Grappa is a unique, ancient traditional Italian drink made from pomace (the solid remains of grapes, after pressing for juice. It contains the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of the fruit), the by-products of the wine-making process. The discarded products such as grape seeds, stalks and stems are taken through a distillation process in the hopes of removing the last remnants of flavours in the by-products before they are finally discarded. The end-product, Grappa is normally taken after meals.
History of Grappa
Today, Grappa has spread its wings beyond Italy. It is being produced and drunk in different parts of the world.
The type and quality of grapes used will determine the flavour of the drink. Typically, it is clear in colour, however, Grappa that is let to mature in oak barrels tends to attain a light brown colour.
Traditionally, Grappa in Italy is made through the direct distillation process. This process depends on the type of pomace used. Grappa can either be made through the fermentation process or the non-fermentation process. With the fermentation process, the pomace is fermented together with the must or grape juice and contains alcohol. It is also reddish in colour. The non-fermentation process on the other hand requires the removal of the pomace from the must and the end product is almost always white in colour.
A look at the different Grappa style available:
Giovani (young) which is Grappa that is derived from the vine and fermentation and remains in stainless steel tanks until it has to be bottled.
Aromatica(romatic) which is obtained from aromatic or semi-aromatic vine varieties such as Malvasia, Muscat and Traminer.
Affinata(Refined) which is bottled after aging for less than a year in wooden barrels.
Invecchiata or Vecchia(aged or old) which is Grappa that had been aged in the wooden barrels for at least 12 months.
Stravecchia or Riserva (Reserve or Very Old) which is Grappa that has been aged in the wood for at least 18 months.
Polivitigno (Poly-Variety) which is Grappa that is obtained from a cuvee of single grape varieties which belong to the same family but with different ripening periods, clones, harvest times or provenance.
Single Variety which is Grappa made from a specific variety of grapes
Aromatizzatta(flavoured) which is Grappa that has been flavoured with plant flavours such as Liquorice, Blueberry or Rue herb.
Photo source Carsten Tolkmit