Thursday, December 19, 2019

Vermouth Review: Cocchi Dopo Teatro Vermouth Amaro

While Cocchi's Vermouth di Torino has gained ground as a go-to vermouth for many cocktail aficionados, their Dopo Teatro release has been a little more under the radar. Some of this is simply down to price - while the standard di Torino runs ~$20 for a 750 mL bottle, Dopo Teatro is roughly the same price for a 500 mL bottle. While a far cry from the much more expensive Barolo Chinato, Carpano Antica is the only vermouth I can think of at that price point that is regularly mixed.

Dopo Teatro begins on the same base as Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, but additional botanicals including chirètta flowers and more cinchona bark are added to increase the bitterness. The result is bottled at 16.5% ABV.

Cocchi Dopo Teatro Vermouth Amaro

Nose: balanced between sweet, lush wine notes and drier, woodier notes, wine gums, pink bubblegum, strawberry, rhubarb, fresh grass and veggies, vanilla

Taste: rather sweet up front with a tart, citrus-y edge keeping it in check, more bitter citrus and a complex fruitiness around the middle, fading into increased acidity and cinchona bitterness with a touch of vanilla to round it off near the back

Finish: balanced sweetness, acidity, and cinchona bitterness

To me this reads somewhere between the standard di Torino and Punt e Mes, which makes sense given its construction. Its overlap with its less bitter sibling is clear, but at the same time it has the punchier bitterness of Punt e Mes from the extra cinchona. I feel like it handily accomplishes its goal of being closer to an amaro than a traditional vermouth, but that also makes it more dependent on context for me. The standard di Torino is much more approachable with dessert wine character that makes it immediately appealing. Dopo Teatro is somewhat leaner and more focused, much like Punt e Mes, which means that I either need to be in the right mood for it or to use it in a cocktail where its character can be balanced with other ingredients.

In a Negroni the nose is relatively subdued, with fruity notes from the Campari and vermouth, vanilla and lemon, plus hints of something herbal/bitter. The sip opens fairly sweetly with Campari and vermouth sweetness, some creamy vanilla around the middle, a burst of Campari orange extract, then transitioning to unfolding waves of bitterness and black pepper at the back.

While this is undeniably a good Negroni, I don't think the vermouth brings quite enough to the table to justify its price point here. The less expensive Cocchi di Torino puts much more of a unique spin on the drink, whereas the Dopo Teatro tends to hang back. While the extra bitterness is nice, I can get that and more from Punt e Mes, which is also less expensive. Overall I think Dopo Teatro shines most on its own.

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