Ah, grappa. Brandy’s skunky cousin.
I’m still a bit lost on the appeal of grappa — which is made from grape pomace — skins, seeds, and stems leftover from the winemaking process, rather than the grape juice itself, as brandy is made.
But even I will recognize there are some fine grappas out there, especially those which have been aged in wood casks to mellow out the skunky funkiness that’s ubiquitous with this spirit.
Producer Marzadro’s Le Diciotto Lune Stravecchia Grappa is a rarity in the grappa world, made from the pomace of eight types of grapes, aged in barrels made from four different kinds of wood, and with each cask aged for a variable time ranging from 18 months to five years. The result is a complex blend of spirits that is unmistakeably grappa but which is at least a more interesting expression of this Italian national beverage.
Le Diciotto Lune is intriguing. The nose has that nutty, earthy character common among grappa, and your first few sips continue the experience. But as you continue to explore the spirit the grappa opens up, offering sweet vanilla notes alongside flavors of golden raisins, light sherry character, and dried apples, oranges, and peaches. There’s a lot of heat in this grappa (it comes in at 82 proof), so sipping is advised, preferably as you consume it slowly and in moderation after a fine meal.
A- / $90 / marzadro.it