Variety: 75% Palomino; 25% Pedro Ximenez
Cost: $25 (SRP)
Winemaker’s Notes: Intense spiced aroma, notes of clove and cinnamon stand out, with an elegant bitterness on the finish. On the palate it is smooth and elegant. There can be no doubt as to its origins in Jerez. The perfect aperitif to revive the classic “Vermouth moment.” Enjoy well chilled, on its own or with soda and crushed ice, or as the key ingredient in many of the best cocktail recipes.
My Review: So I’ll admit, when I was offered vermouth to try, I paused. It’s not that I don’t like vermouth – it’s always in my house. I paused, however, because while objectively I know that it’s wine, I always think of it as something that I put into my cocktails (my wife really likes negronis), not something to use as an aperitif. That, probably more than any other reason, is why I accepted the La Copa Vermouth Rojo and Extra Seco (look for my thoughts on that in a day or two).
So….what did I think?
I picked up aromas of clove and cinnamon. I first tried the vermouth over crushed ice as an aperitif. It was smooth and sippable, but I did note that the sweetness (141 grams per litre of residual sugar) of the vermouth made it unlikely that I would want more than a little like that.
Next up I tried the vermouth in a cocktail. I’m partial to a Boulevardier; I make mine using a 1:1:1 ratio of whisky (currently I have Woodford Reserve Rye), Campari, and Vermouth, with a few dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters to pull out the citrus notes of the Campari.
The sweetness that I noted when sipping the vermouth by itself helped to balance the Campari and bitters of the Boulevardier, making it very enjoyable.
Over the last few years I’ve started experimenting with different additions to my cocktails, moving away from some of the standard options I could find at any grocery store and exploring those that required stops in speciality shops. The La Copa Vermouth Rojo is definitely one that I could see searching for. While I don’t know that I’d use it as an aperitif, it’s use in cocktails is certainly appealing to me.
Editor’s Note: I received this bottle for free for review.