Wine Wednesday is about this lovely bottle of Italian vermouth that was a gift to me awhile back. Carpano Antica Formula is best served chilled, over ice. As an aperitif or to enjoy after a meal. First invented in 1786 in Turin by Antonio Benedetto Carpano, it is made from white wine and Piedmontese Muscate–wines of southern Italy. Its taste comes from selected brewed mountain herbs, although the most prominent feature is the vanilla bouquet, with notes of spices and dried fruit such as star anise, orange peel and dates. I pulled this description of taste from their site, as the flavor is really quite complex and I wanted you all to get a better sense of it than if I just said it tasted vanilla citrus herb-y.
A little vermouth tutorial, as I think vermouth is making a comeback and there was lots I did not know about it until recently so here is a bit of background by way of trusty Wikipedia.
Vermouth is an aromatized wine, a type of fortified wine flavored with various botanicals (roots, barks, flowers, seeds, herbs, spices). The modern versions of the beverage were first produced in the mid to late 18th century in Turin, Italy. While vermouth was traditionally used for medicinal purposes, its true claim to fame is as an aperitif, with fashionable cafes in Turin serving it to guests around the clock. However, in the late 19th century it became popular with bartenders as a key ingredient in many classic cocktails that have survived to date, such as the Martini, the Manhattan, the Rob Roy and the Negroni. In addition to being consumed as an aperitif or cocktail ingredient, vermouth is sometimes used as an alternative white wine in cooking. Historically, there have been two main types of vermouth, sweet and dry. Resulting from demand and competition, vermouth manufacturers have created additional styles, including extra-dry white, sweet white (bianco), red, amber (ambre or rosso), and rosé. Vermouth is produced by starting with a base of a neutral grape wine or unfermented wine must. Each manufacturer adds additional alcohol and a proprietary mixture of dry ingredients, consisting of aromatic herbs, roots, and barks, to the base wine, base wine plus spirit or spirit only – which may be redistilled before adding to the wine or unfermented wine must. After the wine is aromatized and fortified, the vermouth is sweetened with either cane sugar or caramelized sugar, depending on the style. Italian and French companies produce most of the vermouth consumed throughout the world, although the United States and the United Kingdom are also producers.