Fruit spirit and rice wine
In the wine making process there is a lot of waste, or left over grape skin. This is pomace.
After the grapes have been pressed (for wine), the pomace retains a lot of moisture. These skins are mixed with water and then fermented.
This process gives pomace brandies a pronounced herbaceous and spicy aroma.
Grappa is a pomace brandy which can only be made in Italy.
They are notable for their herbaceous flavours and good ones should express the characteristics of the grapes they use.
Typically, Grappa is not matured in oak, but rather in inert vessels (such as glass or stainless steel) which imparts no flavour, but does add to a more complete mouthful and texture.
Pisco, the basis of the Pisco Sour cocktail, hails from Peru and Chile.
Pisco is a pot distilled pomace brandy, favouring the aromatic Muscat grape. Chilean Pisco can be matured (for a short period) in oak casks, however the Peruvians prefer their pisco unaged – in-fact, it is a legal requirement. This gives them a fragrant and fruity character.
Sake (Saké) is made by fermenting rice – hence a common name; “Japanese Rice Wine”. The rice is ‘polished’ (i.e.; it is white rice – it has had it’s husk, brand and germ removed).
There are many different designations of Sake, depending on the ingredients, rice polishing ratio and percentage of Kōji rice.
Other names you may see on a bottle of Sake may refer to ways the starter mash is made (Kimono, Yamahai, Sokujō) and different handling after the fermentation process (Namasake, Genshu, Muroka, Nigorizake, Seishu, Koshu, Taruzake and more…).
Sake is quite a complex drink..
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