European Pomace Brandy Tour Part I...

After the sheer excitement of the two European brandies I tasted yesterday here on the blog I really got carried away and dug even deeper into my sample boxes to find more oddities. In the end I managed to pull out four pomace brandy samples which I will start to taste today and post in two consecutive posts...

Sibona Grappa di Barbera (42.0%): This Grappa is distilled exclusively from the leftovers of wines made from Barbera grapes which are the most planted grape variety of Italy's Piedmont region. They are known for delivering dark, and herbal wines with anise, dark berry and dark cherry notes. Although it is not a widely applied practice for Grappa this expression is matured in oak casks for an additional 18 months after its standard resting period in stainless steel tanks.

Color: Pale yellow, straw-like with oily slow moving legs.

Nose: Oh, boy... Preserved grape leaves, farm soil and wet gravel. Bruised grapes, unlit matches and flint. Sauteed kale, fava beans and fresh dill. It's earthy, vegetal and mineral.

Palate: Thin in texture... Collard greens, beef stew and touch of sulphur. Green coffee beans and raw almonds. Green pine wood, pine cones and rosemary stalks. Tarragon and aged aquavit.

Finish: Long and a little sweet with fresh green herbs, sap and wood.

Overall: Those 18 months in the cask really mellowed out this brandy. It is all rounded and very easy to drink. Any primary sharp and pomace driven notes dominant on the nose are blended so well with cask driven secondary notes on the palate to create a much pleasing palate. I would like to taste their unaged version as well actually because the nose was to die for but the palate was a little too tamed for my taste... I also would like to see it at a slightly higher abv just to give to the texture a little oomph. Still a very charming grappa...

Price: €20 (50cl bottle)


J. Nusbaumer Marc d'Alsace Eau-de-Vie de Gewurztraminer (45.0%): Now a Marc from one of my favorite wine regions and distilled from the leftovers of one of my favorite white grape varieties. It is distilled from pomace of Gewurztraminer grapes grown, harvested and used in winemaking in Alsace. Unlike Grappa di Barbera I tasted above this brandy is not aged in oak vessels which is also uncommon for Marcs in general.

Color: Clear with very faint and fast legs around the glass.

Nose: Glossy magazines from 1960s, wet cardboard boxes and black gardening soil. Cellar mold, petrol and plastic containers. Sauteed greens, fresh tarragon and bouncy balls.

Palate: Very perfumy and thin... Less green and more floral than what the nose suggested. Hyacinths and jonquils... Table grapes, flavored mineral water and rubber bands. Lightly brewed linden tea and rose jam.

Finish: Medium with with white peppercorns, residual sugar and dried flowers.

Overall: Although we love Marcs at home and consume way more than any other household can do this is the first time I am tasting a Marc d'Alsace. It is also the first Marc I tasted which was not aged in a cask... So, that being said it is not comparable to other Marcs I tasted before or I like. It is more in a eau-de-vie category. Definitely on the lighter side, floral and mineral. It is green and savory on the nose and colorful and sweet on the palate. I am enjoying it a lot right now...

Price: €40


Thanks to Florin for both of these samples...