods, Grappa aged in used port barrels, smoked Grappa, Grappa aged in amphora and Grappa aged in barriques.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bonollo Distillery, Grappa

Grappa Brownies

By Michele Scicolone

For a spirited holiday season, I can’t think of a better dessert than these luscious brownies made with three of my favorite ingredients: chocolate, espresso coffee and grappa.

The chocolate takes two forms, unsweetened squares and semisweet chocolate chips and the coffee is dry instant espresso powder which deepens the chocolate flavor. But the grappa is the best part, adding a sophisticated warmth and richness which makes these brownies different from all the others. A clear, traditional style grappa is best for this recipe.

The brownies can be cut into small squares to add to a cookie tray, or into larger pieces to serve with ice cream, berries and hot chocolate sauce for a dessert. A splash of grappa on top is a nice final touch!

Makes about 16 to 32 brownies

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 large eggs

1/4 cup grappa

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

On a piece of wax paper, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Place the unsweetened chocolate squares in a small heatproof bowl or double boiler and set it over, not in, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has softened, stir until smooth.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer at medium high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and beat well. Then add the instant espresso powder, eggs, grappa and vanilla. Scrape the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. At low speed, stir in the dry ingredients. With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will still be very soft. Do not over bake.

Place the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Brownies, Grappa, Hello Grappa, Uncategorized

Sicilian Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving dinner is always held at our apartment with the same group of friends. It works out well because they are all involved with food and wine and all contribute something. It was a long fun evening beginning at 4:00PM and ending at 10:00 PM.

Michele likes to change the menu every year.  This year she decided to make a turkey recipe that she had tasted in Palermo, Sicily when she was leading culinary tours there.  She and her group dined at the home of a former caterer and chef, and though retired, the woman still enjoyed preparing meals in her home for visitors to her city.   When Michele visited, she made a roast turkey stuffed with pasta and it was delicious.

Michele asked her about it and was told that she had come up with the idea while experimenting with a similar recipe from the 19th century that was made with partridge.  Since she couldn’t get a partridge, she substituted turkey.  To make the the stuffing, the woman combined a Bolognese type ragu made with a minimal amount of tomato with Bechamel.   She cooked some ziti, tossed it with the sauce and grated cheese and used this as her stuffing.  Whatever could not go into the turkey, she baked in little timbales, one for each guest.

Michele made the turkey in much the same way, though she substituted some homemade turkey gravy for the Bechamel to lighten the sauce.  She made the gravy with turkey parts that she roasted a few days before Thanksgiving. 

Also, she made the Bolognese with ground turkey and pork, rather than the usual beef or veal.  For the pasta, Michele used imported mezze maniche, which are something like small rigatoni.  Additional brown turkey gravy was served to moisten the bird and stuffing.  With it, we had roasted sweet potatoes, fennel, rutabaga and buttered broccoli, as well as Michele’s fig and cranberry mostarda.

We started as always with Champagne

Billecart-Salmon (Magnum) Blanc de Blancs 1981 (Mareuil-Sur-Ay) made from 100% Chardonnay. The Champagne was showing its age but it was drinkable and enjoyable.

Fiano Di Avellino DOC 2000 made from 100% Fiano Selezione Erminia Di Meo. The late harvest grapes were selected from a particular family parcel. There is a prolonged maceration with the skins at a low temperature followed by soft pressing and controlled temperature fermentation. A year after the harvest the wine remains in stainless steel with the “fecce fin” for 13 more years before release. This is an exceptional Fiano. Even though it was a 2000, everyone believed it needed more time to open up.

Corton-Charlemagne 1986 made from 100% Chardonnay Louis LaTour. The soil is stony limestone and the vines are 30 years old. Harvest is manual. Traditional fermentation in oak barrels with complete malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 8 to 10 months in medium toast new oak barrels.The wine had a hints of honey, dried fruits and an herbal note.

Gevrey-Chambertin “En Pallud” 1985 (Magnum) Domaine Maume. Made from 100% Pinot Noir. The vineyard is .63 hectares and the vines are 70 years old, the soil is clay and limestone. The clusters are 100% destemmed. The wine is aged for 18 to 20 months in mostly older barrels and is bottled without fining or filtration. This for me was the wine of the evening and I was very happy it was a magnum!

Barolo “La Serra” 1978   Marcarini made from 100% Nebbiolo This wine was produced when the legendary Elvio Cogno was the wine maker. This is a classic Barolo with flavors and aromas of faded roses, licorice, tar, tobacco and a hint of cherry. 1978 was an excellent vintage for Barolo.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape  1978  Chateau de Beaucastel made from 30% Mourvédre, 30% Grenache ,10% Syrah, 10% Counoise and 20% other permitted varieties. The grapes are hand picked and only the best grapes are kept and vinified. After a total de-stemming, the wine is traditionally vinified in temperature controlled vats for 15 days an then aged in oak barrels. This is a full bodied mature wine with hints of blackberries, blueberries, violets and a touch of pepper.

Late Harvest Zinfandel “Paso Robles” 1978 made from 100% Zinfandel from the Dusi vineyard. Ridge. The Benito Dusi Ranch is the only Ridge vineyard source south of the San Francisco Bay area. The vineyard was first planted in 1923 and was only planted with Zinfandel. Ridge started using this vineyard to make wine in 1967. Destemmed and fully crushed grapes vinified on native yeasts are sent to tanks for submerged cap fermentation for 11 days. This is followed by full malolactic on the natural occurring bacteria; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur. There is pad filtering at bottling. This is a wine with fruity aromas, with hints of black cherry and other black and red fruits with a touch of prune and spice.

Back in the 1980’s I brought a case of this wine in this vintage. If I knew it was going to last this long I would have brought more. It was showing almost no sign of age and it was like I remember the wine from 30 years ago.

We had it with the cheese.

Grappa con Erbe Serafino Levi – this was a special treat because grappa made by Romano Levi is my favorite and I only had the Grappa con Erbe once before. Even more so since he passed away several years ago, grappa made by him is difficult to find. He was known as “The Angelic Grappa maker” and was a legend in his own time. The perfect way to end a wonderful evening!

 

4 Comments

Filed under Barolo, Billecart- Salmon, Chateaneuf du Pape, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Cogno- Marcarini, Corton Charlemagne, Di Meo winery, Gevery-Chambertin-Eu Pallud-Maume, Grappa, Ridge, Romano Levi, Thanksgiving 2018, Zinfandel

Tasting and Learning about Grappa at the Distilleria Marzadro

The Marzadro Distilleria in Trentino was one of the distilleries Michele and I visited on the Hello Grappa Tour in May..  I had met Alessandro Marzadro in NYC a few years ago when he was giving a seminar on his family’s distillery. I was very impressed by his knowledge and his grappa and was looking forward to meeting him again at the distillery.  His aunt, Sabrina Marzadro,  founded the distillery in 1949 and Alessandro is the third generation to work in this family run distillery. The distillery is located in Trentino

Alessandro told us that at one time, grappa was only drunk by farm workers especially in the cold weather to give them energy before they went into the fields to work. It was a morning drink taken between the hours of 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM. He made the point that grappa was only made by the farmers in Northern Italy. Southern Italy does not have a tradition of grappa because it is too warm. It is only recently with the popularity and often high prices for grappa that grappa has achieved that wineries in Southern Italy have their grape pomace (vinaccia in Italian) turned into grappa. He said the grappa was first called acqua vita, water of life, and the people of Trentino have always embraced the art of distillation.

Producing Grappa

Up until about 20 years ago all grappa was what Alessandro referred to as traditional grappa, that is, made without being aged in wood. It was clear in color and the flavor reflected the grapes that it was made from. Now many grappas are aged in new barriques and for the most part they are dark in color.  In many cases the wood flavor has taken over.

Alessandro said that grappa made from white grapes has more aromas and is easier to drink than grappa made from red grapes, although grappa made from red grapes has more taste. If you are going to introduce grappa to someone for the first time it is better to chose a grappa made from white grapes as it is easier to drink.  Alessandro said that you must start with the best raw material. Trentino makes great wines so this is not a problem. Knowledge and experience are also needed to produce a great product.

In 2005 they built a new distillery which is organized in such a way that it makes it easier to understand how grappa is made.

Alessandro said that in the distillery there are 100 days of work, 24/7 from September to December. The freshest selected pomace is distilled each day. The distillation takes place in alembics using the traditional discontinuous bain marie system (steam distillation), which is part of the Trentino culture. He said that the first part of the production called the “head” tastes bad because it contains too much methane (he said it tastes like nail polish) and is therefore discarded. The last part is called the “tail” and contains too many impurities and is also discarded. The discontinuous method produces small amounts of high quality grappa.

The alembics are handmade out of copper and are excellent conductors of heat. Therefore the particular fragrances and aromas of the pomace (a solid raw material-grape skins) are enhanced to their maximum. In order to keep everything uniform, the whole system is computerized.

The pomace waiting to be made into grappa

Alessandro pointed out that the continuous process of grappa production in giant stills produces large amounts of grappa. He said that this type of production, which he does not use, produces commercial grappa that is not of a very good quality.

After distillation the traditional grappa is left alone. The grappa that is to be aged is placed in barrels of different sizes ranging from 225 liter barriques to 1,500 liter barrels, and even larger.  Alessandro pointed out two of the biggest barrels I have ever seen in any winery or distillery.

The barrels are made different types of toasted wood, including oak, acacia, cherry and ash. Alessandro said they use wood from all over the world.  Some new barrels are from a barrel maker who also produces barrels used for balsamic vinegar. They also have barrels that were used to age port.

The Grappa

Grappa Anfora Grappa aged in Terracotta.

Amphorae made from a blend of different types of clay from the Tuscan towns of Montelupo and Impruneta are also used for aging some of the grappa. This type of aging achieves the micro-oxygenation which is twice what you would find using barrels.

This type of grappa ages 10 months in 300 liter amphorae.  Alessandro said it enriches the Grappa’s elegance and softness, giving the characteristics of aging with out the classic flavor of wood. It is made from a blend of the pomace from grapes indigenous to the Trentino region: 80% Marzemino and Merlot and 20% Chardonnay, Müller Thurgau and Moscato.

Grappa Moscato in Purezza 100% Moscato. Carefully selected marc from Moscato grapes from the areas of Vallagarina in the municipalities of Calliano and Besenello. Distillation is carried out in a bagnomaria, bain marie or steam pot still, typical of Trentino. This is a full soft, elegant and aromatic grappa with notes of the Moscato grape.

Grappa Invecchiata Morbido Barrique “La Trentina” made from the marc of the Moscato, Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer grapes. It is aged for several months in barrels previously used for aging Le Ciciotto Luna Stravecchia Grappa.   Alessandro described this grappa as aromatic, gentle, soft, delicate and captivating.

Gewurztraimer “Giare” 100% Gewurztraminer. The mark is distilled in a bagnomaria still. Aging is for 36 months in 1000 liter oak barrels. This grappa has a very light tinge of color from the barrel aging. It is very aromatic, intense and delicate at the same time with all the aromas of the Gewurztraminer grape.

Le Diciotto Lune Riserva Botte Porto   Alessandro said that this was a second special edition of the Grappa Stravecchia. Riserva Botte Porto comes from an additional aging period of 18 months, in a limited number of selected barrels previously used to age Port wine. This extra refinement highlights the sharper Grappa-wood contrasts and the Port barrels add a fruity scent. It is aged for 36 months: 18 in small barrels made of different woods and 18 months in Port barrels. Made from the skins of 70% Marzemino, Teroldego, and Merlot and 30% Chardonnay and Muscat. There is some controversy among the producers over putting the word Porto on the label. This an intense and fruity grappa.

Espressioni Aromatica Alessandro said the barrel aging is part of a continuous effort to enhance the results achieved by careful distillation. Espression by Andrea Marzadro, the master distiller,ly contains the best results achieved in the aging room for the year. It is crafted by individually distilling the marc from Gewürztraminer and Müller Thurgau in a bagnomaria and blending them before aging. It ages for 4 years in 500 liter oak barrels. The grappa is aromatic, fruity and smooth with a hint of wood.

Affina- Riserva Ciliegio made from the must of Lagrein and Pinot Noir grapes, which are gently pressed and then distilled in a bagnomaria. The resulting grappa is aged for 10 years in small cherry barrels. The wood used to make the barrels (prunus cerasus) is aged for at least 26 months, while the curvature of the staves is achieved using the steam bending method combined with a light toasting. It is soft, elegant and complex.

As I was at our first meeting, I was once again very impressed with Alessandro Marzadro and with his grappa.

4 Comments

Filed under Grappa, Hello Grappa, Marzardo Distillery, Uncategorized

Grappa Cocktails and Grappa Smoked

I like grappa. I often drink it after a meal as a way to relax and to help me to digest. Sometimes I put a little in my espresso, for what Italians call caffè corretto. I drizzle grappa on my lemon granita and other ices and pour it over fruit salad and cake.

Michele often cooks with grappa. A number of years ago Michele and I wrote an article for Gourmet Magazine called “Cooking with Grappa.” Grappa with chocolate is a great combination. The grappa chocolate cake appeared on the cover of the magazine along with a citrus fruit salad. She also included recipes for quails with grappa, pasta with shrimp and grappa, and so on.

Last year we were invited to participate in a choice of two grappa press trips organized by Hello Grappa. On tour A we would visit two distilleries and on tour B there were seven distilleries. Because of our schedule we could only go on tour A. We visited one distillery in Tuscany and one in Piedmont. It was a wonderful trip, very well organized, and we enjoyed tasting, drinking and learning about grappa. You can read more about it at Hello Grappa

This year we participated in Tour B and we visited 6 distilleries:

Umberto Bonollo – Conselve and Mestrino (Trento)     Bottega – Bibano di Godega (Veneto)

Bepi Tosolini – Udine (Friuli Venezia Giulia)                  Castagner -Treviso (Trento)

Marzadre – Nogaredo (Trento)                                             Bertagnolli – Mezzocorona (Trento)

These are all family run distilleries, some going back as far as 4 generations.  As part of an effort to introduce grappa to a new audience, the producers on this tour emphasized aged grappa and grappa cocktails.  In this article I will talk about the grappa cocktails that we sampled.

Grappa Cocktails

At lunch in Padua with Elvio Bonollo from the Bonollo distillery we tried a couple of aperitifs made with grappa Gra’it.

This is a clear grappa aged in large Slavonian oak casks with just a hint of the wood. It was especially made for mixed drinks and was a “lighter style grappa,” we were told. It is made from the skins of seven different grapes: Prosecco (Glera), Moscato d’Asti, Nebbiolo (Barolo), Nero d Avola, Corvina (Amarone), Sangiovese (Brunello) and Aglianco (Taurasi.

Elvio Bonollo said they chose the 7 best varieties to produce this grappa and unite them into one perfect blend.

GRA’IT & TONIC

30 ML/ 1 OZ Gra’it

90 ml/3 OZ Tonic Water

Garnish: fresh thyme

Method:

Fill the glass with ice. Add the Gra’it Grappa

and the tonic. Stir and garnish with fresh thyme before serving.

PINK PANTHER:

30 ML/ 1 OZ Gra’it

90 ml/3 OZ Pink Grapefruit Soda

Garnish: Pink Grapefruit Peel

Method:

Fill the glass with ice

Add the Gra’it Grappa followed by the

Pink Grapefruit Soda

Stir and garnish with grapefruit peels before serving

We enjoyed these before lunch on a warm day sitting outside in a picturesque square in Padua–Perfect!

At the Castagner distillery Giulia Castagner the daughter of the owner Roberto Castagner made us a cocktail to taste using their Casta Grappa. This grappa is made from 85% Glera grapes, which are white grapes used to make Prosecco, and it is 40 proof.  Giulia said the grappa is distilled 5 times to insure purity and is specially formulated for cocktails.

Giulia also said that the grappa they send to the US is much lighter and smoother than the ones they sell in Italy.

TWIST DI NEGRONI

1/3 Casta

1/3 sweet vermouth

1/3 Campari

twist of lemon peel

Method:

Combine the ingredients over ice and stir.

One evening before dinner we went to the town of Conlgliano to taste cocktails made with grappa at a popular wine bar called DRY made with Alexander Prosecco Grappa by Bottega, which also produces Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC.

MEDITERRANEO

90 ml Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC

90 ml Alexander Prosecco Grappa

4 orange slices

4 lemon slices

15 grams brown sugar

Basil Leaves

Ice cubes

Muddle brown sugar, 3 lemon and 3 orange slices and 4 basil leaves in a glass. Add the Alexander Prosecco Grappa and stir well.

Add ice and Bottega Gold Prosecco DOC and stir. Garnish with remaining lemon and orange slices and a sprig of basil.

GRAPPA SOUR

30 ml Alexander Prosecco Grappa

20 ml lemon juice

20 ml sugar syrup

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Alexander Grappa Prosecco is made from the skins of the Glera grape. The grappa is produced during three distillation phases with different temperatures in traditional copper alembics – bain-marie –with indirect heating. The grappa is remains is steel tanks for almost 6 months before it is bottled. This is a grappa that can be enjoyed by itself in small sips.

 ZEN

Created and prepared by bartender Paolo Baldan

In a glass, blend 10 drops of ginger tincture with 1,5 oz of Alexander Grappa di Prosecco. Top with Cordial Lime, stir and serve.

Which was my favorite? For me, the choice is easy. I like a simple Grappa and Orange Juice:

Combine fresh orange juice with 2 to 3 ounces of grappa in a tall glass. Do not add ice. Great way to start the day!

At the Bepi Tosolini we tasted “Grappa Smoked.”  Lisa Tosolini, granddaughter of the owner, told us that this grappa is distilled by the traditional method with bain marie pot still.  This grappa is made from Friulian red grape skins and then aged in French oak barriques. The oak casks have gone through  a toasting process  with Kentucky tobacco leaves. This is a dry and intense  smoked grappa which tasted like  an aged single malt whiskey. This was a first for me and another new twist to what is being done with grappa.

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Grappa, Hello Grappa