BODEGAS LUSTAU VERMUT
Jerez de la Frontera sits on the southwestern tip of Spain, where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic. At dawn, the spires of ancient Cathedrals, and flagstones of picturesque markets and squares, are bathed in red light as day breaks over the city, and stretches far away over white, sandy hills striped with rows of vines. Summer days are hot and arid, with cool breezes blowing off the sea in the early mornings, to deposit much needed moisture in the soil of the vineyards. It is here that Jose Ruiz-Berdejo founded his Bodega in 1896. In 1940, his son-in-law, Emilio Lustau, took over the house, and began its transformation into what is today recognized globally as the absolute flagship brand for production of exceptional Sherry wines.
Vermut de Jerez:
Sherry is an utterly unique wine, bursting with nutty flavours and sweet, salty, umami tastes that develop over decades of aging in barrel – far longer than any normal wine or spirit would be aged. It captures the flavour and character of its region perfectly, offering the drinker a complex blend of the familiar and the exotic – the classic European tradition of winemaking, with an infusion of distinct, aromatic, earthy otherness imparted by the soil of Jerez and the intangible vagaries of time.
The Vermut de Jerez is an interesting standard-bearer for this blend of the known and the unknown. Normally Vermouth begins its life as a low-alcohol wine, which producers allow to age for a short period of time, before blending with sugar syrup and a neutral, fortified grape spirit. It is normally not presented as a premium spirit, and in modern times is considered more as a blending component for cocktails than a compelling product on its own.
Lustau has done something remarkable with their vermouth. Rather than beginning with an indistinct base wine, they have used their own finely aged Sherry as a starting point for the blend, creating a superior and unique finished product unlike any other vermouth on the market. The spirit is mahogany in colour, with reddish glints. Sweet aromas of ripe fruit mix with citric, herby and smoky notes. The palate is velvety, intensely flavourful, and well balanced. It is compelling on its own in a way that few other vermouths produced anywhere on earth are.
Cocktails & Food:
While the Vermut de Jerez might be extremely compelling on its own, it is in concert with food or mixed drinks that it becomes truly revelatory. For those looking for a food pairing: play to its Sherry roots and serve it with salted or unsalted nuts, cured and aged cheeses, cure meats and bread (fermented breads especially!).
For those looking for something truly different… try this vermouth in a cocktail instead. Anywhere that a classic cocktail calls for vermouth – such as a Manhattan, a Negroni, or Adonis – Vermut de Jerez will have transformative effect. This vermouth is richer, sweeter, more flavourful, and more finely balanced than most alternatives, leading to a cocktail with an increased aromatic profile, and an intoxicatingly alluring palate. The vermouth will play well with gin, whiskey, some bitter spirits, classic fruit liqueurs, as well as citrus fruits, herbal flavours and subtle mixers like tonic and soda. It is in fact so flexible, that for any mixologist, whether aspiring or established, the sky is really the limit when choosing its blending partners.
Case Pack: 6 x 750mL
“It’s great to see such a nice vermouth made in Jerez. It’s a rather sweet and round version, with delicate herbal notes and great citrus touches. Perfect for cocktails and a great sipping drink on its own. It’s here to stay.”
4 Stars out of 5
Spot Offer #118: 2012 Clos Mogador
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