70th Fiammifero at Distilleria Romano Levi
in Neive on 25th October 2014
Few products can truthfully claim to be unique, but Romano Levi grappas are one of those few. Sadly he passed away in 2008. We were fortunate having visited him in the mid-80’s and even having been sold one of these rare bottles. Rumor has it that he denied giving bottles to celebrities like food and wine legend, Luigi Veronelli when they showed up at his door. He didn't do it out of spite but perhaps he just didn't realize how "important" these visitors were. After all... he had never left his tiny village and never even wished to. The spirit is still hand-distilled, but each label, once a one-off drawn by the legendary artist/master-distiller himself, is now printed by a machine. Fabrizio Sobrero, who worked with Romano Levi since the age of 15, has taken over.
This year for the second time after 2011 we were fortunate to witness the 70th edition of the lighting of the furnace. It's a nice event, with music, snacks, mulled wine and - of course - grappa to be sampled. We have fond memories of this place.
It looks still like it did 25 years ago. For the event the distilleria is of course made presentable for a large number of guests. You can return any day, especially now when the grappa is actually produced, to see how it is made the old-fashioned way. Romano Levi used to drop a small glass on a string into the barrel and let you taste straight from there. I don't think he ever cleaned the glass - but with up to 60% alcohol in strength it was always well disinfected :-)