Manchester-based importer Morgenrot has bolstered its selection of speciality Spanish tipples with the launch of two vermouth brands, Padro & Co from Catalonia and Forzudo from León.
Italian and French vermouths have received greater attention in the past but the Spanish have been enthusiastic makers of the drink they call vermut since the mid-19th century.
The first vermouth brand, Padro & Co, heralds the wine-making origins of the Padro family, dating back to 1886 and to the village of Brafim, Tarragona.
Padro & Co vermouth is produced using an infusion of mountain herbs noted for their small roots and aromatic flowers. The wine then absorbs these aromas while ageing in wooden barrels for the next two years. A second formula of plant bark and roots found in the local area is then added following the ageing process to increase the intensity of the flavours and give the vermouth its bitter essence.
Morgenrot’s three Padro & Co vermouths are Rojo Clasico, Dorado Amargo Suave and Blanco Reserva.
Rojo Clasico is a classic red vermouth that evokes the “herbaceous” and “medicinal” aromas of the vermut pre-lunch drink which Spanish people enjoyed every Sunday at noon at neighbourhood bars or cafés.
Dorado Amargo Suave is a mildly bitter, golden vermouth made with Macabeo grapes. Artemisia is the main herb which was originally used to make vermouth, however, Padro have experimented with another herb, Gentian, which contains the bitter substance, Amarogentin.
The third vermouth, Blanco Reserva, is enhanced with the zesty aromas of the Mediterranean citrus fruits that are so intrinsic to the surroundings of the winery.
Made from Macabeo and Xarello harvested in Padro’s own vineyards; after vinifying the grapes, in the winter following the harvest, sugar and herbs are added to create a base vermouth. This is then kept in 50-year-old chestnut barrels, used originally for transporting wine but now adapted for storing vermouth.
A more “modern approach” to this traditional drink, Forzudo explore and study the latest food trends to create classic products using “indigenous ingredients with a modern twist”.
Based in León, Vermouth Forzudo is the first product to be released by the company and features wormwood, coriander, brown orange, boldo, mint, cinnamon, cardamom, thyme, vanilla, gentian and rhubarb. Doña Blanca wine is used due to its taste, complexity and aroma.
Vermouth Forzudo is dark red with copper glints with ripe fruit aromas with herbs, vanilla, toffee, notes of a spicy chai. The palate is a blend of crispness and sweetness.
The new vermouths are joining Morgenrot’s Spanish lines up of wines, beers, sidras, sherries and liqueurs, and are available to both the on-trade and off-trade.
Morgenrot’s sales director Graham Archibald said: “Vermouth has often been an overlooked drink disregarded to the back of the drinks cabinet or just used for cocktails, but things are definitely changing with the trend for aperitifs growing in the UK.
“Although a key ingredient for mixologists in classic cocktails too, it has been traditionally drunk neat over ice in Spain and I believe this is when you get the true taste of vermouth.
“The new launches are sure to intrigue as they not only taste fantastic but also look stunning in the bottle due to their eye-catching designs.”