There is a delicate balance when it comes to pairing food with wine. Each type of wine has a unique flavour palette that pairs well with various foods. The popular vermouth often accompanies brunch or is served right before lunchtime to stimulate the palette as an aperitif. That doesn't mean that vermouth is limited to lunch dates, however. Vermouth ranks high on our list of versatile wines that you can pair with delicious foods and is an excellent choice for any host or hostess to serve. Discover the best pairings for your next meal by exploring the different flavours of vermouth wine.
Styles And Flavours Of Vermouth
Historically, vermouth was infused with wormwood and used as a medicinal drink. In late 17th-century Italy, a merchant introduced other herbs and botanicals to the infusions, and the first sweet vermouth emerged. A few decades later, a Frenchman developed the first pale, dry vermouth. Now, vermouth wines can vary widely in flavour composition because the regions they hail from contribute to different botanicals in the infusion process. The base wine is typically fortified with distilled alcohol, often a grape spirit, to bring the alcohol content up around 16% to 22%.
Dry vermouth is made with a white wine grape base with very little sugar added during the process. The botanicals infused into this fortified wine lend to a delicate melding of flavours, mainly floral, herbaceous, tart, and dry. Sometimes, dry vermouth may be slightly sweet if it is aged long enough, but they are mostly very dry wines. Dry vermouth is a versatile ingredient for mixed drinks, most commonly seen in martinis, but it also balances out an overly-sweet cocktail. It is a favourite among wineries, bars, and wine connoisseurs because of its unique taste profile.
Madonna vermouth is an excellent selection with harmoniously balanced floral aromas and flavours that are surprisingly easy to sip for very dry vermouth. This wine features notes of chamomile, lilac, and lavender, with flavours of sumac, golden apples, and other flowers between each taste.
Traditionally, sweet vermouth is made with a red wine grape base, but it is becoming more common to use a white wine that has been coloured with food dye or natural colouring agents. The base wine is fortified with high-proof alcohol, often a brandy, and sweetened and infused with botanicals like warm spices, florals, and herbs. Some of these are too sweet to be enjoyed alone, but they go great in popular cocktails like a Rob Roy, Manhattan, or Negroni.
Traynor Family Vineyard's sweet vermouth is an exquisite example of this style of vermouth that is slightly sweet with some bitter notes from over 20 different botanicals grown on our farm. Notes of wormwood, rose, mint, and hyssop command the flavours of this 18.5% red blend vermouth.
Blanc And Bianco Vermouth
Blanc and Bianco mean "white" in French and Italian, respectively. While both share some similarities, the key difference between the two is Bianco vermouth tends to be more vanilla-forward, and the Blanc variety emphasizes its floral aromas and flavours with a slight sweetness.
Blanc or Bianco vermouth is like a midway point between the flavours of dry vermouth and the sweetness of sweet vermouth. The base wine is made from white grapes, and a touch more sugar is added than in dry vermouth. These styles can still have the lighter floral flavours found in dry vermouth, but other bolder or bitter flavours, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, may be added to give them a richer body. Blanc and Bianco vermouths can vary the most between producers and work well in a variety of cocktails or on their own with some ice and seltzer water.
Foods That Go Well To Eat Or Cook With Each Style Of Vermouth
With the resurgence of this classic drink for sipping and cocktails, you may be wondering what kind of food you should eat to enhance the delicate flavours of the vermouth. A vermouth can have hundreds of different flavours and aromas, so naturally, many different foods can accompany it.
Try Mild Or Tricky Flavours With Dry Vermouth
Dry vermouths pair very nicely with an assortment of seafood dishes, especially anything with shellfish. Very floral-heavy dry vermouth makes a fine aperitif before a meal and also pairs well with foods you can find on a charcuterie board or antipasti, like olives, nuts, and aged goat cheese. Dry vermouth adds complimentary layers of flavour to dishes with seafood, fish, chicken and vegetables.
Balance Savoury Dishes With Sweet Vermouth
The fruity sweetness of cocktails crafted with sweet vermouth complements savoury dishes and salads perfectly. Summer salads that feature chicken and fruit or Asian stir-fry dishes compliment the full-bodied and sugary flavours of this type of fortified wine. When cooking with red meats, braising vegetables, or carmelizing onions, utilizing sweet vermouth in the recipe adds a depth of flavour that will surely be a favourite at your next dinner party.
Dessert And Blanc Vermouth Make A Lovely Dinner Finale
The delightful balance of floral and bittersweet elements of blanc vermouth makes it the perfect companion to your dessert. Sweet treats with honey, coconut, or chocolate blend beautifully with this after-dinner digestif. In the kitchen, the botanical balance of a slightly sweet blanc vermouth adds a delicious complexity of flavours to sauces for dishes with chicken, fish, and pasta.
Sustainable, Organic, And Ethical Winemakers
At Traynor Family Vineyard, our vermouths are thoughtfully crafted with organic and sustainably grown or foraged local ingredients. When you drink vermouth from our collection, you'll discover a harmonious blend of floral, sweet, or spiced aromas and flavours honouring the incredible natural environment of Prince Edward County, Ontario. We use environmentally-friendly products and techniques like
- Permaculture swales
- Fertilizer made from composted vegetable waste
- Mixed grass between vines to promote healthy microflora and fauna
With our vermouth wines, we utilize the solera method to build the character of each vintage. Through low-intervention winemaking techniques, each bottle of vermouth and other specialty wines from our winery are full of character and unique flavours only found in the heart of Prince Edward County. We let nature take control of fermentation in most of our wines, leading to slight variations of flavour and botanicals in every bottle. Visit us and partake in our extraordinary family-owned winery and vineyard today.