I was looking for Grappa in Lucca – Italy’s national spirit – & found a couple of bottles in a trendy, well stocked cocktail bar by the name of Screwdriver handily situated on the main Piazza San Michelle.
The first one I tried had a very stylish bottle with Dici Otto Lune emblazoned on the front. This translates into eighteen moons – the usual time a ‘stravecchia’ grappa has to be aged in wood to earn the title.
This grappa enticed with a lovely rich agricultural, earthy kind of nose.
A silky smooth & velvety mouthfeel gave off a touch of tannic spice.
The finish had me stumped a little. It was both drying yet lovely & juicy all at the same time!
A very well cultured grappa!
The next one was a different kind of beast!
Grappa Del LVPO was presented clear & colourless.
Extremely aromatic on the nose displaying a more earthy & vegetal feeling.
Gorgeously oily on the palate – with a healthy bite from the wolf too!
A very entertaining drinking experience!
So much so I had another Grappa del LVPO when my friends caught up with me!
The amusing title drew me in & has opened up the amazing world waves – be they sound, light or even taste! – have on our everyday lives.
It all boils down to vibrations – more specifically the frequencies they operate at – & the ‘good vibes’ they give us.
I never thought of taste – as in smells – having a vibration, but it turns out there’s a row going on in the olfactory world about how we perceive smell.
One tribe – the Chemical Group – posit smells are unlocked by the shape of the odour molecule fitting specific receptors – as pertinent to whiskey tasting.
The other – Vibration Group – posit all molecules vibrate & it’s this the receptors pick up on.
I like the sound of the Vibration Group myself.
Often when talking about whiskey we experience ‘notes’. Turns out those ‘notes’ might have far more in common with music than we imagined!
Music can be experienced both physically & emotionally as a result of the vibrations – or frequencies – made by those performing the piece or hearing it through speakers.
Whiskey – it seems- can also be experienced in a similar fashion.
All of this only reinforces my belief that whiskey tasting is an intensely personal experience. What one person ‘gets’ from a whiskey might be an entirely different experience to anothers.
When in Italy recently I didn’t join the rest of my group listening to opera as it simply doesn’t connect with me. Similarly they didn’t join me in the delights of grappa. Yet we all enjoyed a beer listening to jazz in the outdoors!
So when you do find a piece of music – or whiskey – that moves you – you’ll know.
It’s the ‘good vibrations’ – and don’t let anyone put you off your vibes!
It wasn’t just Grappa I indulged in while in Italy – I also partook of a spot of beer drinking.
Beer drinking – specifically craft beer – is a minority pastime in Italy where the drink of choice is usually wine. However, there is a craft brewery operating in Lucca by the name of Brúton & a cafe in the central square happened to serve Stoner – their strong golden ale – or ‘double malt’ as the waiter said.
It was grand sitting there watching the world go by on a sunny afternoon enjoying the brew – but it didn’t win me over. Perhaps I’ve just been spoilt with all the great beers near to me in the Heart of Ireland?
Undeterred a daytrip to Pisa to climb the tower – well I had to do something touristy – found us later savouring a very tasty meal washed down by a rather unusually named lager from Sardinia.
Turns out Ichnusa is part of the Heineken group but possessed a more malty taste than their self-titled lager.
There is an Italian Craft Beer hostelry in Lucca by the name of De Cervesia & we ended up in one of their 2 establishments later that evening.
I did try their interpretation of a Scotch Ale called Momus – but it didn’t bring back memories of imbibing 70 Shillings in Edinburgh all those years ago.
At De Cervesia’s other venue a Real Lager was tried.
Followed by a Gose from Rome which certainly hit the spot!
A fresh sourness interspersed with soft tingling spice.
De Cervesia have around 300 different Italian beers in stock & this one just hit my sweet spot!
A trip to the windy beach in Viareggio offered up a rather generic lager by the name of Menabrea.
And a cafe stop had the intriguingly named Ceres Strong Ale which tasted fine – but is actually a Danish offering!
My last beer in Lucca happened to be Brúton’s Golden Ale.
Which went down very well on out last afternoon of the trip.
I did an internet search for Grappa in Lucca before travelling & one of the few things that came up was this Gelato Shop.
Handily situated near our accommodation close to Porta Elisa on the old walls made for a short excursion to enjoy some freshly made ice cream.
Housed in a bright, airy & colourful building with shaded outdoor seating we were warmly welcomed to a bewildering array of tasty gelato flavours to choose from. They do infuse grappa into the ice cream – but it’s a seasonal offering & wasn’t on the menu for our visit.
Nonetheless we all enjoyed our very flavourful selections sitting in the quiet courtyard.
Unexpectedly the server offered us a small taster of grappa to savour!
A relatively soft, mellow aroma of sweet fruitiness & hints of nuttiness greeted me.
A silky mouthfeel topped off with a gentle tannic spice rounded the experience up.
Turns out Pappagrappa market their own grappa in both aged & clear varieties!
A lovely little touch.
Luckily we promised to return before flying home as we were rewarded with a cioccolato e grappa gelato!