Maker: Black Star Farms, Traverse City, Michigan, USA
Note: Made using white wine leftovers (skins, pulp, seeds, stems).
Appearance: Clear with big thick legs.
Nose: Fruity and pungent, but not unpleasant. Like a fruity perfume. Ripe pear, table grapes, a hint of fresh cut cedar and lemon grass.
On the palate: Mild but full bodied. Sweet and mildly grapey.
Finish: delicately fruity and woody with more of that cut cedar aroma rolling around the mouth.
Parting words: For those who may not know, grappa is a brandy distilled from a fermentation of the left over byproducts of the wine making process collectively called pomace or marc. Grappa is the Italian word for such a beverage. Other versions of the same thing include marc (French), orujo (Spanish) and tescovină (Romanian). The name grappa is restricted by the European Union to beverages of this type made in Italy, but has no such protection here in the U.S., hence this American grappa.
I haven’t had much grappa (or marc or the like) so the mental sample to which I am comparing this spirit is small. That said, this is very, very good. It’s not nearly as rough and raw tasting as the other grappas I have tasted and has a very pleasant nose that really shines in a Glencairn or Riedel Single Malt glass (I don’t own a grappa glass). It’s delicious chilled or at room temperature before or after a meal or on a hot afternoon.
Black Star Farms makes a wide variety of eaux-de-vie and brandies including a “red grappa” which is not actually red but made from red wine leftovers. It is also quite good, but the white has a very appealing perfumed nose, no doubt a reflection of the Riesling, Pinot Gris and other aromatic white wine grape varieties that lent their unused bits to the this spirit.
Spirit of the Vineyard Michigan White Grappa is highly recommended.
For further reading: https://sipologyblog.com/2011/07/08/a-visit-to-black-star-farms/