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  • Brian Tasch

French Sweet Red Vermouth Tasting Guide

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

While the French aren't particularly well-known for their sweet vermouth, they sure do produce some good stuff.


Like most French vermouth, their sweet red is notably less sweet than Italian vermouth and a bit brighter across the board on account of the use of mistelle as a sweetener. French sweet red vermouths are also generally less herbaceous than Italian sweet reds and less spicy than Spanish reds, with a stronger emphasis on fruit.


France consistently makes vermouths of exceptional quality. Noilly Prat Rouge is my favorite of the bunch, with its bright fruit and chocolate notes. For the same reason, Boissiere Sweet Vermouth cheats its way into the top of the pack. Routin Rouge is another well-balanced offering.


For a lighter, typical French style vermouth with an herbaceous backbone, I recommend Dolin Rouge. For something heavier and sweeter, I'd suggest La Quintinye Rouge.


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!


Boissiere Sweet Vermouth

Origin: Italy (Formerly France)

Producer: Boissiere, distributed by Palm Bay International

ABV: 18%

Wine Base: N/A

Known Botanicals: at least 7, including wormwood, marjoram, chamomile, clove, coriander, and elderflower

Sugar: N/A

Nose: raisin, cinnamon, orange, lavender, strawberry, rose, chamomile, lemon, gentian, marjoram

Palate: wormwood, blackberry, dark cherry, clove, cinchona, lemon, orange

Finish: blackberry, grapefruit, clove, nutmeg, eucalyptus, wormwood, raisin

Additional Notes: Deep red color. Quinine heavy-bitterness. Originally distilled in the Chambery region since 1857 – production moved to Italy in 1971. Because of this, I've opted to include Boissiere in both my French and Italian guides.


Dolin Rouge

Origin: France

Producer: Dolin, distributed by Haus Alpenz

ABV: 16%

Wine Base: Ugni Blanc/Trebbiano

Known Botanicals: at least 50, including wormwood, hyssop, genepy, chamomile, cinchona bark, rose petals, rhubarb, curacao orange, and coriander

Sugar: 130 g/l

Nose: sea salt, oregano, gentian, lemon oil, sarsaparilla, clove, cinnamon, fig, tobacco

Palate: cinchona, cinnamon, lemon, nutmeg, wormwood, honeysuckle, vanilla, birch, oregano

Finish: vanilla, cinnamon, orange, wormwood, tobacco, cinchona, blackberry

Additional Notes: Dark copper color. Opens up nicely with dilution. There's a good balance here between herbaceous and confectionary.


La Quintinye Rouge Vermouth Royal

Origin: France

Producer: La Quintinye

ABV: 16.5%

Wine Base: Ugni Blanc/Trebbiano

Known Botanicals: 28 total, including wormwood, angelica, cinnamon, quassia amara, green cardamom, vine flower, licorice, iris root, bitter orange, nutmeg, and cinchona bark

Sugar: N/A

Nose: gentian, poppy, marigold, lemon, rose, coffee, cocoa, cinnamon, marzipan, prune

Palate: fig, chocolate, toffee, tobacco, caramel, oregano, butterscotch, gentian, almond, poppy, rose, licorice

Finish: toffee, fig, raisin, orange, vanilla, cinnamon, tobacco, cherry, juniper

Additional Notes: Auburn color. No added caramel. Fortified with Pineau des Charentes Rouge. Heavy mouthfeel. Sweet, confectionary, and floral.


Maurin Rouge

Origin: France

Producer: Maurin, distributed by Pacific Edge Wine & Spirits

ABV: 17%

Wine Base: N/A

Known Botanicals: 15 total, including wormwood

Sugar: N/A

Nose: gentian, lemon, cinchona, raspberry, orange, clove, tobacco

Palate: orange, cherry, raisin, cinnamon, green cardamom, clove, star anise, gentian

Finish: gentian, cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, vanilla, cranberry, green cardamom

Additional Notes: Rich ruby red color. Seemingly low sugar with a light body. Very good if not a little straightforward – not a ton of movement on the palate. Juicy and fruity.


Noilly Prat Ambre

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 16%

Wine Base: Picpoul, Clairette

Known Botanicals: at least 13, including wormwood, cardamom, cinnamon, lavender, vanilla, rose bud, coriander, and orange

Sugar: 168g

Nose: fig, raisin, prune, cinnamon, pomegranate, toffee

Palate: chocolate, cinnamon, burnt orange, raisin, vanilla, stewed fruit, cola

Finish: tobacco, vanilla, orange, caramel, toasted almond

Additional Notes: Amber color. Medium body. Not a traditional sweet vermouth, but significantly sweeter than the Noilly Prat Rouge. Heavy on the oxidized sherry notes. Recently lost distribution to the USA (2019). The US Noilly Prat website was updated in 2020 stating the Ambre is made with 13 botanicals, though previously it has been confirmed to contain at least 40. Awaiting confirmation to see if the Ambre was pulled and the recipe reconfigured for relaunch.


Noilly Prat Rouge (discontinued)

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 16%

Wine Base: Picpoul, Clairette

Known Botanicals: at least 25, including wormwood, chamomile, nutmeg, bitter orange, gentian, saffron, cocoa bean, clove, and cinchona

Sugar: 140 g/l

Nose: clove, licorice, fig, cinnamon, orange, raisin, vanilla, blackberry, gentian, cedar

Palate: cocoa, cherry, raspberry, cinnamon, cinchona, mint, honey, chamomile

Finish: nutmeg, vanilla, lemon, mint, cacao, black currant, apricot

Additional Notes: Ruby color. Full of red fruit and cacao start to finish. Formula discontinued and updated in 2020.


Noilly Prat Rouge (2020)

Origin: France

Producer: Noilly Prat, distributed by Bacardi Limited

ABV: 16%

Wine Base: Picpoul, Clairette

Known Botanicals: at least 29, including wormwood, chamomile, nutmeg, bitter orange, gentian, saffron, cocoa bean, clove, and cinchona

Sugar: 150 g/l

Nose: vanilla, raspberry, black tea, lemon, cinnamon, strawberry, cinchona, mint, pear

Palate: wormwood, lemon, raspberry, cinchona, mint, black currant, cherry, clove, apricot

Finish: wormwood, raspberry, straw, black tea, cranberry, lemon, black pepper, ginger, clove, cacao

Additional Notes: Ruby color. Full of red fruit and cacao start to finish. Current formula as of 2020.


Routin Rouge

Origin: France

Producer: Distillerie des Alpes

ABV: 16.9%

Wine Base: Cabernet Sauvignon, Jacquere

Known Botanicals: 24 total, including wormwood, coriander, clove, lavender, and vanilla beans

Sugar: 110 g/l

Nose: fig, raisin, orange, dates, cinnamon, millet, tarragon

Palate: black cherry, cinchona, lemon, cinnamon, date, cola, toffee

Finish: cinnamon, raisin, orange, fig, vanilla, cocoa, grapefruit, cinchona

Additional Notes: Red-tinted brown appearance. Chambery style vermouth. Technically a semi-sweet red vermouth rather than a sweet vermouth on account of sugar content. Medium-light body with a bright, cinchona and black cherry attack over plenty of cinnamon baking spice.


Notably missing: Guerin Rouge. Will accept donations of any missing vermouths.


Vermouth Guides


Check the individual regional Vermouth guides for more detailed information on regional styles and recommended bottles:


Dry Vermouth


French Dry Vermouth

Italian Dry Vermouth

Spanish Dry Vermouth

American Dry Vermouth

The Complete Guide to Dry Vermouth


Sweet White Vermouth


French Sweet White Vermouth

Italian Sweet White Vermouth

Spanish Sweet White Vermouth

American Sweet White Vermouth

The Complete Guide to Sweet White Vermouth


Sweet Red Vermouth


Italian Sweet Red Vermouth

French Sweet Red Vermouth

Spanish Sweet Red Vermouth

American Sweet Red Vermouth

The Complete Guide to Sweet Red Vermouth


Quinquina and Americano


The Complete Guide to Quinquina and Americano


Please send updates and corrections to brian@corpserevived.com.

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