When somebody asks for an Italian wine recommendation, where does your mind go?
Perhaps you push them in the direction of the red classics, such as Barolo and Chianti. Or, you tell them to experience one of the wonderful sparkling wines that come out of Italy, of which Prosecco is the most famous.
There are so many choices that you could make and yet there’s one that we feel will consistently fly under the radar.
Why is that?
Grappa is unlike almost any other type of Italian wine. It’s more of a liqueur with its 40% alcohol volume. And as a result, it’s often consigned to a different category when we talk about Italian wines.
It shouldn’t be.
When appreciated properly, Grappa can offer just as many unique flavours and subtleties as a great Italian wine. And though it’s a spirit, we proudly offer several examples of Grappa on the Xtrawine store.
In fact, it’s one of them that we’re going to examine in this article.
The Jacopo Poli Grappa Bassano 24 Carati is a drink that everybody should have available to them. But before we get to the review, we’re going to talk about the wonderful people behind the drink and some of the things that you need to know about Grappa.
The particular example of Grappa that we’re going to look at today comes from a company named Distillerie Poli.
Based in beautiful Veneto, which Italian wine lovers are already aware of as a region that offers untold quality, the Poli family works hard to carve a niche out for themselves with a type of spirit that many do not give enough credit to. The family has been hard at work since the 19th century in its attempts to bring Grappa to the masses.
Slowly but surely, it’s succeeding in its aim.
Every generation of the family brings something new to the table, both in terms of production and regarding the business of selling the drink. Over time, this has allowed the company to perfect its production techniques while still respecting the deep tradition that Grappa has. Now, Distillerie Poli produces what many believe are the best examples of Grappa that Italy has to offer.
So dedicated to the drink are the family that they’ve also founded a museum that tells you everything that you need to know about the drink and the family behind this particular variant of it. A simple tour of this wonderful museum will give you a renewed appreciation for the work put into making this wine so wonderful. And it will also show you how Grappa is a drink that requires just as much love an attention as any great Italian wine.
With that in mind, we’re not going to jump into the review just yet.
Instead, we want to teach those who’ve never experienced Grappa a few things that they need to know about it before they try it.
Grappa Fact #1 – It Uses Grapes
One of the reasons why some shy away from Grappa is the perception that it’s made from the scraps of the winemaking process. And it’s certainly true that Grappa comes from the pomace that’s left over from winemaking. That means it’s an amalgamation of the seeds, stems, and skins that the producer doesn’t use.
Some particularly insulting people might even refer to it as the hotdog of the Italian wine world. After all, it takes all of the pieces that the wine doesn’t use and turns them int something else.
But think about the last hotdog you had.
It tasted amazing, right?
So does Grappa.
Grappa does not find its heart in the waste of Italian wine. Instead, it stands as a testament to producers who want to make the best use out of everything that they grow. It’s a wine that has sustainability built into its core. The producer uses literally everything that they grow to produce two distinct and unique products.
Grappa Fact #2 – It Can Have a Super-High Volume
We mentioned earlier that the Grappa we will take a look at in a moment has a 40% alcohol volume.
But what you may not know is that this is actually at the lower end of the scale for Grappa. To be considered a Grappa, the drink must have an alcohol volume that falls anywhere between 35% and 65%.
So, you won’t be knocking it back in the same way that you drink glasses of wine. Grappa is more of a sipping drink, which brings us to our next fact…
Grappa Fact #3 – Grappa is Highly Versatile
Some choose to drink Grappa straight and there’s certainly nothing wrong with this. The Italians refer to it as a digestif, with many choosing to sip it after enjoying a hearty meal.
However, Grappa can do so much more than that.
It’s also an ideal addition to many cocktails, as it’s capable of giving any drink a good bite. Grappa is even used in espressos, if you’re feeling especially brave.
With that being said, it’s about time that we look at the drink itself!
The Jacopo Poli Grappa Bassano 24 Carati
Of all of the Grappas that Distillerie Poli has produced, the Jacopo Poli Grappa Bassano 24 Carati may be the absolute highlight.
Coming in with a 40% volume, this is a drink that’s ideal for sipping after meals, though you may want to be careful if you’ve already had a couple of glasses of wine. A small amount sipped slowly is the ideal way to consume this drink.
The adventurous will recognise that there’s a lot more to this Grappa than meets the eye.
It’s golden colouring looks attractive in the glass and the aroma it provides includes notes of liquorice, coffee, and toasted wood. This is a Grappa that has a good bite and it’s ideal for those who want something to challenge them a little after meals. Happily, the drink offers sweeter notes of vanilla and cocoa in the aftertaste, which means that its complexity shouldn’t prevent you from trying it.