I am most definitely a wine drinker, with a passion for Zin and California Rhones. Back in the day, I drank my share of hard liquor, mainly Scotch. These days, my harder drinks are pretty much limited to an occasional brandy.
In a previous article, I talked about how much I enjoy the Zinfandels produced by J. Dusi in Paso Robles. Well, the last club shipment included a bottle of Zinfandel Grappa, so I thought I would give it a try.
Here’s what Janell Dusi had to say about it:
“I remember as a small child watching my great grandmother, Caterina Dusi, pour a clear liquid from the most beautiful bottle into her coffee. Out of curiosity, with no one looking, I took a sip… that was the last time I ever sampled anything without asking first (well almost).
I know what many people think… Grappa might as well be 91 octane fuel that you could probably run a vehicle on. Oddly enough, that is what most of us thought drinking our very first cocktail… yet we still choose to order up a vodka on the rocks or whiskey straight up. That didn’t stop us then, why let it now?
A few decades after sneaking a sip, my family and I were enjoying a sunset on the patio of a countryside restaurant in Italy. After our long, leisurely meal, I decided to order a caffè coretto, translates “corrected coffee”. I took a sip………. It took me right back to my great grandmothers kitchen. Years of wonderful memories with her came rushing back. At that very moment, I knew what I had to do. I wanted to produce a beautiful Grappa that was smooth on the tongue and has the distinct bouquet of my family’s vineyard. I wanted to bottle up that memory, so I could go back to that moment in my great grandmother’s kitchen anytime I wanted. When I arrived back home in the states, I got right to work on fulfilling my dream. I found the only double distiller in California, packed up my must (grape skins) and headed North.
Now, I am releasing for the very first time, my passion, my family tradition, my Grappa. I want to share a bottle with you, in hopes that you stumble upon an experience that may be a special one for you. May it create a connection for you… trying Grappa for the first time or seeing it for the first time in a new light.
We all are looking for something new and different, something to share with our friends. Maybe you’ll choose to try it as I did for the first time, or use it in baked goods, winter soups and stews… grab the last few blackberries and strawberries from this summers harvest, soak in the Grappa and serve over vanilla ice cream…. or go hard core with no hesitations – drink it straight up (guaranteed to warm you up on the coldest of winter nights).
Experiment, make it fun, find the enjoyment in letting your inhibitions go once again. Give Grappa a second chance, growing from your experiences, enjoying life to the fullest.”
Having heard a lot of stories about Grappa, I was fully prepared for the rocket fuel aspect of it and could fully understood people being overpowered by this. But what really surprised me were the fruit overtones. I tried it both straight and in coffee, and enjoyed it immensely. I asked Janell about the fruit and this was her response:
“I did a lot of research before making the Grappa and sought out the only double in-line Distillery in North America. Research also stressed the importance of keeping the must of the grapes extremely fresh (something that is hard to come by in Italy). I took the press load of must straight from the press, sealed it off with no oxygen contact and took it to the still. Freshness is key! I believe this is why there is so much fruit essence in the Grappa.”
I am definitely planning to seek out other Grappas, purely for research, of course.
Michael Perlis provides outsourced controller services to businesses that do not need a full-time controller. He balances this with his interest in wine: reading and writing about it and, of course, drinking it. He is still trying to figure out how to combine these two pursuits. Feel free to contact him about either at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.