Vermouth is having a moment as adventurous local winemakers embrace the botanicals. Here are 10 of our top picks.
Numbered from top to bottom, left to right:
1. NUOVO ITALIANO
Oscar.697 Extra Dry, Piedmont, Italy, $50
An excellent example of the new wave of Italian producers
reimagining the flavours of vermouth and their drinks packaging.
This is beautifully dry vermouth, with pungent herbal aromas and
subtle, oaky, savoury notes. Imported by vanguardluxurybrands.com.au
2. THE ORIGINAL
Carpano Antica Formula, Piedmont, Italy, $70
This is recognised as the first commercial vermouth, developed
in Turin in 1786, and based on an "antique formula". It's tawny in
colour, extremely complex and spicy to smell, and beautifully
herbal, savoury and medicinal on the tongue. Imported by arquilla-wine.com
3. FLOWERY KIWI
Mt Edward Vermouth, Central Otago, $55
As far as I know, this is the first new-wave vermouth from New
Zealand. A wine made from chenin blanc and riesling is infused with
wormwood, elderflower and thyme. A lovely, delicate, floral style.
Imported by wholebunchwines.com.au
4. AFTERNOON DELIGHT
Yzaguirre Rojo Reserva Vermouth, Catalonia, Spain, $48
My food writer mate Richard Cornish tells me it's a ritual
whenever he visits to Spain to drink a small glass of chilled
Yzaguirre every afternoon before dinner. I can see why: it's dark,
tangy and delicious. Imported by untappedwines.com.au
5. BITTER TONIC
Ravensworth Outlandish Claims, Canberra, ACT, $45
The name and the packaging of this fabulously complex and
satisfying drink evoke the medicinal heritage of vermouth - and
other wines infused with botanicals. Dark, bitter, rich: it's easy
to imagine it doing you some good. ravensworthwines.com.au
6. BIG BOTTLE
Maidenii Unfiltered Dry Vermouth, Central Victoria, $115
The Maidenii crew has been busy, releasing a number of new
drinks including La Tonique Quinquina (infused with cinchona bark;
$50) and magnums of sensational, slightly cloudy, unfiltered
citrusy dry vermouth. maidenii.com.au
7. PRETTY IN PEDRO
Jones Winery Correll, Rutherglen, Victoria, $38
Inspired by winemaker Mandy Jones's time in Bordeaux, learning
how that region's famous Lillet aromatised wine is produced, this
is a gently sweet, pretty white infused with orange rind, star
anise and juniper. Serve chilled over ice. joneswinery.com.au
8. ANCIEN RECIPE
Dolin Rouge Vermouth, Chambéry, France, $28
One of France's oldest vermouth labels, this "rouge" is in fact
quite a developed, tawny colour, with spicy, mature aromas of herbs
and a pronounced savoury taste. "Extensive testing" shows it makes
a cracking Negroni. Imported by cerbaco.com.au
9. SUPER BITTER
Marcarini Chinato, Piedmont, Italy, $50
Chinato is an aromatised wine from Piedmont in Italy, and
Marcarini is one of the best producers. Fine Barolo is infused with
botanicals such as cinchona bark and gentian: a small glass makes
the perfect post-prandial digestif. Imported by trembathandtaylor.com.au
10. A LITTLE BITTER
2016 Turkey Flat Quinquina, Barossa Valley, South Australia, $40
This aromatised wine is made from marsanne, infused with cinchona bark and botanicals including orange rind, lychee and green tea. Intense and sweet - best served as an apéritif, with soda and ice. turkeyflat.com.au
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