Grape Spirits: Turning Wine Into "Water Of Life"

      Though we often spare no words when it comes to discussing the provenance of the grapes for our most esteemed wines, when it comes to spirits the issue is often dropped completely. Who knows (or cares) where the corn and wheat for Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon comes from? Besides the starchy sweetness, most of the coveted flavors are the result of many other processes besides the farming.  But what if there were a spirit that could showcase the same regard for the raw material -- grapes, in this case -- that we insist upon for our favorite wines? Too often when we think of clear grape spirits, we think of rough, fiery grappas and their resulting headaches. But in the right hands we can see a wine we adore transformed into a shelf-stable version of itself, with all the ethereal delicacy and freshness of the original. What this requires is not only an excellent winemaker but a skilled distiller.