Matthiasson Sweet Vermouth No. 6 Yount Mill Vinyards Napa Valley, USA 375ML
First off, our vermouth is primarily about the wine — the base wine before the herbs, spices, and fruit exracts are added. The wine is mainly a rare variety named Flora, which was bred at UC Davis by the legendary Harold Olmo back in the 1950’s to be a base for fortified wines. Flora is a natural cross between Semillon and Gewurtztraminer. The California industry moved away from these types of wines by the 1960’s and Flora fell into obscurity. The temptation to make wine from this rare and historical variety was too much to resist.
Each year the fruit is picked very late, with some botrytis and raisins at harvest. On top of the naturally high sugar, the must was further sweetened by chaptalizing with organic cane sugar, to around 45 brix.
Batch No. 6 is a non-vintage solera blend of the 2016 through 2021 vintages. The older wine gives the dried fruit and spicy-nutty flavors, and the younger wine is more vibrant with fresh fruits.
For the Vermouth No. 6 we also used a small amount of Viognier, which was harvested as raisins and fermented whole cluster.
The grapes were fermented whole cluster (skins and stems) in open-top fermenters with manual punch downs twice a day. We let the fermentation stop naturally, with 120-170 grams per liter of residual sugar remaining due to the high brix when the wine was pressed into used barrels.
The barrels for aging are a mix of French Oak that previously held our white wines, and 25-year-old French Cognac barrels (that come from France with traces of Cognac still remaining in the pores of the wooden staves).
To complement the natural grape aromas of the Flora we made infusions of our own home-grown blood oranges and sour cherries, along with Organic coriander seed that we purchased. The infusions were made in a base of high-proof neutral grape spirits.
The bittering was mainly done by adding an infusion of our own home-grown cardoons and wormwood (grown at our winery), but we also purchased chinchona bark and Organic blessed thistle to infuse for a little more complexity.
The infusions were added into the wine right before bottling.
This is only our sixth batch in the twelve years since our first release.
The wine was bottled unfiltered. 415 cases of half bottles produced. 17.0% ABV.
The Napa Valley Sweet Vermouth No. 6 makes a great boulevardier, blood and sand, negroni, manhattan, or even better, can be served neat as an aperitif or to accompany dessert.
Read more about our Sweet Vermouth in THE NEW YORK TIMES