The real man king of drink

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Grappa — Veneto Secrets

If the birth of the distillation process is still lost among legends of Arabian alchemists, the history says that it is Veneto region that gave origin to Grappa, a unique spirit produced by the pomace, the grape’s skin. Do not confuse it with the Grape Acquavite, that’s a must distillate and Brandy, Cognac or Armagnac, wine distillates.

In the centuries, different parts of Italy have developed a strong tradition in this field, but it is in Bassano, in the province of Vicenza, that the first Italian “grappificio” was born. It is told that the Nardini‘s, from Val di Cembra of Trentino, in the second half of ‘700 during a commercial trip along the River Brenta, was forced to stop in Bassano. Bortolo Nardini, fell in love with this place, and in 1779 decided to buy the Osteria del Ponte, located under Bassano Bridge. Here, he decided to begin to produce grappa, founding what today is the most ancient still up and running distillery.
Veneto is nowadays the first producer of Grappa in Italy.

From the Venetian dialect “graspa”, from “graspo” that means the grape shoot, the grape was traded mainly to heal, as it was produced by doctors and chemists through specific stills. The pomace, after the fermentation was placed in a distiller, powered by a flame; the resulting steam was canalized in a pipe, condensed and then cooled down to reach the liquid state.

From its “peasant” condition, as grappa was mainly produced in the family-run distilleries, in the 70s it boasts popularity, the production was refined choosing raw materials from different wine variety and creating a high-quality artisanal product, nowadays an ambassador of Italian quality in the world.

Why you will love it
Rough taste, a drink for real men, well appreciated by the great Ernest Hemingway, a real grappa lover during its Italian stays.

Where to taste it
On Ponte Vecchio in Bassano for a “Mezzoemezzo”, typical aperitif of the city at the historical Grapperia Nardini: its ancient walls hosted inns since 1200.

The perfect pairing
Chocolate, melt it slowly in the mouth after a generous sip of Grappa.

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