Firstly, aperitif wines…
Aperitif wines are aromatised wines. This means that the wine has been infused with botanicals that add flavor and color. The main types of aperitif wines include vermouths, quinquinas and americanos.
Here is a break down of fortified and aromatised wines courtesy of vermouth101.com
Fortified Wines (non-aperitif wines) – Sherry, Port, Madeira, Marsala (some), Pineau des Charentes
Fortified & Aromatised Wines (aperitif wines) – Vermouth, Quinquina, Americano, Barolo Chinato, various vino amaros
What is vermouth?
Vermouth’s are infused with botanicals (aromatised) and fortified. A fortified wine has spirits added resulting in a higher alcohol percentage. In most cases, the vermouth is fortified with a neutral grape brandy.
How strong is vermouth?
Aperitifs and fortified wines are low in alcohol when compared to spirits but are higher than your average wine. They are similar in alcohol percentage to port and sherry – usually between 13%-24%
Why is it called vermouth?
The word “vermouth” derives from the word “wormwood”. It’s inherited from earlier Hungarian and German wormwood-infused wines of the same name.
What are the different styles of Vermouth?
Torino / “Italian Vermouth”
- Rosso / Sweet Vermouth / Vermouth di Torino
Examples: Martini & Rossi Rosso, Cinzano Rosso, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
- Vermouth all Vaniglia
Example: Carpano Antica Formula
- Vermouth con Bitter
Example: Carpano Punt e Mes
- Vermouth Chinato
Examples: Alessio Vermouth Chinato, Cocchi “Dopo Teatro” Vermouth Amaro, Martini Gran Lusso
- Vermouth Bianco
Examples: Martini Bianco, Carpano Bianco
Marseilles / “French Vermouth”
- Dry Vermouth
Examples: Noilly Prat Original Dry, Noilly Prat Extra Dry
- Chambéry Vermouth
Examples: Dolin Rouge, Routin Original Rouge
- Chambéry Blanc
Examples: Dolin Blanc, Routin Blanc
- Chambéry Dry
Examples: Dolin Dry, Routin Dry
Spain / Vermut de Reus / Vermut de Jerez
Examples: Miro Vermut de Reus, Vermouth Perucchi, Yzaguirre Vermouth
Examples: De Muller Reserva, Priorat Natur Vermut
As a general rule, French vermouths are known for being lighter and dry in style whilst the Italian vermouths are known for being red, spicy Torino-style vermouths.