Some grappas can be so rough and rustic, they'll strip paint and grow hair on your chest. This bottle of CM Sicilian grappa from Cantina La Torre, however, is another thing altogether - beguilingly smooth and sippable. Made from the pressings of nero d'avola grapes grown for wine by a cooperative of 900 farmers in the rich volcanic soils near Mount Etna ("CM" is the Roman numeral for 900), the skins, stems, and pips are distilled into a white spirit that is as elegant as it is feisty.
A relatively new product only recently made available for sale online in Pennsylvania at the reduced price of $34.99, this is a bargain for a grappa of such refinement and complexity. The clear brandy sits on the tongue with an almost buttery richness, then unfurls a long train of shifting flavors - roasted coffee, almonds, baked orchard fruits, raisiny grapes, and a lingering spice of smoked dried peppers - as if to remind, with a final lick of heat, that mighty Etna still smolders.