Nardini brings ultra-premium range of grappas to UK

Selezione Bortoli Nardini

A new ultra-premium range of grappas is being launched by leading Italian producer Nardini, aiming to set “a new quality threshold” for the spirit.

The new line-up comprises four expressions under the name of Selezione Bortolo Nardini, named after the distiller who founded the family-owned brand in 1779.

They are blended from Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Grigio grape pomaces and distilled using Nardini’s distinct combination of pot still and column still techniques.

The clear 42% ABV Extrafina has been rested in steel tanks for six months before blending and then rested for another six months before undergoing a further selection process.

It is floral and very fruity, with herbal elements and a nuanced complexity amplified with notes of banana, maraschino and proving bread. As spirits writer Dave Broom says, “There is something both ancient in its aromatics and something entirely new”.

The three Riserva expressions, under the name of “Le Ramate”, meaning “copper”, have been rested for one year in steel and then aged in barrels from the same oak forest in Slavonia in Croatia that has been used by Nardini since it became the first distiller to market aged grappa around 70 years ago.

The 42% ABV three-year-old Riserva is described as coherent, complex and refined, showing a clear sweetness as well as the cooked fruit characteristics that have made Nardini’s core 40% and 50% ABV Riserva products so popular, especially in export markets.

At 45% ABV, the seven-year-old Riserva is said to be more extravagant and spicy but equally complex, with Dave Broom noting similarities with cognac and aged genever.

The 15-year-old Riserva at 50% ABV is more wooded but also drier, with hints of creamy vanilla, chocolate, nuts and wild fruits. As Dave Broom concludes, “Like the rest of the range, it does, I believe, offer a new dimension for grappa, one which stays true to its roots, but aligns it more closely with top-end wood-aged spirits – and as a result opens up the possibilities of new serves and occasions”.

Designed to rank alongside the best spirits in the high-end digestive market sector, they are presented in 70cl cut-glass bottles inspired by Nardini’s futuristic building, dubbed “Bolle”, meaning “bubbles”, designed by Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas in Bassano del Grappa in Veneto.

The Selezione Bortolo Nardini is the result of a 20-year labour-of-love led by the Nardini family alongside master blender Renato Mazzeracca and Andrea Manzoli, who directs operations at the two Nardini distilleries in Bassano and Monastier.

As Dave Broom observed in his pre-launch evaluation, all four grappas are “unmistakably Nardini”, showing clear family resemblances with the firm’s Bianca and Riserva staples. However, they display “a wider, fresher, more tantalising aromatic spectrum”.

Antonio Nardini, managing director of the seventh-generation family-owned company, described Selezione Bortolo Nardini as a major milestone for grappa and not just for Nardini. “As Italy’s oldest distiller and the country’s leading premium grappa brand, we are obliged to innovate rather than stand still.

“Since we only produce for ourselves and never for third parties, we apply much stricter criteria to the quality of the raw materials we use and the production techniques we employ.

“With the new range we have demonstrated our ability to produce elegant, exquisite distillates – and I am confident that we have set a new standard for grappa that will not only astonish many people, but lead to a greater appreciation for Italy’s national spirit amongst the most discerning drinkers in the world.”

Distributed in the UK by Emporia Brands, the new expressions are available to the on-trade through Speciality Drinks.

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