Grappa is exclusively an Italian product obtained by distillation of the lees of the wine (the fermented skins). Its origins are found in the 16th Century, and Piedmont is one of Italy’s regions with the longest tradition of production. Over time, the production process was modified from simple stills heated over a direct flame to those using steam and a bain-marie (double boiler) process, similar to a Caffey still.
Michele Chiarlo grappa is distilled in small copper stills using a bain-marie steaming process. Relatively slow and costly, these methods produce a gentle grappa which retains the characteristics of the grape varieties from which they’re produced. A fine grappa is critically dependent on the distillation of fresh lees. Michele Chiarlo’s attention to this criterion and the design of the distillation facility allows for the completion of the production process within a few days after the end of fermentation. Superb grapes, extraordinary skill and the meticulous care of Michele Chiarlo’s master distiller yields a very delicate grappa that shows the typicity of the fine grape varieties used to craft it.
About three hundred kilos of must are placed in each small copper still, and worked for only 60 minutes per cycle. The must is distilled to no higher than 70% abv. The grappa is aged in stainless steel tanks for 10-12 months and bottled without undergoing refinement in oak barrels.
This grappa shows delicate floral aromas and balanced, intense flavors of the pomace from Cortese di Gavi grapes.
Usually served neat after dessert.
points of distinction
- Michele Chiarlo’s Cortese di Gavi yields the pomace for distillation
- Small copper stills use a bain-marie for the slow, gentle effect of a double boiler
- The time-consuming, costly distillation method preserves precious youthful and floral grape characteristics
- A smooth, balanced grappa with an earthy, pleasant bitter almond quality
- The traditional method of batch-distillation using small copper stills, though more expensive, lends a more delicate grappa
- Master Distillers with experience and skill in the traditional method of crafting grappa are essential to its success
about the grape +
Cortese produces a crisp, elegant, delicately scented wine. The best examples from the commune of Gavi in Piedmont have crisp acidity, structure and full, round body.
– Michele Chiarlo, Winemaker
“My aim has always been but one: quality.”
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