The start of 2014 saw a whole host of vermouth hit the market. The likes of Riserva Carlo Alberto and Mancino arrived to bulk up the traditionally Martini & Rossi, Noilly Prat and Cinzano led category. One brand that attempted to stand out the most came to light in January from a star-studded launch, held at London’s Cafe Royal Hotel, and usher in the three expression range of La Quintinye Vermouth Royal.
A part of Euro Wine Gate, the team behind the likes of G’Vine, Esprit de June and Excellia, the French vermouth uses its roots and heritage of France itself to create a brand that differs in every way from your usual vermouth names. A perfect example of this would be the naming ‘La Quintinye’, coming from the same name of a herb and vegetable garden within the palace of Versailles. The grapes used are of course French, Pineau des Charantes to be exact, which itself is a fortified wine that is created by combining grape juice and Cognac eau de vie. A signature of Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, creator and Master Distiller, is the use of the vine flower from the Cognac grapes of the ugni blanc variety. Also used within G’Vine and Esprit de June, the vine flowers are added alongside artemisia (a part of the wormwood family).
Each expression changes from here onwards, as the use of plants and spices creates the desired finish. Below, I look at each one and offer you my tasting notes –
La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Extra Dry – 17%
A combination of 27 plants and spices. Very dry on the nose with herbal aromas dominating. Bold hits of citrus cut through, with spice following. Rather light on the palate, with a more aromatic experience with bitterness being created from the likes of sage, spice and wood. Short and very dry.
La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Blanc – 16%
A blend of 18 botanicals. Dry, herbal aromas on the nose, with grape scents blending with citrus peels on the finish. A little sweet on the palate with a thick liquid coating. Floral flavours of citrus and grapes create a lingering finish.
La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Rouge – 16.5%
A blend of 28 plants and spices, as well as white wines and red Pineau des Charantes.
Slight sweetness on the nose with a herbal and deep fruit hit, predominately cherry. Very sweet on the palate, with plenty of ruby-red fruits creating a fresh yet short finish.
A great range, with the Blanc variety the stand out for me. The use of the vine flower once again offers a unique perspective on the vermouth category as it did within gin and liqueurs, and just reigns it in without alienating hardcore traditionalists. The release of both 70 cl and 37.5 cl size bottles is a bartenders dream, and for yourself reduces the problem of tainted vermouth once opened and used sporadically. Although not eliminating it fully, you stand a better chance of enjoying a good vermouth with a less of a worry.
Although I’m yet to see any official cocktails released for the range, I know that the Rouge would stand up well within a Negroni and Manhattan. Lately, I’ve even seen the range involved, and winning, a Woods 100 over-proof rum cocktail competition. That’s some good work when it can help round-off a flavour profile like Wood’s 100! One to enjoy at home for sure, enjoy on its own, over ice, or within some of those simple classic recipes.
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