While vermouth has primarily been associated with Italy and France, Spain has an almost equally deep history of both production and consumption. Over the last handful of years it's become much easier to find these vermouths in the States.
This particular example from the Catalonian town of Reus, southwest of Barcelona. I will leave the details of their history to Haus Alpenz, their American importer. My interest was primarily because it happened to be available in 187 mL bottles at one of my local shops and for $4 I was willing to take a chance on it.
Miró Rojo Vermut de Reus
Nose: bright and vegetal - sweet wine backed up by fresh herbs (oregano?), a tomato-y note, and some gently bitter wormwood
Taste: opens sweet and tart, with medium weight, some fresh herbs, and light wormwood bitterness in the background throughout
Finish: more tart (almost verjus) start, with lingering wormwood
This reminds me a lot of what I remember of Dolin Rouge. They both have a sort of savory character that makes me think of marinara sauce. Given that there are plenty of folks in this world who like Dolin, I suspect that this would do just as well for them, but it's not my cup of tea.
In a Negroni this vermouth is pretty shy - it's basically nowhere to be found in the nose, which is dominated by the gin and Campari. It is equally difficult to find in the opening sip, possibly providing some background character to sweeten and round out the Campari. The drink turns into a one-two punch of Campari up front, with a segue into the gin around the middle, which is rejoined by the Campari at the back.
If that's the kind of Negroni that suits you this may be a decent choice, but I'm used to them made with Punt e Mes, which tends to be on the assertive side. I can envision that it might work better with brown spirits, especially rye where the spiciness and vegetal character could be complementary. But overall it just doesn't have the depth to be something that I would want in my arsenal for making cocktails.
Wonjo Agujjim (Seoul, March 2023)
4 hours ago
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