It was June 2018, and we had zigzagged our way around the cobble stone streets of Rome, the hilly Tuscan towns of Pienza and Montepulciano, the picturesque seaside village of Lacco Ameno in Ischia, the ruins of Pompeii, and, finally, the chaotic city of Naples.
Recommendation: Buy it!
La Paglierina is grappa from Italy. In my opinion there is good grappa and there is bad grappa. Bad grappa, at least in my opinion, has a character that resembles distilled store bought wine. Many moonshiners and distillers are known to buy chardonnay, distill it to extract the alcohol from the wine, and then they call the product of the distillation “grappa”. This is not grappa. This is wine brandy. Grappa is made from distilling the leftovers of the wine making process, not the wine itself. That is, when making grappa, a distiller should distill fermented grape skins, pulp, seeds and stems (called “pomace”) rather than wine. Grappa is now a protected name in the European Union, and it must be: (1) produced in Italy; (2) made of pomace; and (3) water must not be added to the pomace.
Below are my tasting notes of La Paglierina grappa.
The colour is a pale chardonnay. The grappa clings to the sides of the glass when swirled, and forms thin legs that are unevenly dispersed – looking pretty good. Bravo.
Grape bunchstems and seeds, being the aroma of the “pomace”, dominates the bouquet. This is accompanied by the smell of grapes, dried dates, sultana and crystalline sugars.
Bellissimo! The flavor of grape seeds and grape bunchstems immediately hits the palate, with drying woody undertones and some astringency. The palate dries and then sweetens. The taste of whole dried figs then develops and lingers into a long finish.
La Paglierina is a simple and elegant grappa that offers a series of cascading flavours – from woody grape seeds and bunchtems, to a dryness, and then to a delicious dried fig. This is a lovely grappa. It is perfect as a digestive after a big heavy carb rich Italian meal.
Try it with it a platter of softer cheeses, such as brie, buffalo mozzarella or bocconcini, quince paste, dehydrated grapes, dried figs and dates. Be sure to talk unnecessarily loudly and with your hands, to enrich the Italian experience.