I recently did a taste test of two different Vermouths that got me thinking. In my curiosity I delved into the history of the elixir to try and understand it better. The nuts and bolts of which include a neutral wine, red or white. Add aromatics and then fortify with alcohol to produce this unique aperitif or mixer. The key ingredient by European law is the aromatic and herbaceous Wormwood (hello Absynthe) that gives it the bitterness we have come across. The German name for this perennial (and somewhat poisonous) plant is Wermut, which was loosely translated to Vermouth.
I already tasted the Carpano Classico, today I will compare it to the Carpano Antica which runs $42 a bottle. It is pale amber in color and has pronounced aromas of burnt caramel, orange peel, raisin pumice, bright floral notes and vanilla bean. The palate is barely off-dry but the sweetness builds on the palate. Very smooth, medium (-) acidity, low tannins and a crispness that is refined. The wine is medium bodied and I can sense the alcohol on the mid palate. The flavors are very precise and well integrated- citrus from the orange peel, raisins, walnuts, oak influence by way of the caramel and vanilla with a gentle bitterness. The finish is medium (-) in length and bitter with the orange and nuts lingering. I never thought I would drink Vermouth straight up but this is a seriously smooth drop that invites one to add a cube of ice and a slice of orange peel to sip at sundown.
As I mentioned in my original Vermouth post (https://caspernick.com/2022/02/14/vermouth-taste-test/), I prefer the Dolin for Manhattans but I think I would like to try this one in a Negroni, where the medium level off bitterness coupled with the not-so-sweet flavors will meld well with Campari and Gin. Salut….
Garnish with a slice or peel of orange over ice. Stirred, not shaken!