Becoming a Dappa Chap

With all the trouble in the world right now, it can be hard staying true to one's lack of principles. We're meant to have righteous opinions on everything. What if we don't have any?  Tiring!

Amplifying one's pleasure
With the cacophonous sound of ideologies clashing in our ears, we all need a regular pick-me-up. I recommend a drink before, during and after lunch just to stay on an even keel. Don't get me wrong. This isn't about getting drunk, it's about amplifying one's pleasure. We were not put on this silly little planet to seek strife and conflict were we?

Except at times of special revelry, I am exceedingly moderate in my potations. A brace of cocktails, a glass of wine at dinner and possibly a liqueur with the coffee – that is Bertram Wooster. ~ P.G. Wodehouse - The Code of the Woosters
British grappa
As a post-meal restorative, a good pomace or marc brandy or an eau de vie will always work wonders. Grappa is probably the most well-known type of pomace brandy — brandies made with the by-products of wine production, the grape skins, pulp and so forth — but countries throughout Europe have their own varieties. Eaux de vie are fruit-based — non-grape — clear brandies such as schnapps. A whole life could be dedicated to sampling and writing about the choices of non-aged and clear brandies available; and a good life it would be — there might even be an award in it — but let's not overtax ourselves today. We will just concentrate on the delightful Dappa from Devon.

Dappa is made by Devon Distillery Limited of South Devon and is the UK's first pomace/marc brandy. Devon Distillery takes grape skins from numerous English vineyards, including Biddenden VineyardBolney Wine Estate, Sharpham Vineyard and Three Choirs Vineyard, to make Dappa. It's interesting how a group of cold and cloudy islands that had to rely almost entirely on importing wines and spirits made from wine from the continent a few decades ago now has a climate suitable for sustaining a healthy homegrown wine industry.

Devon Distillery was founded by Cosmo Caddy whose grandfather established the Sharpham Vineyard in Devon. Dappa isn't the only drink made by Devon Distillery. They also produce gin and 'Devoncello', a Devon version of lemoncello. 'Ginny' the bus (below) is the mobile arm of the operation, Still on the Move, which travels the country making bespoke gins.

To make Dappa, grape pomace is steamed in vast copper cauldrons to collect the alcohol. The steam is collected in a copper pot still where it is sampled and blended. Devon Distillery takes care to create a polished drink with 'subtle flavours and hidden depths'.  They believe they achieve this by the combination of grape skins used. The 2013 vintage, for example, had a combination of 'Pinot Noir and Rondo grape skins complemented with small quantities of Dornfelder and Regent'.

I prefer to sip my Dappa neat, but you may wish to try Dappa in a cocktail. And you should try it. Once sampled, I'm sure you will become quite a Dappa chap.


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