The Mother-Load: Clos Pepe Grappa

When I’m in for the night with my husband, we often split a bottle of wine on our front porch at 5 PM Wine Time with just enough in our glasses to carry through our dinner.  Fast forward a couple of hours later, we might be watching a movie with our daughter and my husband may be hankering for a glass of single malt scotch.

But I’m thinking, whoa, don’t want to mix my booze.  So my go-to after wine and dinner drink, also used as a digestif, is Grappa.

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  Wine is just fermented grapes and Grappa is brandy made from wines’ leftovers, specifically the pomace (pressed skins and seeds of grapes).

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Clos Pepe Estate 2012 GrappaTo be clear, I know that I am mixing wine with a spirit…but so far I have been able to fool myself and haven’t woken up with a hangover yet!

I like the nutty quality, rich mouthful and length that is delivered in a two-ounce pour, and then I’m done for the evening.

I had several Grappa samples during a recent Italian wine tasting event, and there wasn’t one I didn’t appreciate.   Before that I had a “contraband” bottle, distilled by a pal who shall (obviously) remain nameless.  I was able to milk that bottle for a year.

Then, the mother-load hit.  At a local Clos Pepe house party hosted by winemaker and vineyard manager Wes Hagen, he introduced his new Grappa.  I was already a club member and expected to take home some wine that night.  Lucky for me he sold out of all of his signature Pinot Noirs – every vintage he brought I think – so I purchased a two-year two-bottle supply of the new Grappa.

In my glass, and leftovers from a few pals, I got an amazing number of aromas: hazelnut, anise, toasted (sesame?) oil, cream, golden raisins and buttered toast.  Very balanced in mouth, only a slight alcohol burn – making it very pleasant to sip and linger over – with a long finish, resonating of toasted hazelnuts.

As I sipped and jotted down my tasting notes, I also heard just a couple of new, what I call,  Wes Hagen Zingers in which he can deliver a lot of information, or something very funny, in one sentence or less. (This is the link to the story of his Zingers that I was able to audio record this past February.)

“Wine is like a wet nap for the mouth.”

“Old wine should be complex, young wine should be a fruity ‘pleasure’ wine.”

“Hope you enjoyed your journey through Clos Pepe.”

Now, back to me and those that want to get their own Grappa, go to: