A Primer on Brandy Part VIII: Pomace Spirits

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Pomace Spirits

Pomace is the remnant left over after pressing grapes during the production of wine. As such, pomace spirits are not brandies in the strict sense, but they share similar characteristics. Marc (France), Grappa (Italy), and Bagaciera (Portugal) are all examples of pomace spirits. In France, Marc is produced in most wine regions, but the most famous examples are made in Burgundy, Champagne, and Alsace. Italian Grappa long suffered a reputation of poor quality -- for many producers, the production of grappa was an afterthought of wine production, and pomace would be allowed to sit in oxidative environments for weeks before being transferred to a still. Today, however, many quality grappas are produced in Italy, particularly in the regions associated with fine wine. Most grappa is clear in color; however some barrel-aged examples can be found, labeled riserva, stravecchia, vecchia, or invecchiata. Grappa may also be aromatized with the addition of botanicals.