No-one knows for sure when the first grappa was made, although it is mentioned in documents dating from the mid-14th century. Nevertheless, by the end of the 15th century, grappa was not only being exported from Italy, but production was licensed, with taxes levied on distillates from wine and pomaces.
As a rule, the most complex and elegant grappas come from the North of Italy, where the cooler weather ensures the acid in the grapes degenerates more slowly. In 1779, Bortolo Nardini moved from Trentino to Bassano - the ancient town situated at the foot of Monte Grappa in Veneto - bringing with him special expertise of distilling in double-bottomed copper stills.
Bortolo sited his grapperia on Bassano's famous bridge on the River Brenta, where it remains to this day as a shop and a museum as well as a bar, popular with locals and visitors alike. Today, the Nardini family distills grappa using exactly the same methods that Bortolo pioneered, albeit producing much larger quantities from two sites close to Bassano.
While many excellent grappas are made in hundreds of tiny distilleries throughout Italy and Sicily, Nardini has long been applauded as producing the most consistent, premium quality grappa available . The family's principal products - Bianca and Riserva - enjoy a worldwide reputation for being quintessential of the grappa genre at its best. All drinks in the Nardini portfolio, including the aperitivi and liquori, enjoy a tremendous heritage. When in 2004 - in commemoration of the distillery's 225th anniversary - Nardini introduced 'Riserva 15 Anni', it was notable as the distiller's first new product for 76 years!