Grappa is «after eating» for the people of Valle d'Aosta and more or less generally so for all the curve of the alpine valley where the harsh climate, for a great part of the year, permits and requests a drink with a high grade of alcohol.
Grappa seems to be a magic potion: this precious distillate was begun in fact between stills of glass and essence which evaporates...taking a «form» of the marc. It is an ancient rite, which is tied to the land of the Valle d'Aosta for centuries, from when man decided to challenge the slopes of the mountains to cultivate vines.
Virtually grappa comes from the marc, or the best which remains in the vats after the fermentation of the grapes and from that which rests in the winepress after their pressing and after boiling «passings» alternating with filterings.
For a good grappa there must be a good grape, such as those of the area of Arnad, the Petit Rouge, from which derives one of the strongest and hard grappa of the Valle d'Aosta, with a «masculine» flavour. And a brandy even from the more «delicate» marc of Blac di Morgex and La Salle. Like the grapes of Enfer d'Arvier and of Donnas, and not only: there is an excellent grappa at Chambave, such as that obtained from Muscat, at Nus, from Rouge and from Pinot Gris.
In the Valle d'Aosta grappa is not however the only liqueur.
The «men of the mountains» have created others, from herbs. Above all from génépy, that small plant which snatches its life from the debris of the moraine, so close to the sky that it nearly absorbs its colour.
From a name that renders justice to its taste, to its salubrious effects, is a liqueur that comes from a mixture of alpine herbs, it is called the «benefort», and is very bitter.