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Villa Zarri produces spirits as colourful as its social calendar – one that dates back as far as 1578. Once owned by Massimiliano Angelelli, a famous philologist, Hellenist and Orientalist, Villa Zarri was passed to the Brazetti family before its return to Leonida Zarri. Returned to its ancient splendour, its cultural history continues, with its colonnades supporting a plethora of art exhibits, classical music concerts, ballets and music shows.

It’s most exciting cultural contribution, however, is that of the Villa Zarri distillery (well, we think so, anyway). Working with Trebbiano grapes grown on the superior hillside sites of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna, Villa Zara combines quality ingredients with painstaking empirical work and rigorous scientific research with one goal in mind: to produce Italy’s finest spirit.

We may be biased, but we think they’re doing pretty well. Perhaps it’s thanks to the quality of wine they use to distil their Villa Zarri brandy – perfectly clear, low in aromatic content and high in acidity; perhaps it’s due to their discontinuous distillation method, a slow process that uses a copper Charentais still to extract the best possible concentration of bouquet; or, perhaps it’s the small barrels in which they age their spirits, barrels constructed from French oak from the Massif Central which release tannins slowly into the brandy, contributing a beautiful balance of colour, perfume and flavour. We think it’s a combination of all of the above - the result? Brandy that balances the complex and concentrated aromatic elements characteristic of their product.

The Villa Zarri 10 Year Traditional Brandy is a spirit imbued with aromas of pearl barley, sweet liquorice, toffee and toasted pine kernels – or, in short, with extreme personality. Meanwhile, the Villa Zarri Nocino never ceases to amaze. Produced according to an old family recipe, their Nocino contributes to an ancient tradition of Emilia Romagna, starting with gathering the husks of organically grown walnuts on the 24th June (Saint John’s Day). Macerated with alcohol, cloves, cinnamon sticks and water over 60 days, the Nocino rests for a year prior to bottling, producing a spirit the colour of caramel with characteristics of liquorice, nutmeg and smoke. The perfect way to end a meal – or to keep cool in summer when served over ice. We’d like ours in the grounds of Villa Zarri, per favore.

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