Thursday, November 01, 2012

Harvest Spirits Grappa A Unique Product from a Unique Partnership (NY)

Derek and Ashley Grout have made Harvest Spirits one of the best stories in distilling in the Hudson Valley and in the northeast. With key drivers like Core Vodka and Cornelius Applejack their brand has traveled to numerous states throughout the country.
One of their funnest new products from the recent past was Hudson Valley Grappa.
Grappa is an alcoholic beverage, a fragrant, grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin that contains 35%–60% alcohol by volume (70 to 120 US proof). It is similar to Spanish orujo, French marc, Georgian chacha, Portuguese bagaceira, Greek tsipouro, Hungarian Törkölypálinka, Bulgarian ракия (rakia), Serbian, Croatian (in Istria: rakija and grappa), Romanian tescovină, Albanian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, Turkish rakı and Macedonian ракија.
In Italy, grappa is primarily served as a digestivo or after-dinner drink. Its main purpose was to aid in the digestion of heavy meals. Grappa may also be added to espresso coffee to create a caffè corretto, meaning "corrected coffee". Another variation of this is the ammazzacaffè ("coffee-killer"): the espresso is drunk first, followed by a few ounces of grappa served in its own glass. In Veneto, there is resentin ("little rinser"): after finishing a cup of espresso with sugar, a few drops of grappa are poured into the nearly empty cup, swirled and drunk down in one sip.

Most grappa is clear, indicating it is an unaged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow, or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are stored.
At 40% AbV this elixir from Harvest Spirits packs a whollop. This grappa is made from the left over grape pressings of our local winery, Hudson Chatham Winery. A blend of Bacco Noir and Seval Blanc grapes are made into a crude wine and distilled twice. An assertive mid-palate eases to a warm finish of Thompson raisins and toffee. Pefect after a heavy meal.
This is a great story because it is a great partnering between a Hudson Valley distiller and a Hudson Valley winery. The two are located not far from one another along Route 9, and are on the same beverage trail, the Hudson Berkshire Beverage Trail.
Derek is considered one of the cutting edge distillers in the valley. Hudson-Chatham is a small but accomplished winery with a number of medals to their credit and an accomplished wine maker in Steve Casscles.
This is a great new grappa, and a unique product. Grappa is not all that common in the north east, which is why this is so unique. And the partnership makes it that much more compelling.

Congrats to Derek and Ashley on a fantastic product!