Ah Klaus. My little Soused Gnome friend. Getting him into trouble is very easy, especially with all sorts of fine spirits around. Yesterday was no less troublesome.
Klaus visited the Channing Daughters Vineyard out in the Eastern Shore of Long Island. How he was able to get himself out there is another story but I'm sure you'll understand if I leave that car ride to another day.
Sitting in front of me, surrounding Klaus are a series of expressions. These are Vermouth made with alacrity and passion by Christopher Tracy.
Christopher is a highly intelligent man. I came to this determination within two seconds of meeting him on Twitter. His avatar is a hand, presumably his own, hand crushing some freshly picked grapes.
This soft spoken, but exuberant young guy is just brimming with soil, air, wind and sustainability. Every thought is an experiment in the life of working with wine. Wine in itself becomes organic, a part of the act of breathing.
Vermouth has a marvelous history. From hair tonic to stomach digestive and even wound sterilizer, Vermouth is quite an art form. Vermouth made its way across the ocean from Europe. Its own history dates back to the Middle Ages if not to the dawn of Civilization.
The act of adding herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables to wine is not new. The Vermouth from Channing Daughters harnessed this act of translating mere ingredients to a metaphor for life. One sip at a time.
I beg you to find these wines, you must taste them. DRINK THEM WITH FOOD. I'm absolutely against the tasting events that don't offer anything more than a dry hard-tack cracker with my wine. Give me a meal! Let me make friends. Isn't this what life is about?
Not an antiseptic room. Wine and Vermouth is about flavor. Isn't that why we drink?
As many of you know, I enjoy writing about wine. In fact way before I even considering liquor to be part of my "Tao" wine was my focus and passion. Although it is increasingly difficult to make a living writing about wine.
But that doesn't stop me from writing about Vermouth. WHAT A VERMOUTH THIS IS..
Channing Daughters produces wines that speak clearly of the Terroir from Eastern Long Island. Surrounded by wind and salt air, extreme weather in the winter and heat in the summer, growing grapes here can be very challenging.
There are hearty folk who attract a very cognizant clientele. They drive out to the Hamptons presumably to discover wines that breathe the sea air into your mind the minute you pop the cork.
Through tasting this series of Vermouth, I too became a fan of the soil, the wet oyster shells and the ocean. And Klaus? He's just happy I get to taste them all again with him. Thank you Klaus.
Tasting Notes. Enjoyed these Vermouth with Sullivan Street Bakery Pizza Bianca dipped in olive oil from Abruzzi. You HAVE to eat with Vermouth otherwise you'll get drunk!
Variation One. Crunch.. Biting into a piece of crispy, cut with a scissor bread is the preface of this lovely, spring-like wine. There are freshly snipped chives and onion grass on my tongue, their garlic flavors dance around on my mouth. There are spring flowers that appear and disappear all at once. There is some sweet, just a touch of a burn and a veritable plethora of herbs across my tongue. A mere sip makes me thirstier and hungrier, stimulating my appetite to eat! Mix the VerVino with some with Busted Barrel Rum from New Jersey if you can get it. The Agricole nose of this molasses based rum is just otherworldly with the Variation One Vermouth. 208 Cases
Spring 2013 release.
Variation Two: 5.5 grams of sugar per liter. No one makes Vermouth this dry in Europe. Across my tongue I'm experiencing summer. The bees are pollinating flowers around me. The grass is green and the trees are bursting into bloom. Soon the canopy of the forest will cover everything. Life moves on in a sip. The Variation Two is bursting with the flavors of late spring and early summer. As in Variation One, locally gathered herbs and even more local raw honey become the base of these delicious Vermouths. When you think of honey, imagine raw honey instead of the sweet glycerin stuff that comes from the supermarket. DRY and sweet. It's a lovely balance. Freshly cut flowers reveal themselves in every sip of the second variation. It's exciting to pair with roast chicken or a winter squash stew. I like this in a small hand blown glass with nothing more than air as a mixer.
Variation Three: Stained a cranberry red color from the base wine (made from one of the various varieties of rose vinified on site) this wine is the sleeper of the road trip. I want to drink it iced with a salad of beets and goat cheese. It would be so easy to get absolutely wrecked on this Vermouth because it's so friendly! And friendly leads to drinking a wee bit too much. So enjoy this Vermouth with food! Then all will be well. I paired this version with fresh roasted pork loin and caramelized shallots. Oh, Klaus is hungry! 84 cases made.
Variation Four: Summer fruits vie with summer herbs and spices in this sumptuous journey into the warmth of the sun. Every sip is a trip back in time. I'm honored to taste this version of Vermouth again, this time with food. A roast beef sandwich on Sullivan Street Bakery Pullman bread. I believe that the best wines need food to show their best qualities through translating food to the atmosphere. To enjoy this wine to its fullest, you must grill some watermelon over hard wood charcoal, let it cool and toss the grilled watermelon with arugula and mint. Try it!
Variation Five: The rule book for Vermouth was tossed out the window upon tasting the fifth variation. The sun is waning slightly, trees are full of fruits and the heat is still a going concern. Even your Vermouth reflects the pure seasonality of nature. Brightly notched with bursts of toasted nuts and warm brown butter over freshly caught Brook Trout, Variation Five is screaming out for a tall glass with my favorite winter weather treat, Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit. That Vermouth, the fifth in the series and a couple ounces of Casa Noble Reposado Tequila with a muddle of grilled melon is my idea of summer in a glass.
The Hedderwick Fizz
1 oz. VerVino Variation Five from Channing Daughters Vineyard in Long Island, NY.
1 1/2 oz. Casa Noble Reposado Tequila
1 oz. Grilled Melon juice (grill melon over wood flame until just charred, cool and juice)
1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Pink Grapefruit flavor)
Angostura Bitters (orange)
Add all ingredients except for the Perrier and the Bitters
Shake really well
Pour over one cube of hand cut ice
Dribble some Perrier over the top and dot with the Angostura Bitters