Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Tour and a Dinner Tasting at Mazzetti d’Altavilla

With tours, tastings, a coffee shop, full restaurant, and a store, Mazzetti d’Altavilla is the most tourist friendly Grappa distillery that we visited. This family business has everything that a Grappa lover could want. 

Elisa Belvedere Mazzetti met our group and offered us coffee in the coffee shop before we started our tour. She then led our group outside to what they refer to as Pomace Square where the deliveries of marc or pomace arrive from the wineries and are conserved in tubular containers that look like well fed giant white snakes. Inside of these tubes, the pomace is temporarily preserved in a vacuum to protect the freshness.

Next, we went into the distillery where the wine grape pomace begins its journey to become Grappa. Mazzetti d’Altavilla Distillery uses the discontinuous method which involves distilling in pot stills. They operate from September to January and are sustainable using solar energy for fuel. Grappa meant to remain clear and young will rest in stainless steel tanks until bottling.

The barrel room where Grappa is aged is underground and remains at cool temperatures naturally. They only work with used barrels to avoid excessive wood character in their Grappas. In the barrel room, the conversion of clear Grappa to gold or amber colored takes place while the spirit becomes more smooth and gains additional complexity. 

After the tour which also included a small museum featuring the 172 year history of the seven generations of Mazzettis that have made Grappa, we headed back up to the tasting room and store. The store and tasting room is open to visitors seven days a week with over a hundred items for sale. 
Visitors to the distillery can taste from the lineup seen on the back wall at the tasting counter. They also have Grappa soaked sugar cubes with an array of natural flavors to taste, these can be purchased for sweetening tea and coffee. 

Elisa Belvedere Mazzetti poured us a pre-dinner taste of the 3.0 Morbida as a palate cleanser before dinner. It was delicate and fresh with herbal notes. She then led us upstairs to the Materia Prima restaurant which signs refer to as a flavor lab. It is primarily used for tastings of Grappa pairings but it can also be booked for lunch, dinner, or group events.

The dinner:
Starter - Hot broccoli cake with cream of carrot, topped with crispy leeks with Fratelli Natta “Le Rose” Barbera d’Asti wine
First Course - Monferrato Agnolotti with Ferraris Clàsic Ruchè wine and Mazzetti Ardita L’Acquavite d’Uva
Second Course - Pork slow cooked in fresh Piedmontese pomace with rucked potato and sauce with Fratelli Natta “Mounteis” Malvasia di Casorzo wine and Mazzetti Grappa di Barolo Invecchiata -This one spent some time in barrel giving it a richer, spicier character.
Dessert - Bonet 7.0 served with the Mazzetti Grappa di Ruchè 7.0 which was aromatically intense with both floral notes and spice.

After dinner, we returned to the tasting room bar and enjoyed a few more tastes. Two of my favorites were:

Mazzetti Segni Grappa Riserva 5 anni di Invecchiamento - Rich and flavorful with blackberry and vanilla notes.

Mazzetti d’Altavilla Grappa di Moscato Vermouth di Torino Finish - Very intense and smooth from aging in wine barrels that previously held Vermouth.

A fantastic evening and a great ending for the Hello Grappa tour!
All of the Mazzetti products are highly recommended. The distillery is also a recommended stop for tourists in the Piedmont area who have an interest in Grappa.


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