The best vermouths in Spain
It seems like only yesterday that the Peñín Guide decided to take the step of assessing vermouths in Spain. Now five years have gone by and hundreds of vermouths have crossed our glasses, some more quirky, others simple and others stylistically and qualitatively unique. Some days ago, we talked about how is vermouth made, today we are bringing you the best vermouths tasted by the Peñín Guide. The ten infused wines that have moved us the most over the last five years.
Everything around Jerez has a captivating style. The idiosyncrasy of the wines of the Marco is also present in this vermouth, which has been the most highly rated by the tasting team to date. Superb in every aspect, complex in aromas and flavours, to the point where tasting it becomes a sort of historical adventure in which you decipher everything that is inside. Barbadillo has accustomed us to great wines and this infused wine is one more jewel of the winery. Jerez has a long tradition of making vermouth and quinas. In the first half of the 20th century many bodegas owned at least one brand of vermouth. However, the boom of the past was lost and with it the mass production of these wines. The wait is precisely what led us to this V. Ataman, as it is a bottling of vermouth casks from the seventies. With more than forty years in bottle, their owners decided to reserve them in a section of the winery. Their recovery and bottling is partly due to the impulse given by Armando Guerra, then a newcomer to the house, who saw the possibility of bringing to the market a vermouth of those of yesteryear, with the added bonus of its considerable ageing and maturing. In their eagerness to bring it to the market as it was, the vermouth arrived with just over 10º, not enough to be officially classified as a vermouth (15º for semi-sweet and sweet vermouths and 17º for dry vermouths), so they decided to call it V.Atamán.
This project led Montserrat Molina and Armando Guerra to take on a new challenge: to create a new vermouth that would be related to the old vermouth but recreating it from scratch, as no data has been preserved on how this old vermouth was made. The project gave rise to the Atamán vermouth, but this is another story. Nowadays only 250 half-bottles of this jewel are bottled and kept in demijohns to slow down the ageing process.
This historic house from Montilla is responsible for the second best vermouth in Spain. This is a sublime product, with the essence of a pedro ximénez oloroso, with age and forcefulness. While many houses use a neutral wine to start making a vermouth, Alvear's decision was to use a quality raw material with a great personality, in other words, exactly the opposite. This is a very aromatic vermouth with great depth on the palate. It has rich sweet notes of toasted caramel, a smoky background and a hint of dried fruit that brings us closer to its oloroso origin. This type of infused wine places you in the south of Spain from the first sip , where special wines such as the ones made in Montilla give a distinctive singularity to their bottlings.
Padró & Co, is a family business with a long tradition in the production of vermouth in Catalonia. This Padró & Co. Dorado Amargo Suave is a nod to the vermouths of a lifetime, with a strong presence of bitterness but perfectly balanced with the sweetness. We were surprised by the presence of acetaldehyde in this vermouth, which showed some ageing. Aromatically it is very complex, with a myriad of nuances of dried herbs from different families accompanied by a spicy background resulting from its ageing for nine months in semi-new chestnut wood barrels.
Produced by Châpeau Wines in the town of Alfaro, this vermouth, like most of those we are showing you today, is far from the norm. With a base wine made from Viura grapes, its creators have sought to provide a complex and sophisticated style, and the price is a statement of their intentions. The wine has macerated with its formula of botanicals, ageing for 60 months in French oak barrels and resulting in a serious, very aromatic and expressive product.
The vermouths of the Marco de Jerez have the capacity, like few others, to bring you closer to the origins of the beverage. Their organoleptic characteristics bring you closer to a specific part of Spain and to singular wines, in the same way that this Amillo Reserva Especial does. Fruit of the partnership between the Riojan Roberto Amillo and the Altanza winery, this vermouth combines the style of two Jerez wines thanks to the 15-year ageing of the Oloroso and the 6-year ageing of the PX. If that is not enough, the vermouth was aged for 14 months in French oak barrels.
The result is a very complex product that combines the richness of the Pedro Ximénez wine and the complexity of the Oloroso, against a background of roots and plants that gives it a complex and very unique aroma. It is a vermouth that goes off on a tangent.
We could not miss in this selection of the best vermouths in Spain, this outstanding wine produced by one of the houses with the longest history in the production of vermouth and representative of one of the best known types of vermouth in Spain, the vermouth from Reus. This Yzaguirre Edición Limitada is a high-flying creation, complex, citric, fresh, very intense in the mouth and persistent.
We continue in the Vermouth de Reus style with another important house, De Muller. House established in 1851 by a family of Alsatian origin who settled in Tarragona to produce wines and was acquired in 1995 by the Martorell family, the current owners, who have continued the legacy of wine and vermouth production, the latter thanks to the acquisition of Cochs, which had been producing vermouth in Reus since 1947.
De Muller excels in the production of oxidative wines, so when we received this vermouth we saw in it a hint of their traditional Tarragona wines in a vermouth version. This means that in the glass this vermouth shows certain aromas that bring us closer to this oxidative ageing, such as dried fruits and nuts or its complex and pleasant sensation of rancidity. Perhaps the origin of all these nuances is due to the use of centenary barrels with very old wine residues. What is certain is that the product is excellent and worthy of the limelight.
As they themselves define it, this vermouth has been "made from noble soleras of Olorosos and Pedro Ximénez together with a careful selection of 8 botanicals: Wormwood, Savory, Clove, Orange, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Angelica and Cinchona". We return to a type of vermouth that brings us closer to its origins thanks to its style so closely linked to the methods of Jerez. In this case, the vermouth combines three basic elements: the oxidative ageing of the oloroso, the creaminess of a Pedro Ximénez and the flavours of the soleras, all wrapped up with the botanicals that give it its own style. A solid and very typical Jerez vermouth. Maybe that's why we like it so much.
The only white vermouth that has achieved these scores. It has been made from fino and has a very unique style. It is fresh, citric, elegant and very striking. González Byass brings us a recipe based on the company's first vermouth references in 1896, recovered from its historical archives.
Casual and pleasant, perhaps this is the most appropriate description for a vermouth, a drink that is mainly used as an aperitif. This vermouth came directly from the Morro Fi bar in Barcelona's Eixample district. We loved it aromatically, for the presence of liquorice, wild herbs, aromatic coffee and chocolate, and also for its intensity, bitterness and acidity. This vermouth is made by De Muller with an exclusive formula for El Morro Fi.
En Peñín publicamos hoy un nuevo producto editorial, se trata de la Guía Peñín del Vermut, un manual dedicado en exclusiva al vino infusionado por excelencia, el vermut.