Capovilla Poire Williams
Like liquid pear in a glass. Along with his Austrian friend Hanz Reisetbauer, Vittorio Gianni Capovilla is one of Europe’s most demanding distillers. And his Poire Williams is one of his best products. Capovilla’s formative years were spent as a Formula 3 racecar mechanic in Switzerland. Traveling through Austria and Germany he noticed that every winemaker and farmer had a homemade distillery. Fascinated by the process, he had an Austrian artisan build him a small copper ‘bain-marie’ (double boiler) alembic and started experimenting with home made grappa with the desire to create a product of high quality without using industrial machinery. After 10 years of trial and error and ‘pilgrimages’ to Europe’s best distillers, in 1988 he was granted permission to become an official distiller. Because of forbidding laws, in Italy there are less than 120 distilleries, whereas in Austria alone there are more than 90.000. Grappa in Italy has been produced as quickly and cheaply as possible, Capovilla goes in the opposite direction, sourcing the highest quality prime ingredients and using technically advanced distilling methods where the skill of the distiller is very much felt. His bain-marie alembic distills “discontinuously’ at low temperatures thus taking much longer time. The result is a purer, more elegant and harmonious product with great aromatic extraction. Italian laws allow for 20% added sugar and 3% of aromatic enhancers, but Capovilla distillates are rigorously unadulterated in order to preserve the true character of each fruit and grape varietals used. Capovilla distillates mature in stainless steel vats for at least two years before release, as he believes that, like wine, his products are very much alive and develop depth and complexity with time.