Heirs of magicians and alchemists
The first known reference to distillation can be found as early as 500 BC in Mesopotamia. It would appear the famous Hypatia of Alexandria may have invented one of the first apparatus for distilling liquid.
In 150 BC, this device, known as a "still" was widespread among Greek alchemists. In the following centuries, when alchemy, magic and science were still one and the same thing, the distilling device was used to separate and clean different elements or to extract essences.
Initially, distillation was used to produce scents and essences for medicine. Monks of various orders played a major role in this development; in fact recipes for liqueurs and herbal liqueurs, which are still produced today, date back to them.
The purpose of distillation, the extraction of flavours and scents from fruit and pomace, has so far not changed.
For our enjoyment.
Distillation at Roner
At the Roner distillery, the traditional phases of distillation are enriched by other worthy ingredients, such as the desire for perfection and the experience of three generations.
The preparation of the mash or puree is preceded by rigorous quality control of the grapes and fruit. We use only the very best quality for our grappa and spirits. The aromas and flavours are very sensitive and only fresh pomace and fruits guarantee the full-bodied nature of our grappa and spirits. For this reason, we always process the pomace straight away and separate it rigorously. The fermentation stage is constantly monitored by our experienced distillers. Only once this natural process has reached the right point can distillation begin, no sooner and no later.
Distillation is usually carried out with both methods: continuous and batch. The appropriate method if used for each type of spirit.
Once it has been stabilised, the distilled spirit is filtered to give it an even more harmonious and elegant touch
Taste with all your Senses
Tasting is a tantalising moment for all the senses. It should be approached with calm and concentration because it calls on every one of your senses.Günther-Roner1
Step 1: Look
The spirit should be crystal clear; unless it is aged, and then it should be a golden to amber colour depending on age, but never cloudy.
Step 2: Smell
Smell the aroma from inside the glass several times; not too much though, try to determine your first impression of the bouquet. Then smell a second time and explore each individual aroma.
Step 3: Taste
Take a small sip of the spirit and keep it on your tongue, guide the spirit to your palate and leave some there, then swallow. It is impossible to judge from the initial sip, as your tastebuds must first adjust to the high-grade product. Likewise, the spirit should not be held in the mouth for too long, as the tastebuds will become slightly numbed. The taste should be soft and friendly, other impressions can be considered negative.
The spirit also has a physical sensation, the so-called body. This too should be pleasant and harmonious.
Once you have swallowed the liquid, exhale through your nose. Other aromas enter the nose to confirm what you smelled before or different notes will emerge unexpectedly.
Creating a Distilled Spirit
The following is a brief overview of the key steps:
- Maceration of the pomace or mash
- Fermentation of the pomace or mash
- The distillate is stored and matured in stainless steel containers. These do not affect the taste or aroma.
- If desired, the distillate is then aged in various wooden barrels - barriques or tonneaux (oak barrels).
- Demineralised water is added to the distillate to dilute to the desired drinking strength
- Cooling and filtering of the distillate
There are 3 fractions in distillation:
- The so-called "head", which includes substances with a lower boiling point.
- The "heart" (the actual distillate or spirit) is the portion that contains all the precious aromas and full flavours
- The "tail" section contains substances with a higher boiling point; they are separated again.
We differentiate between two types of distillation: batch and continuous distillation.
In batch distillation, the still is filled with mash or pomace, distilled and then emptied. The boiled remains, the so-called slurry, is completely removed from the cycle.
Continuous distillation is an ongoing process in which the apparatus is continuously filled with mash or pomace and distillate is continuously extracted.
Tipes of Destillates.
Distillation is widespread all over the world and there are many materials that can be distilled. Hence the large number of distillates, spirits and liquors.
The queen of Italian spirits. Only Italian grape-based pomace spirits that are produced entirely in Italy may be called grappa. Grappa can be classified according to several criteria:
Young or aged/stored
A young grappa is stored in stainless steel vessels until it is bottled. An aged grappa is stored in barrique barrels or other wooden barrels (usually oak). A grappa's denotation depends on the time it spends in the barrel.
Mixed or single-varietal grappa
Depending on whether the grappa was fermented and distilled from the pomace of one or more grape varieties.
The term cuvée is used when a grappa has been blended by a master distiller after the distillation process.
Fruit-based spirits, also known as schnapps, have a variety of names including Williams, Kirsch, Slivovitz and Obstler. They are extracted from different fruits and can also be aged, like our Caldiff fruit brandy, for example.
Liqueurs are often blended according to old recipes. The basis of these are generally fruit extracts or distilled herbs mixed with grappa or alcohol. Finally, sugar is added and diluted with water to achieve the desired alcohol strength.