Eyes above the nose
The sense organs are arranged in such a way as to give as a safe, secure perception of our surroundings. This has also influenced how we perceive Grappa.
I sometimes wonder why Grappa is always perceived as a strong distillate, always with the same characteristics and with no distinctive hallmark.
If someone drinks an unpleasant wine, they do not necessarily think all wine is unpleasant.
So why is it that if someone drinks an unpleasant Grappa they tend to suppose all the others are too?
I believe the answer lies in the transparent, crystal-clear appearance of most Grappas, the younger ones.
Our main organs of sight, smell and taste are arranged on our face in a particular, clearly defined pattern: eyes at the top, nose in the middle, mouth at the bottom.
Have you ever wondered why?
They are there to carry out three checks, one after the other, that allow us to tell whether what we’re about to swallow is going to kill us or keep us alive.
With our eyes we can see what a particular food or drink looks like from a distance, and if we like what we see, we bring it closer.
Then, keeping our eyes on it all the while, we use our sense of smell to decide which of the two basic categories it belongs to: the fragrance of life or the stench of death.
If we find the aroma inviting, we decide to introduce the substance into our mouth, where we subject it to the final test before ultimately deciding to swallow it.
And if our taste organ also gives us the green light, we proceed towards the pleasure of nourishment and survival.
Now let’s imagine what would happen if our mouth was at the top of our head, with our nose and eyes below it: how could we see and smell what we’re about to introduce into our body?
This is why Nature has positioned our sense organs exactly where they are, coherent with the three checks to be carried out in sequence on what we are about to eat or drink.
It follows that since most Grappas are clear and colourless, and therefore all look the same, at a physical, biological and physiological level we tend to assume the aroma and the taste will also be similar.
In the case of wine, on the other hand, since the colour varies from white through to deep inky red, with hundreds of nuances in between, we are inclined also to perceive the fragrance and the taste as being varied and multi-faceted.
Since we cannot colour our various Grappas so as to distinguish one from the other, we decided to tint the ceramic tops of the bottles with different colours so as to indicate the predominant aromatic profile: Colours such as yellow, orange, pale green or dark green indicate Grappas with a floral, fruity structure, like a delicate white or light red wine.
Colours such as Bordeaux or brown are used for more robust distillates, with a pleasantly grassy, spicy aroma reminiscent of full-bodied red wines.