About Italian SPIRITS

Any discussion of spirits in Italy must begin with grappa, a powerful product distilled from left over grape skins and seeds that is produced all over the country. While the basic grappas can be rough and fiery, there are a handful of firms, especially in the north, that craft refined, artisanal versions that offer more delicate aromas and subtle flavors. Often packaged in strikingly-designed glass and crystal bottles, many of these dazzling products have now taken their rightful place alongside designer spirits at glamorous bars in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Amaro, a digestif, is a popular liqueur, made everywhere in Italy; each version is produced from a special recipe of herbs and spices. These tend to be dry, with some being slightly bitter.

Finally, two other Italian spirits that have become quite popular in America include Amaretto, a sweet liqueur made from almonds, and Sambuca, a dry spirit made from anise seed.
Top Picks for Italy
208408
La Trentina
Morbida Grappa
Pale golden yellow color. Rich aromas and flavors of peach cobbler and apricot cookie with a satiny, lively, fruity sweet medium body and a warming, subtle, very long finish with suggestions of jasmine tea, honeyed nuts, bubblegum dust, and pink pepper with light oak. An amazingly vibrant and delicious grappa of the highest order.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213077
Pisoni
Grappa Stravecchia
Clear gold color. Bright, fruity aromas and flavors of raisins bread pudding, cinnamon and brown spices, suede, and spicy jasmine chai with a soft, crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-long nougat, custard, and spiced fruits finish. A superbly flavorful and balanced grappa with an elegant style.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213075
Bonollo
Grappa of Amarone Barrique
Clear bright golden amber color. Lively, attractive aromas of suede, dried stone fruits, chocolate nuts, and spicy rye bread and maple sap with a satiny, crisp, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, long vanilla cola, straw mat, mint cream, and limestone finish. A spicy, earthy, well aged grappa that will conclude a meal nicely.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
208407
Le Giare
Gew├╝rztraminer Grappa
Golden yellow color. Lively aromas and flavors of spice cake, fruit salad, suede, and peony with a silky, bright, off-dry light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length finish with elements of potpourri, cherry bubblegum, minerals, and cedar with light oak. A very tasty and stylish grappa.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
208514
Moletto
Grappa di Moscato
Clear color. Bright aromas and flavors of raisin bread, figs, and dusty nuts with a lively, off-dry medium-to-full body and a delightful, long finish with elements of peppery spices, anise, mint, and potpourri. A delicious and vibrant grappa for all occasions.
92 points $32.99
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
208405
Le Diciotto Lune
Stravecchia Grappa
Golden amber color. Attractive aromas and flavors of peach danish, chocolate creme brulee, sassafras, and cola with a bright, fruity sweet medium body and a delightful, medium-long finish with impressions of delicate brown spices, nougat, and pepper with moderate oak. A smooth, creamy, very well aged grappa.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
208406
Le Giare
Amarone Grappa
Deep amber color. Lively aromas and flavors of toasty nut brittle, safflower date bread, and suede with a supple, bright, fruity medium body and a tingling, complex, medium-length finish with notes of praline, dried peach, minerals, and bubblegum spice. A tasty well aged grappa for mellow sipping.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
213078
Pisoni
Grappa Chardonnay
Bright clear color. Mild, earthy, floral oily vegetal aromas of dried grapes and peaches, oiled leather, pepper, and green peppercorn with a satiny, bright, off-dry light-to-medium body and a warming, refreshing, crisp powdered honey, cream, chalk, and fuel-like minerals finish. A clean, well balanced grappa.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab