La Quintinye Vermouth Royal is made from pineau des Charentes fortified wine, which comes from south-west France, plus a base of 12 different plants and spices.
The range has been developed by master distiller Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, the founder of EWG Spirits & Wine, which created G’Vine Gin using grape spirit and 10 botanicals including the vine flower.
The name is taken from Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinye, the Charente-born botanist to King Louis XIV, the Sun King, who was commissioned in the early 1660s to create the Kitchen Gardens at Versailles.
There are three styles – Blanc, Extra-Dry and Rouge – which are made by adding up to 28 extra plants and spices to the base of botanicals and pineau des Charentes.
La Quintinye Rouge is made from 28 plants and spices and a blend of white wines and red pineau de Charentes. It is amber red with vanilla, liquorice and prune on the nose while on the palate it is rich and intense with notes of caramel, burnt vanilla and warm spice.
The lightly golden Blanc is made from 18 botanicals and a white pineau des Charentes, with floral, citrus and honey notes on the nose and complex but elegant floral and ripe fruit flavours on the palate, ending on hints of bitterness and spice.
The rich La Quintinye Extra-Dry is made with 27 plants and spices and a selection of white wines and white pineau des Charentes. Dappled gold in colour, it has a floral bouquet with spice and anise, with floral and citrus notes on the palate.
Available in 75cl bottles, the Blanc has an ABV of 16%, the Rouge is at 16.5% and the Extra-Dry is 17%.
Jean-Sébastien said: “Most vermouths are made in the Alps on the other side but we are in the south-west. We wanted to come up with an exquisite new vermouth with a little of the brand new and a little of history and heritage.”
The vermouth is made in the grounds of Villevert, the 16th century family estate which is now the headquarters of EWG Spirits & Wine.
Each bottle of La Quintinye Vermouth Royal bears the portrait of Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinye with his gardens in the background.
Also adorning each bottle is an intricate fleur de lys design, the symbol of French royalty, and botanical drawings in a 16th-century style, including wormwood – essential for vermouth which is derived from the word for “wormwood”. The other illustrations are a vine flower, the signature of EWG Spirits & Wine, iris root and angelica, indigenous to Charente.
Jean-Sébastien added: “We strive to create exceptional spirits that are distinctive in character and based around the vine and wines, with flavour combinations which are unique to us. Bringing its noble and elegant characteristics, from flower to full ripeness, the grape is at the heart of all of our creations.”
The new brand was launched globally at Café Royal hotel in London, attended by leading figures in the bar industry including cocktail writer Gary Regan and leading mixologist Nick Strangeway. It is being distributed in the UK by Boutique Brands.
The vermouths are quickly being taken up by top-end bars for cocktails. At the launch, they were used to create twists on classics such as a Negroni but they are also suitable for sipping as an aperitif, particularly the Rouge and the Blanc.
Pineau des Charentes is made by mixing fresh grape juice and cognac from the same estate in the Appellation of Origin, which preserves all the natural aromas and sugars of the grapes.
Produced during the autumn harvest, pineau des Charentes is aged in French oak barrels for at least one year. White pineau is made from white grape – Ugni Blanc, Colombard or Folle Blanche among others – and matured for at least 12 months in French oak barrels.
Red pineau is made from red grape varieties – Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon – and matured for at least eight months in French oak barrels.
The core 12 botanicals used in La Quintinye Vermouth Royal are wormwood, vine flower, angelica, cardamom, cinnamon, Citrus Aurantium, nutmeg, ginger, Cinchona-or quinine bark, liquorice and Quassia Amara.
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