Grappa (or as we love to call it here in Devon, Dappa) is one of those enigmatic spirits nobody quite understands. What’s the difference between grappa and grape vodka? How is grappa any different to grape brandy? And what the heck is acquavita – is it the same as grappa?
These are all good questions, and we’d like to take this opportunity to set the record straight…
Of all the comparisons made between grappa and other spirits, acquavite is the only one that can be used with any accuracy. Essentially, the term ‘acquavite’ is synonymous with ‘distillate’, and is a generic term that can be used to describe anything that is created through the process of distillation.
When using the term, it’s necessary to specify what was used to distil the liquid. Grappa, for instance, can be described as an acquavite made from grape pomace; rum an acquavite made from sugarcane; brandy as one made from wine; whisky as one made from grain; vodka as one made from potatoes, and so on.
In short, acquavite can be grappa, but it can also be any other spirit that has been through the distillation process.
While both grape brandy and grappa are created through the distillation of fermented grapes, left over after the winemaking process is complete, grappa is distilled from the pomace (a mulch of skins and seeds), while grape brandy is distilled from both the pomace and any remaining liquid.
This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it makes a huge difference in the taste.
By using both the solid and liquid remnants of wine grape brandy is essentially the middle ground between grappa, which is made from solid raw material (pomace), and wine brandy, which is distilled from liquid raw material (wine).
As a result, grappa has a far more intense and structured flavour than grape brandy, which tends to be lighter and more fruity.
There are a couple of differences between grape vodka and grappa. For starters, vodka is far stronger than a lot of grappa, being at least 95% alcohol. While grappa can be this strong, its strength varies considerably.
Aside from this, the major difference is that vodka is purposefully distilled or treated (usually with charcoal) to ensure it is odourless, colourless, and tasteless, in that it doesn’t carry the flavour of the material from which it was made.
Grappa, on the other hand, has a distinct taste that carries the fruity tones and subtle flavours of the pomace from which it was distilled. It can also be finished with additional ingredients to add extra layers to the flavour.
What’s your favourite tipple? We’re very partial to a nice glass of Dappa, but we may be biassed. If you haven’t already, grab a bottle of the good stuff and let us know what you think…