Grappa is a spirit. It is the result of a distillation process. We could say that it is a grape brandy, but it is not a wine distillate. Only grape pomace or vinaccia (grape skins) are being added inside the still (which is usually a pot still). Of course, the vinaccia must be fermented, since we cannot extract alcohol from a liquid without … alcohol! The process needs a lot of quality control and it is worth saying that if we take around 100 kilos of grapes, we will be able to have 15 kilos of vinaccia which will finally give us a bottle of Grappa. And this nice bottle must contain a spirit with more than 37.5 % abv, according to the EU.
If you think of Black & Decker each time you hear the words “electric drill” or if you bring Santorini in your mind whenever you think of an outstanding sunset, then this is what you should recollect if somebody asks you about Grappa: Nardini, which is produced in two distillation plants: one in Bassano del Grappa and one in Monastier, both in the Veneto region, in northern Italy, very close to Venice. The fresh grape pomace is carefully selected, and after a resting period in silos where fermentation begins, the pomace is distilled. In Bassano, the distillation takes place in a traditional pot still. The water vapor is forced through the natural fermented grape pomace, in a vacuum sealed system, which allows a lower distillation temperature and avoids overheating of the pomace. In Monastier the continuous steam distilling technique is used, resulting in a clean and balanced taste of the final spirit. The product obtained from the two distilleries is later blended and then cold-filtered. The grappa remains for one year in stainless steel tanks for refining of the “Bianca” and a minimum of 5 years in Slavonian oak barrels for the “Riserva”. Enjoy the pictures, while drinking your young grappa chilled, or the aged one neat!