Scotch means Scotland and Tequila means Mexico in the same way in which Grappa means Italy. In fact, it is a particular distillate with remarkable qualities that has been completely developed in Italy. Still today, the grappa that is imported by many countries all over the globe, is produced there. The reason for this is that the Italian climate is particularly favorable for the production of the best grappa.
It is not easy to pinpoint the precise origins of this unique drink. Apparently, in a treatise date 1400, Michele Savonarola described the process of wine distillation in all its different phases. However, according to some sources, the distillation of the winemaking residue, called pomace – the skins, pulp, and seeds of grapes remaining after pressing – used for the production of grappa came into use only two centuries later thanks to Francesco Terzi Lana, a well-known Jesuit from Brescia.
Because of the production techniques and the ingredients used, at the time, the flavor of the grappa was much harsher and drier, and for many people even unpleasant. Thus, noble and wealthy people considered it to be inferior to wine. In the 1700s, the Italian regions that were famous for their grappa production were Piedmont and Veneto. In Piedmont, still today, there is a vast presence of fine quality vineyards used to produce excellent varieties of grappa. While, in Veneto, and more precisely in Bassano del Grappa, there is the famous Nardini distillery, which paved the way for many other distilleries that opened also in Lombardy and Trentino Alto Adige.
Today, there is great attention to the varieties of vines used to make grappa and the production processes are strictly controlled. This ensures that the flavors of grappas currently appreciated around the world are greatly improved compared to the ones of the first grappas produced centuries ago. This is also due to refining processes that require aging the distillate in wood barrels.
Paolo Del Panta