Grappa came into existence thanks to Italian winemakers keen to make their fruit go further – the spirit is distilled from pomace, the assortment of grape skins, stalks, seeds and pulp that remain in the press.
After fermentation, most top producers remove the stalks and stems from the pomace, which is then distilled in either continuous stills (for the more mass-market grappas) or pot stills for the more boutique products. The spirit is then aged in wood or rested in glass before bottling. Most grappas are clear, but oak-aged grappas can take on a fantastic dark golden hue, resembling an XO Cognac or a malt whisky.
The quality of grappa being exported from Italy has never been better; for anyone trying a high-end grappa for the first time and expecting a harsh, raw spirit, the results can be a revelation. Grappa converts are more numerous than many cynical observers might imagine.
Typical Character and Style of Grappa