Tasting Notes: Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth

vermouthThere’s no doubt that I’ll get to the history of vermouth and its relation to the Piemonte region of Italy. If you look at the year on the Cinzano bottle in the picture, that’s the year in which the Cinzano company has been around, presumbably making vermouth all the while. For those of you who can’t see the date, it reads 1757. They’ve been making vermouth longer than America has been a country.

That, my friends, is what we call having an impact on your local food scene. At least until they were purchased by the Campari company.

There are several types of vermouth, from dry to sweet, both in reds and whites. The reason for this? Vermouths are essentially fortified wines. They used to stand alone as aperitifs. But over the past 100 plus years, they’ve moved into the “mixer’ category. Which is a shame, I believe.

I’ve tasted the Bianco vermouth as per tradition…as an aperitif, prepared neat over ice. Most don’t drink vermouth this way anymore, but there is precedent for it.

Smell: Vermouth has a very fruity and sweet aroma that reminds me of reminds me of the old Fruit ‘n’ Plenty candies (which apparently I’m the only one who remembers as I cannot find a web link to this long gone candy). It has a very Lemony/cherry smell that is very pleasant.

Look: If you glance at white vermouth, it looks like a thin white wine. Which it is. But when I look up close, I can see various oils floating about. Very trippy.

Taste: Even the dry vermouth is pretty sweet. It ends suddenly, no drawn out aftertaste here. But the taste is quite fruity and pleasant. over ice, it ends up being very crisp. I highly recommend drinking this quite chilled.

Overall: It’s likely that many people will tilt their heads and go “Wha…?” when I write this, but this is quite good as an aperitif. There’s undoubtedly better vermouths out there that have better finishes, and I certainly wouldn’t serve this in place of a quality wine. But 4 oz makes a good drink by itself in a pinch. Color me surprised.

Expect the red vermouth in a day or so, as comparison.

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