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The Spirit of Emilia-Romagna

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Italy might be the only country whose pomace brandy – grappa – appears to be better known than its wine-based brandy. During the golden age of sailing, Dutch merchants reputedly invented brandy by distilling wine, in an attempt to facilitate transport, as well as to pay less customs and taxes, which at the time were based on volume instead of alcohol strength.
Directly related to wine and vine, wine-based brandy is produced in nearly all wine-producing countries, eg Cognac and Armagnac from France, Brandy de Jerez from Spain and Aguardente from Portugal. Whereas, separated from mainland Europe, the Spanish and Portuguese have their own, distinctive Iberian approach to brandy, Italian brandy would appear rather familiar, owing to French influence over the centuries.
Established in 1820 by Frenchman Jean Bouton in Bologna, Distilleria Giovanni Buton hence began its Franco-Italian story of brandy. Jean Bouton came from a family of distillers in Charente, indeed the home of cognac. Having established himself in France, he crossed the Alps, arrived and settled in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna.
He believed that the terroir of Emilia-Romagna shared similarities with that of Charente, which would provide him with the grapes he wanted. The grapes in question were – still are – Trebbiano Bianco, otherwise known as Ugni Blanc in France, which is one of the permitted varieties for Cognac and Armagnac. In 1939, the distillery took the name Vecchia Romagna, and continued to develop as one of the leading brandy houses of Italy.

Vecchia Romagna Etichetta Nera
Made with 100% Trebbiano and aged in small oak casks for a minimum of 3 years. Chestnut-maroon with tangelo reflex, the lifted and fruit-driven nose offers tangerine, loquat, persimmon, morello cherry and nutmeg, enriched by vanilla pod. Sustained by fresh acidity, the energetic and youthful palate delivers mandarin, red apple, shredded coconut, cinnamon and Shoumei white tea, infused with lavender. At 38%, the lively entry evolves into a floral mid-palate, leading to a refreshing finish.

Vecchia Romagna Riserva 10 Anni
Made with 100% Trebbiano, distilled in the Charentais method and aged in Limousin barrels for a minimum of 10 years. Auburn-mahogany with rosso-corsa reflex, the composed and delicate nose reveals clementine, dried pear, parsley, caramel and Lady Grey tea, elaborated with daffodil. Supported by vivacious acidity, the invigorating and tangy palate presents kumquat, greengage, white cherry, sweet ginger and white pepper, adorned with cherry blossom. At 40%, the subtle entry transforms into a tantalising mid-palate, leading to a herbal finish.

To discover the charm of Italian brandy, contact Mr Alessandro Lampo’ of Dolcebere (Macau) Trading Ltd; W: www.dolcebere.com; E: info@dolcebere.com; A: Level 20, AIA Tower, N. 251A – 301, Avenida Comercial de Macau

Jacky I.F. Cheong is a legal professional by day and columnist by night. Having spent his formative years in Britain, France, and Germany, he regularly writes about wine, fine arts, classical music, and politics in several languages.

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Theresa Wu 23/05/2014 23:18:22
I remember this from my trip in Italy. Finally I can find it in Macau.
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