Gancia, available all over the world, yet a sort of unsung brand when talking vermouth.
Shall we rectify a little?
Carlo Gancia was born back in 1829 in Borolo, Italy and studied in Reims, France to learn the production techniques for Champagne. He returned to Italy in 1850 to establish the ‘Fratelli Gancia’ Company and set to redefine the Champagne style by exploiting and re-elaborating his knowledge and applying them to the typical muscat grapes that were cultivated in the area. With this, Gancia created a new type of champagne in 1865 and called it Italian Sparkling Wine.
At the age of 18 though (back in 1847), Carlo became the nominated partner, and later Director, of the company Dettori &C., where he created a new recipe to refine the taste and the aroma of Vermouth. Following his past intuition, Gancia used the moscato grape as a base for the infusion of the herbs commonly associated with vermouth. It’s here that the Gancia expressions came into focus.
1927 saw the foundation of the French Gancia company at Marseilles arise with the idea to promote the Bianco and Americano expressions, with both becoming very popular in France as a result. Two years later, Turin born Eugenio Colmo designs the famous poster “Vermouth Bianco”, and in 1950, the company celebrated its First Centenary with the official launch of Gancia Rosso.
The three usual names, Extra Dry, Rosso and Bianco, alongside the Americano, are all produced in Canelli and are a base of young white wines (or red in the case of the rosso) and a selection of herbs. The production itself is split into three phases, seeing phase one as the selection of the most neural wines which are perfect to combine the selected herbs and spices. The mix of herbs and spices itself is turned into a liquid with an abv of 30%. This is then blended with the selected wine alongside sugar and extracts, then filtered and refined within tanks. Once tasted and deemed ready, it’s bottled and enjoyed.
So how does each fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Gancia Extra Dry – 18%
Soft fresh herbal notes on the nose, with rich grape and smooth sugar beet notes. Light on the palate, with a thin texture of fresh citrus, ripe herbs and dry bark. Natural sweetness underlines, but a lingering dry finish is prominent.
Gancia Bianco – 16%
Bold vanilla and banana notes on the nose, with plenty of natural, fresh sweetness coming through. Aniseed, soft lavender and pomegranate come though. A light kick of sweetness on the palate, turning slightly sharp once it develops. Plenty of muscato grapes shine through, with stewed apple and ripe pear flavours joining on the lingering and slightly dry finish.
Gancia Americano – 14.5%
Light, natural sweetness comes through on the nose. Subtle wormwood is present, as is orange rind. Thick texture on the palate, with a well-balanced offering between sweet and bitterness. Genting notes are present, as is the expected orange and grape flavours. A bold finish with dry spices offering a subtle, lingering finish.
Gancia Rosso – 16%
Rich, fresh notes of herbs and dry spice on the nose, with bold red berry and soft sweetness. Thin texture with a fresh fruit base on the palate. Sharp herbal notes come through, with some stewed spices offering a long, slightly bitter finish.
A really good range of vermouth here, and of course are versatile enough to not just have chilled –
35 ml Gancia Vermouth Rosso
35 ml Gancia Americano
35 ml Soda Water
Combine each ingredient over an ice filled glass and stir. Garnish with a wedge of fresh orange.
Although yes, Gancia may be seen more as perhaps a wine and sparkling wine brand over vermouth, with much of their history focusing over the two categories, the vermouth is an unsung hero within the aperitif world and is not one to gloss over. Worth shaking up your drinks cabinet at home and treat yourself to a straight Gancia Bianco, or a round of Americano cocktail with friends.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.