Matthiasson makes his Vermouth from the Flora grape, a cross between Sémillon and Gewürztraminer developed in the 1950s by grape breeder Harold Olmo at UC Davis. It’s also a blend of wines from the 2012, 2013, and 2014 vintages.
In all cases, the fruit was picked late when nearly half of the clusters were raisins, then the must was chaptalized with cane sugar to 45° Brix. After fermentation the wine was moved into used barrels with some head space for oxidation, where it reposed for between eight and 32 months. It was then aromatised with infusions of blood orange, sour cherries, and cardoons (for bittering) from Matthiasson’s garden, with an extra dose of coriander, cinchona, wormwood, and blessed thistle.
The result is delectable, a concentrated, tingly, bitter elixir of dark orange peels, pear skin, spice, and sweet tea. The oxidation adds breadth, the fruit adds succulence, the sweetness adds charm, and the tinctures add interestingness. I want this with a cheese course with nuts, quite badly.
$35 (375 ml; sample) | 502 cases of 375 ml bottles made
Tasted at the winery on 14 June 2016.
Love this stuff. I can sip it over ice, and it makes unique cocktails.
It’s certainly not your grandmother’s sweet vermouth.
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