What’s this? Writing about a spirit in a wine blog? Well, begging your indulgence, I’m a little excited about this – ABC has just picked up a terrific new grappa from Lorenzo Inga. It’s Lorenzo Inga Moscato Grappa and it comes in a 375 ml. bottle with a regular price of $24.99.
So what exactly is grappa? Grappa may be defined as an alcoholic beverage of Italian origin (though similar spirits are made under different names all over the world) made by distilling the grape residue – mostly grape skins – left over from winemaking after pressing. But while traditional grappa can be made with grape skins, seeds, stems, and even leaves and was often a mix of whatever varietals came to hand, the Inga grappa has always been distilled from single varietal grapes bought from select wineries, and is made only from the skin and leftover pulp of the grapes, not the other residue. They use skins that have only been pressed once before (to make the wine). Their second pressing of the skin and pulp is then distilled within 18 – 24 hours of the first pressing. Inga grappa is double distilled in small alambic copper pot stills in the manner of fine cognacs. Obviously this is a quality product!
Now, before all you Moscato fans rush out and buy a bottle of Moscato grappa, I should warn you that this is something very different. It’s very strong in alcohol (40%) and despite having pleasant fruity aromas with hints of peach and apricot it is not what you’d call sweet. Many of my friends refer to it simply as firewater. But for those of us who love grappa it’s a real treat!
When and how do you drink grappa? Grappa is usually served after dinner as a “digestivo”. Usually it is served straight in a small liqueur glass. Some people will add a little to their espresso to create a “caffe corretto” or corrected coffee, or sometimes they will pour a little into their espresso cup after they’ve finished the coffee, swirl it with the coffee residue and drink it down in one sip.
So why not try something a little different after dinner? Pour a small amount of grappa for yourself and your friends and let them experience one of the taste treats of Italy. Enjoy!
Bill Stobbs (aka Frank Grappa), Wine Supervisor, West Florida