Aosta Valley and its legendary grappa
But why is Valdostan grappa so good? The cool autumn climate and late harvests favour the preservation of the marc.
Grappas can be white, aged in oak barrels or, as is often the case in the homes of Aosta Valley inhabitants, flavoured with herbs, fruits, honey and spices.
With its subtle aroma and dry taste, the procedure for making grappa resembles a ritual and is linked to family traditions handed down from generation to generation, as are the tools of the trade, which are often very old.
A special regional regulation also authorises, within certain limits, the distillation of marc for family consumption. Added to this is company production, which has allowed the range to be expanded while still respecting the old-fashioned methods that give the distillate a unique flavour and authenticity.
From Saint-Marcel to Quart: everyone has their own way
For example, the small mountain distillery La Valdôtaine in Saint-Marcel uses ancient, handcrafted copper stills with discontinuous breathing to distil small quantities of unique spirits, made inimitable by the mineral-rich waters of the Acqueverdi spring, which cascade down the valley from the mountains to the distillery.
In Saint-Vincent you’ll also find Distilleria Cortese, famous for its grappas that are delicate on the palate.
The Alpe di Hône distillery in lower Aosta Valley instead produces grappa of the same name with the perfect balance of intense aroma and soft taste, and the Grappa Gran Riserva aged for a long time in small Slavonian oak barrels.
The Saint Roch distilleries in Quart, in the heart of the region, produce the historic Grappa St Orso named after the great saint and the famous old village of Aosta, which houses the church of the same name. This grappa recalls the fragrances of tradition, the sweetness of Aosta Valley grapes and the aromas of mountain landscapes.
The distilleries are open to the public Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 12.00pm and from 1.30pm to 5.30pm, an opportunity to discover all the secrets of the famous distillates and visit the ancient Borgo di Sant'Orso.