There’s more to Valentine’s Day than champagne and roses and Belsazar Vermouth have released a limited edition 2010 Vintage Rosé vermouth which will please epicureans, trend followers and purveyors of luxury. The First vermouth of it’s kind, only 2,000 of which have been released worldwide, this handsome bottle will make unique and unconventional gift for loved ones to savour on the special day.
Full bodied, with a fruity taste and spicy bitter note, this is the perfect present for discerning drinkers. The vermouth conjures aromas of raspberry, bitter almond, honey and fine marzipan on the palate and nose. It’s delicious drunk on it’s own over ice, or mixed to create a Martinez cocktail, a twist on the classic Martini which provides a sophisticated and sensory sip. A versatile ingredient, it can be a delicious digestif after a home cooked meal or aperitif ahead of a restaurant reservation.
Paving the way for high quality and innovative vermouth, Belsazar ensure only the best wine is used in the production process and work with award winning bio-dynamic producers in the Black Forest, Germany. The Vintage Rosé is made from rosé wine created fromPinot Noir grapes, which is then aged for 5 years, a rarity in the wineworld. The vermouth is expertly blended with a secret selection of botanicals and small-batch Schladerer fruit brandies that work harmoniously together. The vermouth is then further aged for months to enhance the complex flavours.
Continuing to shake up the vermouth category, the Vintage Rosé joins Belsazar’s range of exquisite vermouth which includes four other variants: Rosé, Dry, Red and White.
RRP £36.50- £40 for a 75cl bottle. Available from the Whisky Exchange, Gerry’s and Master of Malt. ABV 19.5%.
To celebrate the release of the new James Bond film ‘Spectre’, how about a recipe for a vermouth Martini that gives a nod to Bond’s favourite drink, but is delicately stirred to enhance the subtle flavours of Belsazar.
Made with Belsazar Dry, the Martini is enhanced with the fruity floral take and finished with bitter aromatics.
Classic Martini recipe:
40 ml Belsazar Dry
40 ml Tanqueray 10
1 dash orange bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.
The vermouth category is often overlooked, with many customers not realising perhaps how much vermouth impacts a wide variety of serves, with the Martini and Manhattan cocktails probably the two most commonly known. I’ve featured a good range of vermouth brands on this site so far, from the well-known to the newly formed, but a common theme for these is the country of origin. Italy and France are the two stalwarts when it comes to production, and are seen around the country in nearly all bars, restaurants and cafés. It’s these experiences that we bring back to the UK and enjoy with perhaps soda or bitter lemon. But have you ever thought outside the box a little? Perhaps going for Belsazar, a German based vermouth?
Belsazar vermouth can trace itself to 2013 with its two creators, Sebastian Brack and Maximillian Wagner. They saw the lack of German vermouths in the market and looked into the fact that Germany is home to a wide variety of plants, herbs and spices. Wine is also a great export from the country, and the two founders teamed with Philipp Schladerer of The Schladerer Distillery, south of Braden, to combine these elements and produce what we see today.
For the base of each of the four expressions, wines from the South Baden region of Germany are sourced, in particular from award-winning wine makers at Kaiserstuhl and in Markgräflerland. They also keep it local for the acquisition of grape must, a natural sweetener used instead of normal sugar, and utilise the family run company Schladerer in the Black Forest for the fruit brandy that gives a twist to the finished liquids. Ultimately, with a blend of the 6 wines, they are flavoured with up to 20 different spices, herbs, peels and blossoms with the addition of the brandy and must.
Once each expression has been created, the liquid is aged within stone casks, believed that the temperature will be consistent compared to wooden oak barrels.
But how do each fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Belsazar Dry – 19%
Fresh, strudel aromas of grape and apple on the nose. Light, slightly sweet and with notes of orange, bark on the palate. Slightly dry and bitter on the finish, with aromatic apricot lingering.
Belsazar White – 18%
Rich, sweet aromas of dried oranges and fresh peach on the nose. Thin and sweet upon the palate, with a slight explosion of herbal root and dry spice combining to a long, slightly bitter finish.
Belsazar Rosé – 17.5%
Slightly bitter notes of raspberry, grapefruit and orange on the nose. Light, floral and aromatic flavours of currants, peach and quinine on the palate create a dry, more herbal finish.
Belsazar Red – 18%
Rich aromas of vanilla, fudge and cocoa on the nose. Incredibly smooth, velvet almost, with a developing bitter cinnamon flavour around the cherry and spice base. Very dry on the lingering finish.
An interesting range, and definitely offers a different flavour profile to the Italian and French styles. I can see them working very well within the likes of these recipes –
60 ml full-bodied Cuban rum
30 ml Belsazar Vermouth Dry
1 teaspoon of Orange Curacao
3 dashes of Grenadine
Pour all ingredients into a mixing tumbler, fill with ice cubes and stir until cool. Pour into a pre-chilled Martini glass and serve with orange zest.
With Beurre Blanc Belsazar, fennel greens and balm, for 4 persons:
4 common scallops in shells · 100ml fish stock · 50ml Belsazar dry · 2 shallots · 120g butter · 50g French bread · 5g fennel greens · 1 sprigs balm · sea salt, pepper, cane sugar, oil
Cut French bread into slices and dry in the oven at 140 degrees for about 10 minutes. Carefully open the scallops with a knife, separate scallop meat from roe and offal, and clean the shell under running water. Lay the shell aside. Peel the shallots and cut into very small cubes.
Put 50g butter in a pan and let it melt, add breadcrumbs and fry lightly by stirring constantly. Now add 50 g of cold butter to the cooled base sauce and stir slowly with a whisk until the butter has completely dissolved. Scallops in 3 tbsp oil Sear on both sides in a skillet over high heat, add 20 g of butter and remove from heat. Leave the scallops in brown butter to infuse. Fill each bellied scallop shell with buttered breadcrumbs, lay each roasted mussel and sprinkle with Beurre Blanc “Belsazar”.
Garnish with fennel greens and balm. Cover again with a little of buttered breadcrumbs and serve immediately.