The origins of this brandy are unclear but it is generally accepted that yesteryear’s thrifty peasants were responsible ; they did not wish to see any part of any crop wasted. It is unlikely that it was much of a business proposition and was probably drunk by those who made it and best used to keep the winter chill at bay. The Italians—who refer to it generically as grappa—assert that it was conceived at their hands ; there is evidence of distillation by the Moors in 9th century Salerno and while this is by no means definitive proof it certainly gives credence to the Italian’s claim.
Arguably, until 25–35 years ago, the majorit y of Italian winemakers seemed more interested in quantity than quality. In these instances grapes were crushed with a view to maximise the yield of must, which resulted in oily, almost bitter pomace. Poor quality pomace led to poor quality grappa, which led to this Italian spirit’s crude reputation. For many years now quality has been the goal for most Italian wineries ; wines are now typically from lower vineyard yields, handled more carefully, pressed more gently and frequently are single varieties. The pomace available to the grappa producer today is lighter, more fragrant and aromatic as are the resultant grappas. Additionally, the increased popularity of varietal wines has led to a trend toward varietal grappas.
Acquavit e d’Uva Also known by many brands names, such as Most, Ue, Prime Uve—normally the highest quality and most aromatic spirit produced by each company.
Grappa di Vitigno Grappa of a single grape variety ; most of Italy’s pomace brandies come from the north where good acidity is virtually resulting in better quality distillates. The grapes used are those that prevail in the sub –regions from Piemonte in the north-west to Friuli in the north- east. These include among many others : nebbiolo, moscato, prosecco, pinot grigio, cabernet, merlot and ramandolo.
Other grappas Sometimes presented as the grappa of a special wine region ; e.g. Grappa di Barolo, in this instance the pomace has come entirely from grapes used to make Barolo. Or, grappa with a link to a famous vineyard or wine estate—here the brand name of the estate or the wine is an important indicator of the perceived quality