Sunday, September 12, 2010

NOILLY PRAT FRENCH DRY VERMOUTH


Noilly Prat French Dry Vermouth

A while back this space contained a few words on sweet vermouth.  To recap, in the vermouth world, red is sweet, it's rosso, it's Italian.  White vermouth is usually dry, and usually called French vermouth.

Noilly Prat is produced in Marseillan, in southern France.  The basic wine is produced using white grapes Picpoul de Pinet and Clairette.  The wine stays in a huge oaken cask for eight months, then is placed in smaller barrels and put outside for a year.  The barrels are then brought inside and the wine rests for a few months, but they're not through yet!  Herbs and spices are then added to the wine every day for three weeks.

First produced in 1813 by French herbalist Joseph Noilly, this is the type of vermouth that's used in martinis and other mixed drinks.  According to an old joke, it can also left out of the martini to insure the drinks are so dry there's dust in the urinals.

Dry vermouth can also be enjoyed straight up chilled.  Try it with a twist of lemon.

The wine is straw-colored with a nose that's somewhat medicinal with honey, almond, nutmeg and pepper showing.  It tastes heavily of the spices - pepper, clove and nutmeg all come through strongly on the palate.  The 18% alcohol level is quite noticeable.