Italy’s oldest distillery, Nardini, has launched an ultra-premium grappa range, aimed at setting a new quality threshold for the spirit.The new range, called Selezione Bortolo Nardini, has been created to to honour the distiller who founded the family-owned brand in 1779. The line includes four expressions blended from Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Grigio grape pomaces from local DOC winemakers and distilled using a combination of pot still and column still. Bottled at 42% abv, Extrafina is rested in steel tanks for six months before blending and then rested for another six months before undergoing a further selection process It is described as "floral and fruity, with herbal elements and a nuanced complexity amplified with notes of banana, maraschino and ‘proving bread’". The three Le Ramate expressions are aged in barrels sourced from an oak forest in Slavonia that has been used by Nardini for 70 years. Bottled at 42% abv, Three-Year-Old Riserva has a “clear sweetness” and cooked fruit notes, similar to Nardini’s core 40% and 50% Riserva products. The Seven-Year-Old Riserva is described as more “extravagant and spicy, but equally complex” and is bottled at 45% abc While the 15-Year-Old Riserva is described as having hints of creamy vanilla, chocolate, nuts and wild fruits. Antonio Nardini, managing director, said: “As Italy’s oldest distiller and the country’s leading premium grappa brand, we are obliged to innovate rather than stand still. Since we only produce for ourselves and never for third parties, we apply much stricter criteria to the quality of the raw materials we use and the production techniques we employ.” “With the new range we have demonstrated our ability to produce elegant, exquisite distillates – and I am confident that we have set a new standard for grappa that will not only astonish many people, but lead to a greater appreciation for Italy’s national spirit amongst the most discerning drinkers in the world.” In 2017, sales of Nardini products in the UK grew by 40% compared to the previous 12 months. Selezione Bortolo Nardini will be available initially to the UK on-trade from Speciality Drinks with on-line availability from The Whisky Exchange, The Drink Shop and Master of Malt. Products in the range are likely to retail at between £55 and £125.