Friday, 8 February 2008
Hovering as I am between life and bronchitis-inspired death my brief moments of lucidity are comforted by the Mother of Grappas, the Guvnor, the No. 1, He Who is There When You Need Him Most, Mr Nardini of Bassano. Distilled in the same spot since 1779 using the traditional steam process (whatever that is), this is grappa at its most traditional and reliable. Grappa is made essentially from the bits (stalks, skin) that are left over from the grape after the winemaking process. Nardini is clean as a whistle, it doesn't burn on the way down and kicks in at a healthy, life-giving 50 degrees of alcohol. Yes, there are loads of fancy flavoured grappas in dinky bottles made from single varietal grapes but they are for poofs (not including Renato of course). If you go the the town where they make this stuff, Bassano al Ponte (you can see the bridge on the label), there are bars where some of the good ole' boys are in there first thing in the morning for a grappa sharpener. They resemble some of the locals I remember from the Cider Bar in Newton Abbot. Red-faced and speechless.