I was guilted into attending the Grappa seminar led by Francesco Lafranconi of Southern Wine and Spirits. My experience with Grappa,k like so many others was with what I referred to as “lighter fluid gone rancid”. We used to import some grappas from Ceretto and other producers and as much as I tried to appreciate it (I’ll never like it), I just couldn’t. Francesco explained that producers used to just ship off the pomace to large distilleries and then essentially copacked the grappa for the wineries. The ones in the seminar…Poli and Marolo…are artisanal producers whose only business is grappa. And the results were there…well made, not harsh, aromatic and innovative.

There are five regions in Italy that are allowed to produce Grappa, all in the north. Having just been in Venice, I was particularly interested in Poli’s range because that’s where he’s from (Bassano).