Saluting Grappa

Today Italian families live by the rule that no meal is complete without a glass of grappa. Credited for popularising this tradition is Giannola Nonino who saw the potential of grape remains as a way of using the grape skins after the juice has been extracted for wine making. She insisted that grappa is served at high-profile government and commercial get-togethers in Italy.

Closer to home the Dalla Cia family realised a lifetime dream when they established the first Italian grappa distillery in Africa which is now based at Bosman’s Crossing, Stellenbosch. With this they continued the work started in Friuli, Italy, by Giorgio’s father, Vittorio, in 1923 and are taking it to the third generation with son George’s contribution to grappa making and ingenious marketing.

Giorgio Dalla Cia is well known for the wines he made at Meerlust for 25 years, specifically for the Meerlust Rubicon.  Witnessing the mountains of grape skins generated after each harvest was power for the grappa cause.  Today he is all about grappa.

George & Giorgio Dalla Cia -  all about grappa
George & Giorgio Dalla Cia – all about grappa

Dalla Cia senior observed an increase in South Africans taking to the Italian culture of having an espresso with grappa. His family is partially responsible for this continental refinement with their prominence in the market and production of four quality grappas. Their latest invention – Corretto Grappa – is a small envelope of 5ml grappa that is snapped and poured into an espresso to “correct” the coffee. The small sachet makes it easy to enjoy grappa anywhere.

During the Hermanus FynArts Wine Plus Series the father-son team presented their grappas with that of Wilderer, Nonino and Ruta and shared the following grappa facts:

  • A young grappa is colourless
  • Grappa & coffee is a very effective digestive
  • Add grappa to chocolate or vanilla ice-cream for an easy yet pleasant dessert
  • If grappa is sweet on the taste it is usually covering up a flaw
  • Add a drop of water to grappa to bring out the flavours
  • The longer the after-taste or mouthfeel, the better the grappa
  • Quality grapes makes quality grappa

As we love most things Italian why not try to correct your next coffee with a bit of grappa?

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