Monday, 10 December 2018

Sparkling Vermouth Francisco de Cala 15%, Artesanos Jerezanos

Mahogany brown fading to amber, great mousse at first but little bead.
Attractive bitter-sweet, wormwood or possibly gentian and quinine in similar proportions to Oloroso and PX, an attractively bitter Cream perhaps, but more complex, and just a shade less intense than the still version. There are notes of orange peel, cinnamon, clove and a faint note of toasted bread.
The bitterness of the herbs is assisted by the carbonic acid gas in giving it a welcome slightly drier feel, though there is certainly some sweetness, more noticeable as the mousse dies back. It has a very good balance between the bitter and the sweet and is clean without cloying leaving a lovely complex bitter finish of considerable length.

It took four years of experimental work by Genaro Cala and Luis Benjumeda to create this product which was finally launched in June 2018.  Genaro Cala, who runs Artesanos Jerezanos, is a descendant of Francisco de Cala who founded a bodega in Jerez in 1829, and already has a still vermouth, Duque de Diana, on the market. Luis Benjumeda, a pharmacist and researcher, runs Calas y Arrobas, a wine company in El Puerto. While Cayetano del Pino produced two sparkling vermouths (French and Italian styles) in the late XIX century, the production method is not known, and since this one uses the “traditional” or “Champagne” method of bottle fermentation, it is likely to be a first. The base wine is a blend of Oloroso and PX from the Francisco de Cala soleras and possibly some younger wine. The botanicals, which are secret but number up to 30, are cold steeped in wine alcohol for months to extract all the flavours and aromas, and this is then blended with the wine and aged in French oak butts for between 6 months and a year to marry. Next the wine is bottled with the addition of yeast and no additional sugar for a second fermentation under crown cap after which it undergoes remuage before being disgorged and sealed with a cork.
20.40 euros, Licores Corredera

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