Lustau, Vermut Rojo
Brand : Lustau
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Vermouth is a fortified, aromatized wine, with a white style (originally from France and usually drier) and a red style (sweeter, said to be invented in Italy). Its roots are in a medicinal drink called “wormwood wine” (hence the name). It’s a drink with a long history which has regained quite some interest in the past few years. In some countries (including Spain) there’s even a small vermouth hype.
Lustau now enters the vermouth category with a red vermouth based on two sherry wines selected by its enologist Manuel Lozano. One is a sweet and velvety Pedro Ximenez and the other a dry and nutty Amontillado - aged separately in their own soleras for 10 years. The wines are then used to macerate more than ten botanicals and aromatic herbs like gentian, sage, absinth, coriander and orange peel. Each botanical macerates separately for optimal aroma extraction. The master blender then expertly combines the infused wines to obtain a perfect blend.
Making vermouth in Jerez seems obvious: the Caballero group (which owns Lustau) has a long history producing Ponche (a digestif liqueur made of brandy, sweet sherry and herbs) and Lustau provides the high-quality wines. In fact they’re reviving an old recipe and by starting from well-aged sherries, you’re supposed to get a more natural character than the classic vermouth which requires fortification with raw alcohol.
Tasting Notes: Quite seductive aromas, starting on citrus notes. The orange peel and coriander seeds are in the foreground. A fragrant whiff of old roses. Then darker notes, like mature red fruits. Cinnamon as well. Very round, it’s only after some time that you get hints of gentian or absinth. On the palate very velvety again, with a great balance. Definitely on the sweet side – the bitterness of the Cinchona bark is rather delicate here. Citrus peel again, hints of plums and red grape juice. Smooth finish, bittersweet with a touch of toasted oak.
Drink it chilled from the fridge or on the rocks as it is the best way to enjoy and taste the sherry base. Or perhaps a quick cocktail - Sherry Bardier
Sherry Bardier: 30 ml Lustau Vermut Rojo, 30 ml Bulleit Bourbon, 30 ml Campari, spoonful Lustau PX. Pour all the ingredients into a rocks glass with ice cubes and stir. Garnish with a small wedge of grapefruit.