Vermut Flores Red Vermouth
The Red Vermouth is a full-bodied sweet vermouth with a base of deep-red Tannat wine, which is the prestigious national grape variety of Uruguay. It is intensely aromatic with notes of clove, cinnamon, blackberry and black plum. Serve it over ice with olives and a slice of orange, with tonic water, or in a cocktail such as an Americano, Negroni, or Manhattan.
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Vermut Flores is an artisanal vermouth produced in collaboration between winemaker Juan Andrés Marichal of Marichal Winery, bartender Álvaro Aniano, and TV host and writer Salvador Banchero. Crafted and infused in small batches, the vermouth is made from grapes grown in the Canelones province of Uruguay. Vermut Flores puts a unique twist on vermouth by using a base of Tannat, Uruguay’s most iconic grape. The vermouth is then infused with a unique selection of 27 botanicals and four flowers: elderberry, chamomile, rose, and hops. The result is a vermouth that is modern, well-balanced, and versatile—serve it chilled over ice or in a cocktail.
Considered one of the most environmentally sustainable countries in the world, Uruguay is also the fourth largest wine producing country in South America. But in contrast to its neighbors (Chile, Argentina and even Brazil) Uruguay keeps more in step with its European progenitors where land small holdings are most common. Most Uruguayan farms are tiny (averaging only about five hectares) and family-run, many dating back multiple generations. At this size, growers either make small amounts of wine for local consumption or sell grapes to a nearby winery. In all of Uruguay there are close to 3,500 growers but fewer than 300 wineries.
On these small plots of land, manual tending and harvesting, as well as low yields are favored; this small agricultural country has never had a need for large-scale chemical fertilizers or insecticides. Their thriving meat industry also follows the same standards: hormones have been banned since 1968 and today all Uruguayan beef is organic and grass-fed.
Uruguay’s best vineyards are on the Atlantic coast, in Canelones and Maldonado (where cooling breezes lessen humidity) or found hugging its border with Argentina. With a climate similar to Bordeaux and soils clay-rich and calcareous, Uruguay is perfect for Tannat, a thick-skinned, red variety native to Southwest, France. A great Tannat from Uruguay will have no lack of rich red and black fruit, lots of sweet spice and a hefty structure. Sometimes winemakers blend Merlot or Pinot noir with Tannat to soften up its rough edges.
The best Uruguayan whites include Sauvignon blanc and Albarino.
Historically a dry, herb-infused, and sometimes pleasantly bitter fine wine, today vermouth is indispensable to any modern mixologist. Typically vermouths are Italian if red and sweet and French if golden and drier in character.