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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

March 30, 2014


The quest for malternatives,
today aged grappa

I do enjoy good grappa, but I believe grappa doesn’t quite fit Whiskyfun, unless it was aged in wood. Let’s try a small bunch today, we won’t do that often. By the way, grappa is distilled from spent grapes, just like marc in France. When it’s aged, it’s called ‘invecchiate’.

Torquadra 'Gran Riserva' (40%, OB, aged grappa, Italy, +/-2013)

Torquadra 'Gran Riserva' (40%, OB, aged grappa, Italy, +/-2013) Two stars and a half This one comes from Trentino and is distilled from Amarone grapes. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s quite aromatic, very grapey of course, and not very far from marc de Bourgogne, except that it’s a little less ‘rough’ than marc de Bourgogne. Grappa caries over the characteristics of the grapes, so this is rather less ‘wham-bam’ than, say Muscat or gewürztraminer. I also get a little vanilla from the wood but that’s all quite discreet, the distillate remains the king here. Mouth: very fruity, balanced, smooth, honeyed and most enjoyable. Creamy mouth feel. It’s not complicated spirit and we’re staying close to the grape again. Also touches of pineapples, perhaps? Finish: a little short but clean and delicately honeyed. Comments: the strength’s a little too low, and this is extremely easy, almost liqueury. So no big beast, but it’s, well, pleasant enough. SGP:730 - around 78 points.

Bepi Tosolini 'Grappa di Tocai' (40%, OB, aged grappa, Italy, castagno barrique, +/-2013)

Bepi Tosolini 'Grappa di Tocai' (40%, OB, aged grappa, Italy, castagno barrique, +/-2013) I think tocai means friulano rather than pinot grigio – while in Alsace, tokay was pinot gris aka pinot grigio. This grappa was aged in chestnut wood, which was also used for wine quite some time ago. Some say old chestnut casks are still to be seen here and there in Scotland, but I have never seen any myself. Colour: dark gold. Nose: extremely far from the Torquadra, this is much more complex, with many more spices and roundness from the wood. I find touches of ginger, some nutmeg for sure, lovely touches of rye (yes) and quite some cranberries and pomegranates. So this isn’t grapey as such, we’re much closer to malt whisky, in a way. Mouth: much sweeter than expected but the spiciness and the notes of flowers do remain. Actually too sweet for my taste, you almost feel sugar in there (did they add any?) Again, touches of rye, a little lavender (sweets) and even a violety side, but there aren’t any soapy notes. Drops of tequila. Finish: medium length, extremely sweet. Comments: I really liked the nose a lot but I think the palate is much too sugary, almost cloying. SGP:820 - around 68 points.

De Negri 'Barrique' (42%, OB, aged grappa, Italy, +/-2013)

De Negri 'Barrique' (42%, OB, aged grappa, Italy, +/-2013) Two stars De Negri are located in Veneto, near Treviso. Colour: white wine. Nose: something very different again, this time we’re more on herbs and very, very obvious notes of tea leaves. It’s just like opening a large box of black tea in a tea shop! I also find a little jasmine and even wisteria, then milk chocolate. Interesting and quite lovely… Mouth: sure it’s another very sweet one but this time it’s all rather better balanced, thanks to a kind of smoky grassiness. A little honey, orange liqueurs, touches of ginger and pepper… Finish: medium length, with even more pepper and ginger. That’s welcome, otherwise I fear we’d have had another cloying finish. Comments: a fine grappa despite the big sweetness. SGP:741 – around 75 points.

Maybe we should do what we usually do with whisky when I’m not too happy with a flight, that is to say resort to older bottlings…

Bosso 'Grappa di Moscato' 10 yo 1969 (45%, OB, aged grappa, +/-1980)

Bosso 'Grappa di Moscato' 10 yo 1969 (45%, OB, aged grappa, +/-1980) Four stars This antique grappa was aged in small oak casks for ten years. Colour: white wine. Nose: the colour suggested the casks were almost inactive, which is best with these kinds of distillate in my opinion. As far as quality’s concerned, this is another league, but maybe OBE is the guilty party here. What’s sure is that this is a much zestier grappa, much more elegant and pure, with wonderful notes of dry white wine (instead of just grapes), lime, pink grapefruit and red currants. Love this very fresh and clean nose! They said it was oak but it felt like more passive wood, such as beech. Mouth: oh sweet Jesus, Maria and Joseph, this is just perfect, chiselled rock crystal, fantastically fruity without any plain sweetness, with some Muscat for sure but nothing too sluttish. Exactly the opposite, in fact. The lime is back too. Finish: possibly the weaker part, it’s slightly sluggish and sugary to me. A grassier aftertaste, though. Comments: just another planet. I’ll have to check Bosso’s newer offerings in the coming... years. SGP:640 - around 87 points.

Some more please!…

Bosso 'Riserva Speciale' 1967 (45%, OB, aged grappa, +/-1980?) Two stars and a half Colour: white wine. Nose: another beautiful one, quite different from the 1969. I don’t think this is Muscat in the first place. Wonderful whiffs of fresh parsley and dill, some lovage too, a little nutmeg, chives, lemon… It’s very complex. Very high quality grappa for sure. There’s even a kind of smoke. Mouth: it’s a rawer one, rawer than all the others, maybe they kept the stalks or a part of them. So it’s pretty grassy, almondy as well, with notes of walnuts, grapefruits and, again, grass. Feels more ‘artisan’, not obligatorily in a very good way. Finish: quite long, grassy, a little acrid. And yet there’s some sugar. Comments: I’m very fond of the nose, the palate being less interesting. Too ‘green’, maybe. SGP:561 - around 79 points.

Next grappa session planned for April 16, 2033. Stay tuned.
(With many thanks to Carsten)







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