Seeing as grappa doesn't have a D.O.P. attached to it, I was wondering are there any grappa producers outside of Italy?
What I am ultimately wondering is, are there any grappa producers in the Niagara region in Ontario?
Seeing as grappa is usually just made from left overs, I figured there would be a producer or two, but couldn't find anything.
I did a quick search and found at least one American made grappa, so they do exist outside Italy.
However, this site reports some trade dispute between the EU and South Africa on the name "grappa". Maybe some of the US and Canadian distillers label their product as pomace brandy or grape marc spirits?
I know of at least one basement operation out this way that I had the displeasure of trying. Honestly, this was nothing but moonshine in a big old jug. It was later turned into limoncelo by the in-laws.
A few of the wineries up here in Northern California make their own grappa, but they don't call it that, instead they usually give it some clever sort of moniker related to the winery or its owners. A lot of the winemakers here are of Italian descent and they all seem to have a family recipe. Some of it is not bad at all, and some is horrid. Some they don't even sell but will let you try it if you are there for a tasting.
They are in the finger lakes area. I bought a bottle of their limoncello and it was wonderful. I tasted their grappa and while I did not buy a bottle I have had worse italian grappas. I may be mistaken but I believe they are the only winery in NY State that has a distillery license.
I wonder of it is really made by the same process, namely steam distillation. The steam breaks down the cell walls of the fruit, yielding the bouquet, and to a lesser extent, taste that is undeniably that of the fruit, even in the cheapest Italian Grappa. If one is careful of temperature control, 80 degrees C at the top of the column, then the smoothness or roughness is entirely a matter of making sure there are no heads or tails in the finished product.
BTW, there are some very fine aged grappas in Italy, but I haven't seen any here.
They are based in Oregon. I have not had their grappa but I recently bought a bottle of their small batch single malt "scotch" McCarthy's whiskey. The nose is medicinal but the whiskey is very smooth. If their grappa is half as good, my guess is, it would be great.
As as already been mentioned, Clear Creek -- http://clearcreekdistillery.com/grapp... -- produces grappas in Oregon, specifically Grappa Moscato, Grappa of Oregon Pinot Noir, Grappa of Pinot Grigio, and Marc de Gewürztraminer (Marc being the French equivalent to Italian Grappa). They also produce two grappas for Cavatappi from Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, respectively.
On the island of Alameda, in the San Francisco Bay Area, St. George Spirits -- http://www.stgeorgespirits.com/ -- has long made grappa from Zinfandel, though in the past they also made it from other varieties. But with all of the Hangar One Vodka, eaux-de-vie, whiskey and liqueur they produce, it appears they've reduced their Grappa line solely to Zinfandel.
In Mendocino Co., California, besides producing some EXCELLENT brandies, Germain-Robin -- http://www.germain-robin.com/ -- also makes 100 percent varietal Grappa from Zinfandel, Merlot, and Syrah, respectively.
All of the above are quite good.
I have not tried it, but Empire Winery & Distillery -- http://www.empirewineryanddistillery.... -- in Florida makes a "Grappa Di Muscatto" [sic].
Iowa is the home of Cedar Ridge Vineyards, Winery & Distillery -- http://www.crwine.com/ -- which produces a product simply labeled "Cedar Ridge Grappa." I presume (but do not know) they use the pomace from the wines they make, which would mean it's made from both Vitis vinifera grapes and French-American hybrids, but do not know for sure.
The same goes for the Knapp Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York and their Grappa, as reported above. http://www.knappwine.com/knappwinery/...
Bonny Doon Vineyard USED to make several different kinds of grappa, but they have ceased production. That said, you may be able to find some both at retail and in some restaurants.
There are probably more, but these are all I know of. . . .
I just HAD to say something here.... wanted to second zin on the Germain-Robbin. Germain Robbin makes several grappas from single-variety grapes, and they are all exceptional (i keep a sufficient amount on hand to keep me warm through the new england winters here in NH). I would easily compare and contrast them with the best (as in AB) grappas from Italy. Please do yourself a favor and find and try at least one. As a side note: G-R also makes an excellent brandy thats labeled simply as XO.
I was just on the Chautaqua Wine Trail up in Western NY this past week. Mazza Vineyards near Lake Chautaqua had two kinds of grappa; it is about 1.5 hours from Niagara. As it was my first experience with grappa, I am not sure how to properly assess it.
There are also some excellent and very reasonably priced Portuguese aguardente bagaceira which is the same as grappa. They are available throughout New England.