Grappa is a particular type of brandy made from grape pomace, which are the seeds, skins, and stems left over from the winemaking process. The original idea was to reduce winemaking waste by putting what had otherwise been discarded into use as the basis for a distillate. Officially grappa must be made in Italy or a couple of other parts of Europe, although international spirits made in the same fashion and calling themselves grappa do exist. The use of pomace gives grappa a very distinct flavor, as is the fact that most grappa is bottled without aging, leaving it quite pungent, although barrel-aged grappas also exist. In Italy, grappa is usually consumed in small quantities as a digestif.

Top Grappa Posts:

Understanding Grappa
Notes from Grappathon 2011
Marzadro Le Diciotto Lune Stravecchia Grappa
Candolini Grappa Bianca

Understanding Grappa

By Robert Lublin | December 21, 2019 |

If you’re apprehensive of grappa, you probably tasted it before and found it to be strong, harsh, and unforgiving. But times have changed, and it is time to give grappa a proper try because, as I recently found, the craft distillate made, mixed, and aged today is not your pappa’s grappa. Grappa’s history explains its…

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How Is Brandy Made?

By Ivan Lauer | September 12, 2017 |

“Claret is liquor for boys; port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink brandy.” – Samuel Johnson So you understand what different kinds of whiskey are called and why, and you can name the aromatics used in gin without a second thought, but brandy is still a spirit that eludes…

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Tasting Report: Tre Bicchieri Italian Wines 2017

By Christopher Null | March 12, 2017 |

It’s hard to believe but it’s been a long four years since I’ve attended Tre Bicchieri, a celebration of the best Italian wines as judged by Gambero Rosso, a massive trade group that is pretty much the final word in fine Italian wine. Tre Bicchieri, or “three glasses,” is the highest rating the group offers…

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Review: Candolini Grappa Bianca

By Christopher Null | February 23, 2017 |

This pure, clear grappa — a distillate of the leftovers from wine production — is made from a blend of the pomace of several grapes: sangiovese, trebbiano, cabernet, aglianico, and falanghina. As grappas go, Candolini Bianca — made by Fratelli Branca and a top seller in its homeland of Italy — is as light on…

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Review: Stoney Honey Infused Grappa

By Christopher Null | October 25, 2013 |

Is it a rarity or an oddity? Stoney Honey Infused Grappa is both. Distilled and bottled by St. George Spirits, this unique and very small batch project flavors grappa (no word on what grape varietals) with sage honey for Riverbench Winery. The nose offers lavender, eucalyptus, and light citrus. I’m immediately reminded of spa oils,…

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Tasting Report: Vini d’Italia Tour 2013

By Christopher Null | August 24, 2013 |

Our friends at Winebow, a major wine importer, host this event on a fairly annual basis, bringing some of the biggest names in Italian wine (and a little grappa) to the States for tasting and consideration. In addition, some virtually unknown brands, looking for distribution in the U.S., are made available, too. Prices below are…

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Review: Van Brunt Stillhouse Whiskey, Rum, and Grappa

By Christopher Null | February 18, 2013 |

Van Brunt Stillhouse is a craft distillery based in Brooklyn — arguably the epicenter of microdistillery activity in America, if not the world. (The company is named after Cornelius Van Brunt, one of the founding fathers of Brooklyn.) The distillery produces whiskey, rum, and — unusually — grappa. We tasted all three spirits. All are…

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dimmi liquore di milano

Review: Dimmi Liquore di Milano

By Christopher Null | May 10, 2012 |

The Italian answer to gin and absinthe, Dimmi is an old (1930s) product now making a resurgence. Distilled in the Lombardy region in Italy’s north, Dimmi is distilled from organic wheat (like a vodka) and infused with licorice, orange peel, rhubarb, ginseng, and vanilla. Following this infusion, peach and apricot blossoms are infused into the…

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Notes from Grappathon 2011

By Christopher Null | September 8, 2011 |

Grappa, something of a national spirit in Italy, doesn’t have to come from the famous country. Anyone can make the stuff — and, arguably, it’s far easier for a grape-grower in, say, Virginia, to produce good grappa than good wine. Recently I gathered with friends to sample and compare a host of grappas from all…

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Review: Samogon Russian Grappa

By Christopher Null | August 31, 2011 |

Yeah, you read that right: Grappa from Russia. Samogon is actually the Russian term for moonshine, so using it as a brand name is a little confusing. Samogon, from Phenix Brands, is also not really moonshine (in Russia, it’s typically a sugar-based spirit), but rather a grappa, made from grape stems and seeds left over…

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