Sloe berries are tedious to harvest especially during the colder weeks along the steep mountain sides in South Tirol. The berry is officially an ancient wild plum and found on even such high altitudes where their aroma intensifies. Sloe berries are one of the last fruits to be harvested in the year as their tannic acid has to be broken down with the first frost of the year. It took the week to harvest enough to produce this batch of 5 litres and it was even harder to convince Secci to give us his batch. The berries are protected by striking spikes for a good reason as their flavour is to fight for. The stone in the centre of the fruit contains a substance called Amygdalin which is broken down by the fruit's own enzymes into partly Benzaldehyde which gives this marzipan and almond character. Too many of such stones in the mash and you risk having too much of this aroma in your distillate. The majority of the fruit thus had to be separated. The aroma of this Eaux de Vie is a beautiful balance between the fresh fruits and the benzaldehyde.
Alessandro Secci is an artist of his own kind. Apart from being a distiller for nearly 15 years he is also the manager of his own mountain hut, is a botanist, a musician, a chef cook and prepares the ski run before his guests expect him to be in the kitchen for breakfast. His nose and sense for flavour is incredible. He is in perfect harmony with the surrounding mountains and shuts down the mountain hut during Eaux de Vie production season to follow his passion.
Secci Sloe Eau de Vie, 2016 vintage, 30cl 42% vol
Producer: Alessandro Secci
Fruit: Sloe (Prunus spinosa)
Yield: 2.7 litres of alcohol / 100kg Fruit. That's 1780 Sloe berries in each 100ml bottle
Region: Val Venosta, Vinschgau, South Tyrol, Italy
Altitude: 1050 m.a.s.l.
Still Size: 150l
Yearly Capacity: 300 Original Litres of Alcohol
Mashing: Fruit Mill, Partial Stone Separator
Fermentation: Semi Spontaneous, 3-4 Weeks, Closed Top
Distillation: Discontinuous Double Pot Still, Copper, Dephlegmator, Wood fire
Spirit Category (EU Regulation No 110/2008): Fruit Spirit