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!
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!
With the trio of clear spirits represented by rum, tequila & grappa it’s more about the interplay of the raw ingredients & distillation process used to bring about a richness of taste in the unaged spirit.
Clear spirit does not mean silent spirit – as this lovely Nardini Grappa Bianca demonstrates.
Nardini are one of the oldest & largest grappa distilleries in Italy where the leftovers from wine production – pomace – is distilled in a combination of copper stills to produce this rich & pungent spirit.
An earthy sweetness greeted me on the nose.
Smooth, oily mouthfeel with a rich, almost agricultural style of flavour going on.