2021 Vermouth Round Up
While I recover from my Covid-19 infection (a mild case, thank you vaccines & boosters!) and Pouring Ribbons is temporarily shut down yet again due to the aforementioned virus, I guess I have plenty of time to finally update what has been and still is the cornerstone of this blog: my vermouth tasting guides!
Over the last few months I've accumulated quite a few tasty bottles and I'm happy to finally get those tasting notes compiled. This year end round-up includes Barbadillo Ataman Vermut, Bordiga Excelsior Riserva Superiore, Brovo Pretty Floral, Cocchi Dopo Teatro, Fred Jerbis Vermut, Miro Rojo, Otto's Athen's Vermouth, and *grimaces through the pain* the new(ish) bottling of Tribuno Extra Dry. Additionally, I finally got my hands on Bitterman's Amer Sauvage and have updated the Gentian Liqueur Tasting Guide with tasting notes.
And hey, I'm sick and out of work so if any of y'all have found value in the content of this blog, tips would be greatly appreciated through the PayPal link at the bottom of the page, or through Venmo (@newratcity) or Cash app ($zombi386). Stay safe out there!
If you're new to the world of vermouth, check out my Introduction to Vermouth post to learn some basics, introduce yourself to some of the terminology used, and get a general overview of how these guides are structured (and why). Then join me back here to get into the details!
Barbadillo Ataman Vermut
Producer: Bodegas Barbadillo
Wine Base: Palomino Fino
Known Botanicals: at least 5, wormwood, cinnamon, bitter orange, elderberry, rosemary
Sugar: 140 g/l
Nose: vanilla, cinnamon, apple cider, cacao, cinchona, roasted peanut, cherry, nutmeg, musty
Palate: wormwood, cinchona, vanilla, orange, lemon, cinnamon, black cherry, cacao, tobacco, acidic
Finish: wormwood, cinchona, vanilla, cacao, coffee, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, black cherry
Additional Notes: Red tinted mahogany color. Medium-light body with an oily salinity. Bitter and acidic. A prominent quinine bite makes for a vermouth which almost straddles the line into quinquina. An amazing vermouth.
Bordiga Excelsior Riserva Superiore
Wine Base: Nebbiolo
Known Botanicals: wormwood
Nose: gentian, marzipan, raspberry, orange, anise, tarragon, raisin, cinnamon
Palate: mint, apple, cinnamon, orange, juniper, fennel, lavender, green cardamom
Finish: juniper, orange, gentian, lemon, fennel, cinnamon, green cardamom, cola, apple
Additional Notes: Deep ruby red. Barrel aged for three years. Medium body. One of those exceptionally rare vermouths made from a red wine base. Bordiga's signature juniper note brightens an already tannic palate.
Brovo Pretty Blanc Floral
Producer: Brovo Spirits
Wine Base: Pinot Gris
Known Botanicals: at least 7, vanilla bean, cardamom, elderflower, chamomile, lemon peel, comfrey, angelica
Sugar: 80 g/l
Nose: green cardamom, elderflower, ginger, lemon, line, clove, Mandarin orange, pear
Palate: green cardamom, elderflower, vanilla, mandarin orange, lemon, mugwort, hay, ginger, allspice
Finish: green cardamom, elderflower, clove, mandarin orange, lemon, lime, vanilla, hay
Additional Notes: Golden orange-tinted straw color. Medium-light body. Unfiltered which results in a slightly cloudy appearance. Sweetened with agave nectar. By EU classification, its sugar content would place it in the Semi-Dry category. The botanicals are macerated in both the wine base and the fortifying neutral spirit. Very floral and confectionary with a pleasant bitterness. Full of green cardamom, elderflower, and Mandarin orange from nose to finish. Looks like I picked up an older bottle as the new bottlings have updated labeling and have replaced "floral" with "blanc."
Cocchi Dopo Teatro
Wine Base: Moscato D'Asti, Barolo Chinato
Known Botanicals: at least 5, wormwood, rhubarb, chiretta flower, cinchona, quassia
Sugar: 220 g/l
Nose: marzipan, cherry, fig, sandalwood, raisin, strawberry, sage, black pepper, coffee
Palate: cherry, wormwood, gentian, fig, coffee, cacao, raisin, sage, black pepper, stewed berries
Finish: gentian, wormwood, cacao, black cherry, lemon, mint, orange, white pepper, marzipan, cinchona
Additional Notes: Rich amber color. Vermouth di Torino. Velvety mouthfeel and texture. A vermouth amaro, most similar to Punt e Mes in terms of outright bitterness. The addition of Barolo Chinato brings balance a distinct winey-ness to the palate which is often lost in the heavy botanicals and sugar of Italian sweet red vermouth.
Fred Jerbis Vermut
Producer: Fred Jerbis
Wine Base: Verduzzo del Collio
Known Botanicals: 25 total, three different varieties of wormwood, two different varieties of orange, angelica, gentian, cinchona bark
Nose: cinchona, marzipan, green apple, gentian, licorice, bar leaf, orange, raisin, cinnamon, clove, gingerbread, vanilla, mint
Palate: black cherry, gentian, cinchona, angelica, cinnamon, vanilla, pear, green cardamom
Finish: gentian, lemon, raisin, cedar, star anise, pear, black pepper, green cardamom, wormwood, juniper
Additional Notes: Red tinted cola brown, Minimal sediment in the bottle as a result of high quality macerations and minimal processing.
Wine Base: 75% Airen, 25% Maccabeo
Known Botanicals: wormwood
Nose: cinnamon, raisin, plum, brown sugar, gentian, lemon, mint, sandalwood, vanilla, black pepper
Palate: cacao, cinnamon, vanilla, gentian, wormwood, mint, clove, orange, black cherry, raisin
Finish: vanilla, black cherry, lemon, white pepper, oregano, mint, cacao, clove
Additional Notes: Cola brown color. Vermouth de Reus designation. Medium-light body and relatively dry – doesn't stick to the palate and isn't particularly bitter. Lots of baking spice. Fruity and surprisingly juicy with some faint smokey wood notes.
Otto's Athen's Vermouth
Producer: See Additional Notes
Wine Base: Roditis (60%), Savatiano (40%)
Known Botanicals: at least 7, wormwood, rose petals, olive leaves, lemon, oregano, kumquat, angelica
Sugar: 120-130 g/l
Nose: cinnamon, lemon, wormwood, rose, cherry, vanilla, clove, sandalwood, mint, prune
Palate: cinnamon, rhubarb, mint, prune, orange, vanilla, wormwood, juniper, cedar, gentian
Finish: rhubarb, vanilla, orange, cinnamon, mint, cinchona, honey, clove, poppy, rose
Additional Notes: Dull red color which reminded me of oxidized strawberry. Medium, oily body. A big cherry/vanilla cola bomb with a floral rose note on the nose and finish. Distilled and bottled in Greece by Optimal Supply Chain under the authority of DS Concepts LTD as a collaboration with award winning Athens bar The Clumsies.
Tribuno Extra Dry (current formula)
Wine Base: N/A
Known Botanicals: N/A
Nose: acetone, white grape, peach candy, guava, mineralic
Palate: white grape, lemon, mint, grass, underripe pineapple, faint cinchona, sea salt
Finish: white grape, lemon, grass, guava, menthol, faint cinchona, stemmy
Additional Notes: When I launched this blog, I found Tribuno Extra Dryso repulsive I performed the tasting twice with two different bottles purchased from two different shops just in case my first bottle had gone "off." Thankfully, along with new packaging, Tribuno seems to have reformulated their Extra Dry for the (incrementally) better. The complete lack of body confirms this is certainly an extra dry expression. Tastes like a watered down white grape juice and tonic water. Leagues better than the bottles I tasted pre-2019 and much more in line with the cloying, synthetic fruit profile of Tribuno's sweet vermouth.
Check out the individual regional Vermouth guides for more detailed information on regional styles and recommended bottles:
Sweet White Vermouth
Sweet Red Vermouth
Quinquina and Americano
Please send any updates or corrections to email@example.com.