Grappa di Brunello Riserva

Foto GrappaFor a number of reasons this is a very special grappa, not least the vintage, 2010 which is considered one of the best ever years in Montalcino for wine. The only ingredient for grappa are the fresh marcs, or pomace (in Italian vinaccia) that are sent to the distillery within twenty four hours of pressing our grapes. The quality of the grapes is preserved in the fragrant vinaccia because we use a hand-operated press for a soft pressing. A great vintage like 2010 yields great vinaccia that in turn have become a wonderful grappa.

The vinaccia must be moist and fresh in order to conserve the best aromas and we are lucky to have one of the best distilleries in Italy almost on our doorstep. If the marcs are stored or get dry they have less fragrance which can then necessitate the addition of artificial aromas. Distilleria Nannoni prides themselves on the absence of silos and the fact that they only work with fresh vinaccia. Obviously they are insanely busy at harvest time since all the distillation has to happen at the same time.

Using copper stills and a discontinuous distillation system, the unpleasant and aggressive “head” and “tail” are manually separated from the delicious aromatic “heart.” This operation, which requires incredible skill and instinct, is performed by Master Distiller Priscilla Occhipinti. It is what determines the style of each single batch of grappa and is an increasingly rare craft. I love this description from the Poli Grappa museum website:

If you have the chance to see a distiller at work, it will be like watching a conductor controlling the high and low notes of the musical instruments, and moving in jerks or slowly amidst the pipes and kettles, to coordinate the general harmony of every part of the symphony.

Priscilla was apprenticed to Giovacchino Nannoni before her sixteenth birthday. With a few years off to complete a degree in Enology and Agronomy she has now been at the helm of Distilleria Nannoni for eighteen years. It has received more gold medals and awards than any other distillery in the world.

After distillation, our grappa spent nearly six years maturing in a single cask, barrel number 428. It went into wood on 9th February 2011 and was extracted on 30th January 2017. Only 542 numbered 500 ml. bottles were produced of this extremely limited edition Grappa di Brunello Riserva.

After 5 years, 11 months and 21 days in wood the color is a beautiful tawny amber. The bouquet is complex and voluptuous with floral notes of roses, followed by cherries and liquorice.

The label was created by Chris Watson, a Scottish artist.