Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Vermouth Del Professore Rosso: A Sweet, Herbal Wine

I've posed the question before, and it bears repeating. Why is Vermouth, a fortified and aromatized wine, largely ignored by wine lovers? That should not be the case. As I've also said before, "It's a wine with a fascinating history that extends back thousands of years...It can be delicious and complex, intriguing and diverse, and offers a template upon which a producer can put their individual stamp." You need to drink more Vermouth, whether on its own or in a cocktail.

Let me recommend an Italian Vermouth which would be a great choice to start your Vermouth explorations: the Vermouth Del Professore Rosso ($26) which I purchased at Bin Ends.  This Vermouth is a special collaboration between Federico Ricatto (an artisan-producer), the Antica Distelleria Quaglia and the Jerry Thomas Speakeasy in Rome. The Antica Distelleria Quaglia extends back to the latter half of the 19th century, and was purchased by Giuseppe Quaglia in 1906. It is now operated by Carlo Quaglia, the great grandchild of Giuseppe

The idea was to recreate an older style of Vermouth, a traditional Turin style, and they ended up using a recipe that was based on one used Federico Ricatto;s grandfather. Each year, they only produce about 10,000 bottles and each bottle is individually numbered. The Vermouth is produced from a Muscat wine, pure cane sugar and 13 herbs and spices, including mountain mint, wormwood, gentian, cloves,and mace. It is matured for a time in oak casks and has an alcohol content of 18%. The Vermouth also takes its name "Pofessore" from Jerry Thomas, aka “The Professor”, who many say is the "the father of American mixology."  

The Vermouth has a pleasing amber color and an intriguing aroma of herbs, citrus and honey. As a Rosso, it is supposed to be sweet and that comes out on the palate but it is a a softer sweetness, well balanced with acidity, savory elements and a hint of bitterness. Some inexpensive Vermouths can be cloyingly sweet but that is not the case here. The savory herbal notes will tantalize as some will seem familiar while others seem more exotic, and less common. The subtle bitterness, especially on the lengthy finish, will be a satisfying ending to this compelling wine. It is smooth and medium bodied, and can be drank on its own or in a cocktail.

One of my favorite ways to drink it is in a Rye Manhattan, and the type of Vermouth you use makes a significant difference in the taste of the cocktail. The herbal notes of this Vermouth pair well with the spicy Rye,and you might find yourself drinking more Manhattans because of it.

Who else  has tasted this Vermouth before?

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