Castello Di Barbaresco 1981 Nebbiolo D’alba Grappa 50%

Nose: After a moment of rest to let the first hit of paint thinner vibe settle, this grappa comes to life with a rich sweet, spicy earthy vibe. There is a smell to historical homes and castles that I find somewhat unique. Dust and dry decay, heavily used wool tapestry, and dry wood. Black and green peppercorn, olive brine, and lemon zest. While I find this somewhat enticing, my son who loves the smell of most of my modern whisky and heavy rums, had to leave the room. “This smells like medicine dad”.

Palate: Far more gentle and nuanced than I expected. Even at 50% this warms without burning, and then explodes with a fantastic tartness. Lemon pith and radishes aged in white vinegar. Ginger. Fresh english cucumber and capers. The warmth of cloves and cedar. Grape skins. There is a lot more still, but I feel like I’m missing some of the vocabulary to describe the palate.

Rating: 6 / 10 – This is the second grappa I’ve ever tried, so I’d take this rating with a grain of salt. The first felt like someone had tortured and broken a grape on the rack. This is a completely different experience and I’m delighted to have this bottle. Full of character without melting the fillings out of my mouth.