Grappa classifications and styles

Words by Simon Difford

Grappa classifications and styles image 1

Grappa may be classified according to geographical designation, grape variety and style, indicating any aging period, grape style or flavouring.

The eight recognised geographical Grappa regions are:

1. Grappa di Barolo
2. Grappa Piemontese / Grappa del Piemonte
3. Grappa Trentina / Grappa del Trentino
4. Grappa Friulana / Grappa del Friuli
5. Grappa Veneta / Grappa del Veneto
6. Südtiroler Grappa / Grappa dell'Alto Adige
7. Grappa Siciliana / Grappa di Sicilia
8. Grappa di Marsala

Grappa bottled and labelled with one of the above geographical designations must be made using grapes from the region and be at least 40% alc./vol.. Grappa sold without one of the above geographical designations must be at least 37.5% alc./vol..

A grappa can take the name of a DOCG or DOC wine (Chianti, Amarone etc.) if the marc that it was made from derived from the production of that wine.

Grappa style and age designations are as follows:

1. Grappa Giovane (young) - Grappa with aromas only deriving from the vine and fermentation.
2.Grappa Giovane Aromatica (young aromatic) - similar to above, but obtained from an aromatic or semi-aromatic vine variety such as Moscato, Müller Thurgau, Traminer, Sauvignon etc.
3. Grappa Affinata in Legno (matured in wood) - Grappa matured in wood, but for a shorter period than is required by law for Grappa to be called aged.
4. Grappa Affinata in Legno Aromatica (matured in wood, aromatic) - as above, but made from aromatic or semi-aromatic vines.
5. Grappa Vecchia or Invecchiata (aged) - Grappa which has been aged in wood for at least 12 months.
6. Grappa Riserva or Stravecchia (aged) - Grappa which has been aged in wood for at least 18 months.
7. Grappa Invecchiata Aromatica (aged aromatic) - Grappa made from aromatic or semi-aromatic varieties which has been aged in wood for at least 12 months.
8. Grappa Aromatizzata (flavoured) - Grappa flavoured with plant flavourings such as rue or blackberry.
9. Grappa di vitigno (variety) or Grappa monovitigno (single variety) - Grappa made from a specific and stated grape variety such as the floral Moscato. For a grape variety to be stated, 85% of the raw materials must come from that variety. Two varieties may be stated, as long as they appear in descending order according to their contribution and the least used variety contributes at least 15% of the raw materials.

Further grappa reading on Difford's Guide

Grappa - the Italian marc brandy explained
Grappa based cocktails
Grappa's history
Where does grappa come from & where is it made?
How is Grappa made?
How to store and how to serve grappa

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