This month we were lucky enough to have attended a tasting of Vermuts from across Spain, at Verema, to whose ADN guide to wines we are contributors. There are several new styles of Vermut emerging and it was interesting to note the moves away from the totally traditional style.
Dos Deus Origíns White Vermut.
Cellers Bellmunt produce a range of vermuts, in a traditional manner but with a modern style.
This is Golden yellow in colour, clean and bright. On the nose hints of bitter elements but very light-bodied, dark amber/ebony colour. Clean.
Expressive bitter nose initially, wormwood, clove, floral, mountain herbs,(wild thyme) subtle and fragrant.
Lightly syrupy on entry, with good balance between acidity and sweetness but lacking a little bitterness. Long finish with coffee, cinnamon and lemon, aromatic, expressive, though falling away, particular notes from clove, cinnamon and floral hints (elderflower).
Sweet on entry and lacking a little bitterness for my taste (and thus balance), very tasty, caramel, burnt sugar, fruit and fruit syrups. This has a medium-length finish and certainly has volume and some personality! Their vermuts are available widely on-line.
Dos Déus Estrella.
In a bottle with great presentation, deep amber, long dense legs. Chocolate, cinnamon a sweet introduction, then floral, (lavender) orange, herbs(thyme) tonka beans, green cooking apple peel.
Nice acidity on entry, quite round in the pass, cinnamon and lemon, good length with a subtle bitter finish which is very pleasant. A well-crafted, nice vermouth.
Vermut Dos Déus Reserva Única 2016
Amber and clean. Hints of sherry on the nose. Wormwood and spice, clove, concentrated fruit, orange, honey blue flowers, gentian all jump out, really quite complex.
On entry a bitterness which isn’t so marked on the nose. Nice acidity, not too much sugar, what is there is burnt sugar, caramel and all nicely balanced, good volume and good long finish.
This stood out as a classy Vermut.
Vermut Dos Déus Fumat
This is actually made by toasting the plants over charcoal with peat to give the smoky flavours.
Deep amber colour with long thin legs. From the outset, toasty notes of Islay malt casks with seaweed and peat. Wormwood, sage, fresh balsamic notes which lift the nose, caramel. Very interesting!
In the mouth this is equally surprising. Wormwood and coffee, orange, very rich, complex, clove and cinnamon, vegetal notes, and above all (but not disturbingly so) smooth, oaky, smoky notes. Very different but a really successful marriage. We absolutely loved this.
Zecchini, Fórmula Bianco Vermut.
In a white bottle, from Madrid , Zecchini have been producing vermuts since the 1940s.
Golden yellow, clean and bright. Hint of oxidation on the nose, cinnamon, dried flowers, gentian, and a medicinal syrup note.
Lots of sweet notes in the mouth, and as a result some volume, syrup, a little fruit but needing a touch more acidity.
Zecchini Fórmula Rosso Vermut
In a black bottle, clear, medium bodied amber colour, clean and bright. Cinnamon, lemon, tonka bean, fragrant without being too expressive, floral base, lightly spicy.
In the mouth smooth on entry, nice acidity, good length with wormwood and orange peel predominant.
Light bodied, dark amber/ebony colour. Clean. Expressive bitter nose initially, wormwood, clove, floral, mountain herbs, (wild thyme) subtle and fragrant. Lightly syrupy on entry, with good balance between acidity and sweetness but lacking a little bitterness. Long finish with coffee, cinnamon and lemon. (Almost like a cremaet without the rum!)
Vermut Artesano Selección
This, and the next Vermut are local to Valencia, being made by Bodegas y Distilleries Vidal in Almassara. Both are traditional in style and usually available in Consum.
Coffee/clear amber colour, clean. Light floral and fruity on the nose, with a nice touch of bitterness, cinnamon, but something else hidden too.
In the mouth icing sugar, syrup, lacking a little depth and acidity, but some warmth, cinnamon, reasonable length and easy to drink.
Vermut Gran Artesano Reserva Original
Clear amber colour, clean and bright. Classic English Xmas cake mix on the nose! Nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, orange peel plus some gentian and wormwood. Pleasant.
In the mouth the theme continues, icing sugar, sweet, honey, unctuous with a little fig cake, long with good volume and late bitter notes though lacking a little acidity. Good example of its style.
Vermut Corito Clásico
Made in Torquemada, Palencia , this has 20 botanicals in it. Clear amber with deeper flashes, clean. Interesting ‘more classic’ and certainly complex nose with lemon, floral (lavender and orange flower) apple, spices, cinnamon, clove and wormwood, and also bay leaf, thyme and a little coriander.
In the mouth a traditional marmalade of lemon and orange, (St Clements) with bitter orange at times, smooth, solid, good volume, nice length and very Mediterranean.
Vermut Luis XIV
From Alicante. Red, clear and bright, medium bodied with an appearance of red, Welsh oak. Initially a light toasty note. Aromatic with a sweet note, some citrus, cinnamon, orange, herbs (thyme, sage) with clove spice.
In the mouth clove, with bay leaf, lacking bitter notes, some depth and length.
Vermut Casa de Alberto vermut de Grifo Fórmula Original Crianza 2021
A Madrid taberna Vermut served from the pump locally. Complicated process to make it with syrups being macerated with the botanicals, wormwood being the predominant one. A white wine from the Zalema variety is steeped with herbs and the resulting blend is aged in oak before filtering and bottling.
Clear amber colour with orange flashes, clean. Pleasant expressive nose, floral, orange, wormwood, clove, cinnamon, herbs, (oregano and bay leaf).
In the mouth sweet, marzipan, but it has you salivating as well on account of a good bitterness. Lacking a little acidity, but a very, very long satisfying finish.
Quite different again, a cider based Vermut with 80% Cider apples from Asturias. Aged in chestnut wood barrels.
Clear amber colour. Touch of boiled ham on the nose initially, apple, acetic, volatile, fruity, floral, herby and with a light citrus note. My initial thought was that this was a vermouth made with an element of oxidised ale, but a colleague quickly identified it as cider based. In the mouth it has a strong bitter note, with fresh, sweet balsamic notes and a medicinal note.
This is a bold experiment which works though it won’t be to all tastes! Different, difficult (?) certainly challenging.
This was a varied and interesting tasting as the notes show. Most of the Vermuts are available through on/line stores or in Supermarkets.
VÍ Vid is a project supporting the development of wine knowledge and gastronomy in the Valencian Community. We run wine clubs, give tastings of Valencian wines in English and support wine-makers and bodegas directly. We are also contributors to Verema´s ADN Wine Guide. We can be found in Instagram (Vivid8402), and through our blog VÍ Vid at https://vvidblog.wordpress.com , in https://www.facebook.com/Vivideventos and in Twitter @vividvinos.
Report by Marian Darás and Riki Wigley
Article copyright VÍ Vid / 24/7 Valencia
‘Vermut’ photo copyright VÍ Vid