Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A second haul of grappas from Garda

Evening! Last week we had a tumultuous return visit to beautiful Salo by Italy’s Lake Garda. This week I want you to imagine we’ve been back home for a while, and been sampling all those lovely grappas we were able to bring home. There’s four of them in all. Here’s what I thought.
Franzosi’s Grappa di Rebo
The small cork on this modern-style bottle reveals a bizarre insert that does a great job of regulating the pour. It doesn’t restrict it in any way. The label is transparent with the name written sideways in red.
It is savoury in its mightily impressive nose and on the tongue, and not really sweet at all, but actually very good. There was definitely a benefit to using my new grappa glasses here. The wine glass I tried on opening at our friends Phil and Laura’s didn’t do it justice. Phil and Laura love Italy almost as much as we do, though this was their first experience of its special spirit. Laura seemed interested, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d been left with an impression of weird vodka.
Overall the Rebo didn’t quite live up to the taste we had at the showroom. It may be that it is better chilled, but I never chill my grappa, and don’t really want to start doing that.

Il Roccolo Quatra
I’m not sure if this one really is called “Quatra”, as the writing on the label is somewhat ambiguous. It’ll have to do though. It’s a refined little bottle with smart shoulders and a slight taper, adorned at the top with a ribbon and a large, tight stopper. The label is low maintenance and respectful.
Much sweeter than the Rebo, I’ve found the Quatra to be very enjoyable and easy drinking. I really feel that extra 5% alcohol does it a lot of favours as it generates intoxicating fumes and a more intense sweetness.
It’s a no-nonsense grappa that ticks all the boxes and gets the job done.


  Il Turina Invecchiata
Presented in a low-key but classic bottle with what I’m going to call a wedding stationery label, this expression is a model of understatement. It features the same bottle insert as the Rebo, and is 45% ABV. I determined quite quickly that it lacked a certain sweetness that I was hoping for. It was enjoyable enough, but quickly found itself sliding down the pecking order and being the grappa that I would drink most frequently because I wanted to make the Quatra last. And also I opened this…

Grappa di Leali MonteAcuto
It turns out that this immaculately packaged delight is the jewel in the crown. If you visit here fairly regularly you might already be aware that I was so impressed with this that I made it one of my three spirits of the year. It is full-bodied, sweet and complex, and well worth that trip off the beaten track, into the back roads of the region.
And so ends our Italian love affair for another year. It’s well worth discovering and pursuing the delights of grappa, but even if it isn’t up your street, and wine is more your thing, a week or two exploring the various regions of Italy, visiting cantinas and wineries, makes for a relaxing and engaging experience.
That’s it for now then. I’ll be back next week, talking about something else. See you then.

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