Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Knight Gabriello Grappa de Chianti (It)
Chocolate Covered Bacon with Nuts
So, normally, I would save the Pear brandy for last, but I really felt like the grappa would go over better after a few drinks. you can't just spring grappa on people, you have to work your way up to it...
So if brandy is uptown, then grappa is definitely downtown. Basically, when grapes are pressed for wine or brandy, there is left over what we call pomace. Pomace is the grape skins, pulp, seeds, stems and whatever is leftover from the first pressing. there is still a lot of flavor there and a fair amount of sugar. What's a farmer to do-throw it away? Of course not. Grappa is the second pressing that is fermented and distilled just like regular brandy. It is not meant to be fancy, although it is very popular now and often costs just as much as a fine brandy. Traditionally the brandy was put in casks to be aged and sold, but the grappa was meant for sharing with family and friends over the long cold winter. It is clear, because it is not usually aged, and of course the flavor isn't softened at all by oak or time.
This Grappa is from Chianti in the Tuscany region of Italy, -the center of the Italian wine world. The aroma was not nearly as rich as some of the earlier tastings, a hint of fruit, strong alcohol. Bottoms up. The flavor was actually softer than I expected, although there was no mistaking this fiery spirit for the rich pear flavor we had just been raving about. The conversation in the room reached a crescendo with a peal of laughter from the loud table (you know who you are...). Many sips of water were taken and although no one declared this their favorite, I didn't hear many complaints either. It's all in the timing. Ok, what do you finish this tasting with? What food is strong enough to be paired with this behemoth but delicious enough to celebrate? Chocolate? Bacon? Yes.
My favorite part of this dish is that Anna made it...
Ok, so salty crisp bacon dipped in silky rich dark chocolate topped with crunchy walnuts. Yes please.
This one really got the crowd going, with some shouted requests to put it on the menu (good idea) and for larger glasses (bad idea...). The bacon tamed the grappa nicely, bringing out some of the fruitiness but not really covering the fire as we swallowed this last selection.
Not to leave anyone with a belly full of brandy and nothing much else, we served a very rich stew of veal and wild mushrooms with crispy ciabatta bread.
A great time had by all, some new information about things we hadn't tasted before and a full belly to take home. Not a bad Friday afternoon. We will be doing more tastings in the near future so don't forget to check the calendar and don't hesitate to call me with comments and suggestions for what you would like to have next.
Thank You All!