Mancino Tasting Notes

Mancino

Vermouth is a category that I’ve touched on a couple of times in the past, although these have mainly been some of the more recognisable names such as Cinzano, as well as covering the likes of Cocchi and Sacred, but I’ve personally noticed a trend that seems to be happening here in the UK, with the rise of some crafted variations hitting our shores.

Mancino vermouth is one such brand. Arriving to us at the back-end of December last year, Mancino hails from Italy, and more specifically, world-renowned Italian bartender Giancarlo Mancino. But how did Giancarlo come to name a range of vermouth’s after himself?

In truth, there doesn’t need to be a stellar history to a brand, or an ingenious idea to make it work, instead, inspiration and dedication seem to be behind the name. So lets take a look.

Giancarlo mastered four years of research, culminating in the year 2011. During these years, he personally found forty different botanicals which he deemed to be worthy to be a part of his new spirit, travelling to the likes of India, Thailand, Vietnam and England and his native Italy. Once found, he utilised a family run traditional mill that dates back to the 1930’s, located in Piedmont, Northern Italy. It’s here that he grounds the botanicals over thirty days.

The distillery he uses after this is considered the birthplace of many wines and vermouths since 1957. The perfect place to steep the botanical extracts within sugar beet spirit (30% abv) before being added to a Trebbiano di Romagna wine base (12% abv). After being mixed, it is cooled and filtered for a week.
Once finished, it will spend the next six months within a stainless steel tank, before being bottled and labelled.

The bottles themselves adorn on the each the image of the town surrounded by King Vittorio Emanuele gold coins. Four bottling’s are currently in production – Secco, Bianco Ambrato, Rosso Amaranto and Vecchio. With this, below, I’d like to present to you my tasting notes –

Mancino Secco – 18%

Infused with 19 botanicals. Gentle aromas of sage and lemon on the nose. Soft, a little dry and hints of the Trebbiano di Romagna wine. On the palate, light, a little bold with a sour flavour that is slowly balanced out. Crisper on the finish, with a slight heat of spice on the end.

Mancino Bianco Ambrato – 16%

Infused with 37 botanicals. A fresh yet dry aroma of elderflower and chamomile on the nose. Instant sweetness on the palate creating a thick texture. Orange flavours are present, with a sharp grapefruit finish that lingers. A dry ending.

Mancino Rosso Amaranto – 16%

Infused with 38 botanicals, 10 of which are used for Amaro. Plenty of rhubarb on the nose, with softer aromas of vanilla and juniper coming through slowly. Soft on the palate, with plenty of subtle sweetness. Hints of iodine, but balance out with spices to create a dry finish.

An absolute stunning range, with a hard to place for a personal favourite. They’re, to me, just not what you expect a vermouth to be like. I’ve much admiration for other brands, but can find it hard to enjoy a couple on their own. These though, worthy of my full attention. If a tipple in a glass is not your fancy, maybe ask your bartender for one of these –

Vintage Negroni

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

30 ml Gin
20 ml Campari
50 ml Mancino Rosso Amaranto
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters

Method –

Stir with ice and strain on the rocks in a rock glass. Garnish with a wedge of orange and grapefruit twist.

or perhaps

Vesper

Glass – 

Coupet

Ingredients – 

40 ml Gin
20 ml Vodka
30 ml Mancino Vermouth Bianco Ambrato
2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters

Method –

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupet. Garnish with an orange twist.

Two classics to be enjoyed at home or in your favourite bar. If you have it at home though, you could say it’s your own nod to Giancarlo’s inspiration. His vermouth takes its hat off to his home town of Pignola in Southern Italy. The main square, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, is where Giancarlo and his friends played football as children.
Oh, and if you’re lucky, there’s also the rare Mancino Vecchio. This vermouth is a variation of the Rosso Amaranto, but has been rested in a single Italian oak barrel for one year making it the first barrel aged, sweet vermouth! With only 800 bottles for the year 2013-2014 across the globe, this vermouth is only available in limited supply!

Seek and enjoy.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. 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.

Giulio Cocchi Tasting Notes

Cocchi

I love a master class. It gives the chance to try a brand that you may have never have experienced properly, or even knew that they had more than one expression available. It also has the opportunity on the odd occasion to meet some fascinating industry figures, whether it’s a brand ambassador, master distiller or in the followings case, a member of the family that owns the brand.
Epernay are a regular venue for these sort of things, and recently hosted the Italian name of Giulio Cocchi, a specialist in wine, courtesy of Robert Jupp of Speciality Brands.

So who are, or indeed who was, Giulio Cocchi?

Giulio Cocchi founded his business in the north-western Italian town of Asti in 1891. As a young pastry chef, he became fascinated with the pairing of food and found in Asti, the capital of Moscato wines, a natural attitude to blend wines and herbs. Giulio began producing aromatic-infused wines and bottle fermented sparkling wines. By the turn of the century two in particular – Barolo Chinato and Aperitivo Americano – had become very popular, not only throughout Piedmont, but also in the export markets of London, New York, Africa and South America.
Giulio Cocchi is now owned and operated by the Bava Family (of whom member Roberto Bava was present at the masterclass), themselves highly renowned wine producers. Today, the winery still maintains its artisan character using only traditional techniques to craft the wines and add no additives or colorants.

It’s three main expressions here in the UK  include the name that is widely regarded as the original Americano, and has been made continuously since 1891 using only natural ingredients. To aromatise the white wine a secret blend of herbs and spices are added to the Muscato base which is then steeped over a period of time. Only produced in small batches, the bottles are laid down for a year before release. Also, to mark the 120th anniversary of when Giulio Cocchi first made vermouth, the production of Cocchi’s original recipe Vermouth di Torino was resumed in 2011. Vermouth di Torino is one of only two geographically protected AOC vermouths (the other being Chambery). This Storico Vermouth di Torino follows the regional tradition of using fine Moscato wine as its base, which is then infused with a secret recipe of local and exotic botanicals. Once produced, the vermouth is stored in barrel to ensure the blend is fully married.
Finally, Barolo Chinato is a fortified wine which was traditionally drunk for medicinal purposes to guard against fevers and stomach upsets, but also gifted as a sign of hospitality. Today it is more commonly used as a digestif and is a great way to round off a meal, as well as being unbeatable with chocolate. Cocchi’s Barolo Chinato still follows the traditional recipe: Barolo DOCG wine is infused with the bark of the Calissaja Quinine tree, red china, rhubarb root, gentian and cardamom seeds as well as a secret blend of herbs and spices before being laid down for lengthy maturation in old Barolo casks.

Roberto Brava
Roberto Bava

So how does the Giulio Cocchi range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes alongside some of the Cocchi sparkling wines –

Cocchi Americano – 16.5%

Slightly bitter on the nose with an aromatic scent of orange wandering. Sweet flavours on the palate with a slight bitterness, but moves into a smooth yet dry finish.

Cocchi Americano Rosa – 16.5%

Sweet and ripe on the nose with a burst of dark fruit. Very sweet on the palate with cherry flavours and bitterness developing. Very long with a slightly dry finish.

Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino – 16%

Liquorice, iodine, vanilla and caramel blend well on the nose and are well-balanced once onto the palate. Bitter sweetness grows but enjoys a fresh finish. Dry at the very end.

Cocchi Barolo Chinato – 16%

Deep rich and aromatic aromas of orange and cherry on the nose, followed by a sweet, long offering of rhubarb, spice and orange with a hint of freshness coming through. 

Brachetto D’Acqui

Ripe on the nose with lots of aromatic scents of rose that lighten near the end. Fresh on the palate with a dry, lingering finish of cherry.

Moscato D’Asti

Light with sweet notes of peach developing a richer aroma. Green apple flavours on the palate that linger and sweeten on a dry finish.

The Cocchi Americano is considered the closest replacement to the now defunct Kina Lillet in a classic cocktail –

Vesper

Glass –

Goblet

Ingredients – 

75 ml Gordon’s Gin
25 ml Polish vodka (Belvedere for example)
12.5 ml Cocchi Americano

Method – 

Shake over ice until well chilled, then strain into a deep goblet and garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel.

Many a bar are catching on to the popularity of the Cocchi range, especially with the versatility of each product within cocktails or simple serves such as sparkling wine. A must have for your drinks cabinet, and give your bartender the challenge of the Vesper above and see why it has become such a classic name.

Check out the rest of the photos via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. 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.