Saturday, 16 December 2017

Vermut Rojo 15%, Lustau

Deep black brown fading to amber with coppery glints. 
Really herbal, bitter and spicy, the wormwood and gentian really come through and there is a faint curry note from the coriander before the sage appears. There are distinct Sherry notes with a trace of volatile acidity and cinder toffee sweetness. It is quite full on, nicely integrated and characterful.
While the sweetness is just right, it is countered by the bitterness and a very slight tannic grip, then the orange comes through. Part of the fun is that one can pick out many of the botanicals, yet they all work so well together. It has texture and considerable length and is frighteningly moreish. Great stuff.
Vermouth used to be produced by many bodegas in Jerez but fell out of fashion until quite recently. Now many are re-launching the product, mostly using original formulae. This delicious vermouth, launched in March 2016, is made from a blend of two solera wines, both over 10 years old: a dry Amontillado (80%) and a PX (20%) which is enough to give the product 150g/l sugars. The sweetness is balanced out by ten botanicals, including orange peel, gentian, angelica, wormwood, sage and coriander are macerated separately before being blended with the wine according to an old Lustau formula. This was one of the last projects of the bodega's much loved and sadly missed oenologist Manuel Lozano. 
About 13 euros, widely available

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