Amarone grappa is a grape pomace distillate. In order to better understand what it is about it is good to specify what is a distillate and what is meant by grape pomace. Distillate, also called brandy, is an alcoholic beverage derived from the distillation of a sugary fermented liquid of vegetable origin (such as cereals, fruits, or wine). The difference between grappa and brandy is to be found in the fact that brandy is obtained by distilling must, whereas grappa is obtained by distilling marc.
Pomace is the skin of the grape including the seeds, however without the stalk (the woody part which connects the berry to the bunch). Sometimes marc is accompanied by residuals of wine or partially fermented must. Pomace is not lees. In practice marc is what is left from a grape, once the pulp has been removed. Lees are the residual after fermentation and they are made of spent yeasts, tartaric acid and impurities of grapes.
Grappa, of any origin, is an exclusively Italian appellation. That is to say it is produced and vinified. Exclusively in our country. Pomace is divided in three different categories:
- fermented obtained by racking red wines
- semi virgin pomace obtained from the racking of rose wines
- virgin obtained by draining white wines (the one used to make white wines).
Grappa, including Amarone grappa, is obtained only from fermented pomace. Therefore virgin and semi virgin pomace must first undergo a fermentation process.
Vineyard, production and sensory profile
Grappa Amarone derives from the distillation of the pomace of the autochthonous red grapes of Valpolicella. These are the same grapes used to produce the refined and full-bodied Amarone della Valpolicella. The pomace from dried grapes, after being gently pressed during vinification, is distilled in an alembic still. The pomace is selected from the dried grapes used to produce Amarone: Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella.
Amarone Grappa is therefore a truly unique product, made thanks to a prestigious blend which gives life to a sublime and famous wine, such as Amarone. The production phases which give life to Grappa Amarone can produce a grappa
- Barricata – Aged in the oak
Grappa Amarone White
Grappa Amarone White is a truly prestigious distillate with a transparent color which reaches an alcohol by volume of 43°. The color is crystal clear, limpid, but the taste is strong and decidedly full-bodied. Bottling takes place immediately after the fermentation of pomace. It is a very ancient product. In the Valpolicella area, in fact, grappa has been produced for thousands of years! It is often used as a coffee corrector, in order to give the beverage a more marked, dry and persistent taste.
Grappa Amarone Barrique
Grappa Barrique is one of the best and most prestigious grappas obtained by distilling the pomace of Amarone. It is aged for two years in oak barrels, called barriques. These are small wooden casks having a capacity ranging from 225 to 228 liters. These barrels are usually used for the aging of wine, both white and red. It is the aging process that shapes the taste of Grappa Amarone Barricata, makes it smooth and round and gives the liquor a wonderful golden color.
Finally, Forlago grappa is obtained by distilling the pomace of the same name. Upstream of its production are exclusively found the pomace of the best vintages and the aging is prolonged for more than 6 years in precious French oak casks. The slow and prolonged aging transforms the taste of this grappa making it particularly smooth and increasing its quality.
Amarone Grappa: distillation and aging
Amarone Grappa is obtained from the distillation of a solid raw material: pomace. From the pomace is extracted the alcohol through a delicate passage of water vapor. The steam is obtained by means of a pressurized boiler, or by placing water under the perforated baskets containing the pomace.
Steam is passed very slowly through every single grape skin. The pressure used is very low, about 0.5 atm. The steam has the task of extracting the alcoholic fraction contained in the pomace. The alcoholic vapor is then condensed in a special tank and the liquid obtained is called phlegm. At this point of the process the alcohol by volume is still pretty low, between 25 and 28%.
After this step the liquid is heated again and distilled in order to concentrate the alcohol. Steam boilers with a rectifying column are usually the most used means for actual distillation.
At the end of the distillation process, Amarone grappa is aged in small wooden casks (usually of the best quality, that is French oak). The duration of aging varies, as we saw in the previous paragraph, according to the product to be obtained.