Tag Archives: grappa

Year in Review

You know those dreams you have that you can’t wait to tell everyone about.  The dreams that have intricate details more fascinating to the teller than the listener?  That’s what the Year in Review photos are like on Facebook aren’t they?  I don’t feel that way – but i suspect a lot of people do. Nuts to them – here’s my Pull the Cork Year in Photos

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Ox Patio at the end of winter with a Wellington SPA

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The first signs of spring and i stop drinking potentially dangerous water and tuck into a nice Muga Rosé

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The fine people at Muskoka Brewery helped make a beer tasting out of our micro farm planting  day

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The summer began on Vancouver Island with a lovely white wine grown and bottled by a Canadian Aboriginal group

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Grappa 1-0 Lemoncillo  [bunny ears by my M]

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Um, this Autumnal Stonehammer Dark got some foliage help from my daughters i think

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Of course we made Gin

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and back to Nouveau, where this blog began


Italian 101

Two of my kids are taking Italian in school this year. So i thought i would brush up on my own Italian lessons and investigate the world of grappa [Italian for moonshine].

Grappa is made from grapes – specifically the distillation of skins, seeds, stems, and pulp that is left over after the pressing of the grapes to extract the juice.   Actually, the best white lightning i’ve ever tried was some home-brew prune flavoured grappa.  It’s good to have Italian friends.

I recently obtained a beautifully shaped bottle of Bottega Grappa [$29 LCBO] in order to study the italian language and culture a little more in depth.  I also obtained a bottle of Limoncino, a lemon flavoured digestif that comes in a peculiar flounder shaped bottle [and by peculiar i mean that my daughters exclaimed “awesome” at the sight of it].

The grappa I drank two ways – ice-cold and room temperature.  Ice cold i loved the cool feel on my tongue and the warmth it created on the way down.  However, room temperature is where Bottega’s Grappa shines. The light, floral, taste of the grapes came through in such a delicate manner with a slight honeysuckle sweetness on the finish.  Yikes, this goes down easy!

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The Limoncino was beautiful in the bottle and glass, but nobody on the tasting panel [my wife, brother-in-spain, his wife, or M] developed an affinity to it.  So i served it to my Italian neighbour who has just finished an al fresco meal and she finished it happily.  I guess no matter how much i love Italy, i can’t hide the fact that i’m not Italian.

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We did have fun with the photos for this blog.  Anyone else seen a 31 yr old make bunny ears over a glass of grappa?  Didn’t think so.  We’re not Italian, but we know how to have fun.

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Water of Life

I like my eau-de-vie so good that it performs miracles.  Let me explain. Loosely translated “water of life”, eau-de-vie comes in many forms.  The Italian version is grappa [prune grappa my favourite]. My favourite French version – Armagnac.

Armagnac is the oldest of brandies – more complex than Cognac if you ask me.  Armagnac warms me right in the middle of my soul [well maybe just my chest]. Recently I was sent a sample of a 12 yr old Grand Assemblage from the Darroze family.  This is what they have to say about it …

After 10 years in contact with the oak, Armagnac starts to take on the aromas of ageing. The fruit that is still present, is accompanied by the first aromas of soft spices such as liquorice and cinnamon. Still quite fiery, this eau de vie will become more complex after a few minutes breathing in your glass.

 

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 In the 14th century, Prior Vital Du Four, a Cardinal, claimed it had 40 virtues:

It makes disappear redness and burning of the eyes, and stops them from tearing; it cures hepatitis, sober consumption adhering. It cures gout, cankers, and fistula by ingestion; restores the paralysed member by massage; and heals wounds of the skin by application. It enlivens the spirit, partaken in moderation, recalls the past to memory, renders men joyous, preserves youth and retards senility. And when retained in the mouth, it loosens the tongue and emboldens the wit, if someone timid from time to time himself permits.

Who am I to argue with a Cardinal? Also, a little emboldening of the wit never hurt me.

Most controversially, the traditional French gourmet dish ortolan has traditionally been prepared by force-feeding an Ortolan [wee bird] before drowning it in Armagnac and roasting it. The dish is now legally prohibited due to laws protecting the bird but I am certain the tradition continues.  The French don’t take “Non” for an answer when it comes to food.

Armagnac can be found in your Cognac and Brandy section – but you may need to ask your LCBO or Vintages consultant to bring some in for you if there isn’t any there [yes they do that]. I was pleased to discover that one of my Vintages consultants, Sarah, also loves Armagnac and is planning to bring in another one next September.  Just in time to warm my soul.

Oh, and how cool is this sample? Science meets eau-de vie.   Merci and Danke

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