Italian grappa brands touch the very spirit of the nation. Each sip unfolds a tale of craftsmanship, tradition, and the rich diversity of flavors.
In this guide, I’ll take you through the following:
- Iconic, artisanal grappa brands to know
- Heritage and legacy brands
- Modern and innovative grappa producers
- Brands popular around the world
- Purchasing Italian grappa with a connoisseur’s taste
- Personally chosen grappas that you must try
- Capovilla is known for exceptional grappas and fruit distillates, rare bain-marie pot still for distillation. Capovilla Grappa Tabacco is their signature Grappa, characterized as elegant and smooth.
- Bonaventura Maschio with their Grappa 903, aged in French oak barrels with delightful notes of ripe peaches and apricots, has over a century of crafting high-quality grappa, emphasizing small-batch production and indigenous grape varieties.
- Distilleria Romano Levi boasts signature products such as Barbaresco, Arneis, Gentile alla Camomilla, and Paglierina, which are handcrafted grappas with unique hand-drawn labels.
- Distilleria Varnelli is the oldest liquor house in Italy, renowned for extensive herbal expertise and a unique range of spirits. Their signature Grappa, Varnelli Anice Secco, is acclaimed for robust and traditional flavors.
Iconic Italian Grappa Brands To Know – Artisanal and Craft Distilleries
In exploring artisanal and craft distilleries, I’ll introduce you to some iconic names that generations of unwavering dedication and craftsmanship have sculpted.
Among these artisanal and craft distilleries, you’ll find:
- Distilleria Romano Levi
- Distilleria Varnelli
- Distilleria Bepi Tosolini
These distilleries are known for their exquisite sipping grappas, often aged in Slavonian oak barrels and offering a delightful array of flavors and aromas.
Below, I briefly explore each of these.
Capovilla emerges as a beacon of artisanal excellence.
Personally, I’ve been captivated by their exceptional grappas and fruit distillates. What clearly sets them apart is their meticulous use of a rare bain-marie pot still – a testament to their commitment to preserving delicate and pure flavors.-Luca
One particular gem in their collection, the Grappa di Amarone legno, holds a special place in my palate’s memory. Its crisp and fresh fruity notes intertwine seamlessly with smooth, refined woody undertones. This symphony of flavors results from its aging process in oak, ash, black locust, and cherry barrels.
Continuing our journey through the realms of exquisite Italian grappa, Bonaventura Maschio takes the stage with a legacy spanning over a century.
This distinguished distillery focuses on the art of small-batch production, showcasing a commitment to tradition and innovation, all while embracing indigenous grape varieties.
Their Grappa 903 offers:
- Barricaded grappa distilled from various pomaces
- Aged in French oak barrels
- Delightful notes of ripe peaches and apricots
- Complex spicy background texture
Distilleria Romano Levi
Master distiller, Romano Levi’s legacy, lives on through the handcrafted grappas produced at his namesake distillery.
Not only are the spirits themselves exceptional, but each bottle features unique, hand-drawn labels, making them sought-after collectibles.
Among their signature products are the Barbaresco, Arneis, Gentile alla Camomilla, and Paglierina, each showcasing the dedication and craftsmanship of this iconic grappa brand.
Distilleria Varnelli proudly holds the title of the oldest liquor house in Italy. Steeped in history, this distillery has become synonymous with unparalleled herbal expertise and a distinctive array of spirits embodying tradition and innovation.
Among their notable creations is the celebrated Varnelli Anice Secco, a grappa demonstrating the distillery’s commitment to robust and traditional flavors.
Personally, I’ve been captivated by the depth and character that unfold with each sip of this exceptional spirit.
However, Distilleria Varnelli is not confined to grappas alone. Their dedication to quality and innovation extends to an array of Italian liqueurs, including the captivating Amaro.
Distilleria Bepi Tosolini
Distilleria Bepi Tosolini is, in my opinion, a prime example of how tradition and innovation coexist harmoniously. Their Sassicaia grappa, aged for four years in barrique and six months in oak barrels, offers a complex blend of flavors and aromas.
On a personal note, the Acquavite Da Most D’Uva from Bepi Tosolini has left an indelible mark on my taste buds. Think of it as a symphony of juicy summer fruits, a delicate interplay of mild spice, and a subtle hint of fresh mint that lingers, creating a harmonious blend that speaks volumes about the artistry of this distinguished distillery.-Luca
Heritage and Legacy Grappa Brands
As we continue our exploration of grappa, we encounter heritage and legacy brands that have shaped the industry for generations. Among these esteemed producers are:
Each of these brands has a storied history and a commitment to excellence, ensuring their grappas remain sought-after treasures for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.
Let’s look at these one by one!
Nonino is a true innovator in the world of grappa, having pioneered single-varietal grappa and grappa aged in barriques.
My favorite from Nonino is their Grappa Nonino Riserva, a testament to their unwavering dedication to quality and innovation.
Aged meticulously in oak barrels, this grappa transcends the ordinary, offering a complex and sophisticated flavor profile that places Nonino in the echelons of greatness within the grappa world.
Poli is a brand that combines traditional and modern techniques in producing their grappas. Their use of copper stills and innovative distillation methods results in a range of grappas that capture the essence of each grape variety.
Among Poli’s distinguished creations, the Poli Po di Poli Morbida Grappa takes center stage – a 100% Moscato marc that transcends the ordinary.
Its aromatic symphony is rich with scents of yellow fruits, pear, and a subtle hint of orange peel, offering a truly unique tasting experience. The tasting notes of this grappa set it apart as a masterpiece, a testament to Poli’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of flavor exploration.
Nardini emerges as an enduring symbol of quality and craftsmanship, with a rich history dating back to 1779. The essence of their legacy is encapsulated in the Acquavite di Vinaccia Bianca, known as white grappa, a testament to their mastery of the grappa craft.
Nardini’s distinctive approach involves a blend of traditional and vacuum distillation techniques, a marriage that results in a purity and clarity of flavor that truly sets them apart. The sweet spice that lingers on the palate is a signature of Nardini’s commitment to crafting grappas that transcend the ordinary.
Berta, a brand with deep roots in the grappa industry, specializes in aged grappas with sophisticated flavors.
Their oak-aged Roccanivo, for example, offers a rich taste profile that exemplifies their commitment to quality and innovation. Berta’s dedication to their craft has earned them a place among the most respected names in the grappa world.
Bocchino is a brand that emphasizes tradition, having been one of the first to age grappa in wood barrels. Their Cantina Privata line includes some aged grappas that showcase the impact of wood aging on grappa’s flavor profile.
What sets Bocchino apart is their unwavering focus on purity and clarity of flavor, making their grappas widely recognized and cherished among enthusiasts and connoisseurs.
Modern and Innovative Grappa Producers
As we further explore the realm of Italian grappa brands, we encounter modern and innovative producers who are redefining the spirit of a new generation. Among these trailblazers are:
- Mazzetti d’Altavilla
- Jacopo Poli
- Distilleria Bottega
These producers are pushing the boundaries of grappa production, introducing new flavors and techniques that will delight newcomers and seasoned aficionados alike.
Marzadro Distillery specializes in grappa made from Trentino grape varieties, offering a unique taste experience. Their Le Diciotto Lune, aged in various wood barrels, is a must-try for anyone looking to explore the world of grappa.
With a hint of cabernet franc, this barrel-aged grappa boasts a complex flavor profile that will please even the most discerning palate.
Sibona is a brand that is not afraid to experiment with different barrels for aging, including those previously used for Madeira and Porto wines. This results in unique flavors in their grappas, such as the Grappa di Barolo, which offers a rich and complex taste.
Sibona’s dedication to innovation and quality has earned them a reputation as a modern and forward-thinking grappa producer.
Mazzetti d’Altavilla offers a range of single-varietal grappas that capture the essence of each grape type. Their 7.0 Grappa Monovitigno series is a great starting point for those new to grappa, offering a variety of flavors and styles to suit any palate.
With a focus on quality and innovation, Mazzetti d’Altavilla is a brand that continues to impress even the most seasoned grappa enthusiasts.
Jacopo Poli is a brand that emphasizes small-batch production, ensuring that each bottle of grappa is crafted with care and attention to detail. Their Sarpa di Poli, known for its floral and slightly herbaceous notes, is a perfect example of their commitment to quality and innovation.
With a focus on craftsmanship and a dedication to producing exceptional grappa, Jacopo Poli is a brand that continues to impress.
Balancing tradition with innovation, Distilleria Bottega produces a range of grappas and grappa-based liqueurs that cater to various tastes. Their Alexander Exquisite, a smooth and refined grappa, is a perfect example of the brand’s commitment to quality and innovation.
Whether you’re a seasoned grappa enthusiast or a curious newcomer, Distilleria Bottega offers a range of products that will delight and impress.
Widely Recognized and Popular Grappa Brands
Beyond the artisanal and innovative brands I’ve discussed so far, there are also widely recognized and popular grappa brands that have earned a place in the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide.
Among these are Bonollo and Gualco, two brands that have gained acclaim for their commitment to quality and their ability to produce exceptional grappa enjoyed by connoisseurs and newcomers alike.
Bonollo, a brand with a long history of producing high-quality grappas, offers a range of products made from various grape pomaces. Their Of Amarone Barrique, aged in Amarone wine barrels, is a standout product that showcases the brand’s commitment to quality and innovation.
With a smooth and refined taste, this fine grappa from Bassano del Grappa is a testament to Bonollo’s dedication to their craft.
Gualco, a brand that emphasizes traditional Piedmontese methods in their grappa production, offers a range of spirits with purity and clarity of flavor.
Their commitment to using the finest ingredients and adhering to time-honored production techniques has earned them a reputation for producing flavorful grappas that are true to their heritage.
The Connoisseur’s Guide to Buying Grappa
When purchasing grappa with a connoisseur’s eye, there are a few factors to consider;
- The Elegance of Aging: First, consider the aging process of the grappa. Aged grappas tend to have a smoother, more complex flavor profile than their unaged counterparts. Look for grappas aged in oak barrels, as this can impart additional flavors and depth to the spirit.
- Grape Variety Symphony: Pay attention to the grape variety used in the grappa. Different grape varieties can produce different flavors, from fruity and floral to nutty and spiced. Single-varietal grappas, such as those made from Nebbiolo grapes, are particularly prized for their ability to showcase the unique characteristics of the grape itself.
- Craftsmanship in Distillation: Consider the techniques used to produce the grappa. Whether it’s double distilled or made using traditional copper stills, the distillation process can significantly impact the final flavor profile of the grappa.
Ultimately, the best way to become a grappa connoisseur is to taste a variety of grappas and develop your own preferences.
Experiment with brands, aging processes, and grape varieties to discover the grappas that truly speak to your palate.
Personal Picks: A Curated Selection of Grappa Favorites
To aid your initiation into the world of grappa, we’ve curated a selection of personal favorites that showcase the range of flavors and styles available.
These grappas have been chosen for their exceptional quality, unique characteristics, and ability to appeal to a wide range of tastes.
Some of our top picks for Italian grappa include:
- Capovilla Grappa Tabacco: elegant and smooth
- Bepi Tosolini Acquavite Da Most D’Uva: smooth and refined
- Sibona Grappa di Barolo: complex and nuanced
- Marzadro Le Diciotto Lune: floral and inviting
Each grappa offers a distinctive tasting experience, providing a glimpse into Italian grappa’s rich and varied world.
In exploring Italian grappa brands, I’ve journeyed through the world of artisanal and craft distilleries, heritage and legacy brands, modern and innovative producers, and widely recognized and popular brands.
I encourage you to dive into the world of this captivating spirit and savor all you can choose.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good Italian grappa?
A good Italian grappa is full-bodied and has pleasant aromas, made from carefully selected grapes and distilled in copper stills. The grappa’s full flavor and complexity will ensure a delightful drinking experience.
How can you tell a good grappa?
You can tell a good grappa by its aroma – it should be fresh and fruity, not oily or reminiscent of a “pet shop.” Additionally, it should be served in a stemmed tulip-shaped glass.
Can I get grappa in the US?
Grappa is available at Flanigan’s Texas Distillery in Bertram, Texas, and through Drizly for other locations in the US. Search for it on Drizly near you to find this unique spirit with smooth, rich flavors.
What factors should be considered when buying grappa?
When purchasing grappa, it is crucial to consider the aging process, grape variety used, and distillation method employed. These factors all contribute significantly to the flavor and quality of the final product.
How does the distillation process influence the final taste of Grappa, and why is it important?
The distillation process, whether double distilled or traditional copper stills, significantly impacts the flavor of Grappa. Understanding these nuances provides insights into the overall character of the spirit, helping enthusiasts refine their preferences.