The Madonna Vermouth- Years of Gardening and Inspiration from my Mother
This wine was a lot of work and a lot of fun to make.
First the story behind the inspiration. When I was a kid,living at home my mother always had gardens. She loved her gardens, she would come home every night after work and tend her gardens. They were beautiful. She always had books about flowers, herbs, vegetables, whatever it was that she was growing. It wasn't just coffee table fodder, she loved it. In my early teen years she planted an herb garden at our house and I started to become interested in them.
When I started building my own homes, I would plant herb gardens. At first I started making herbal teas with them (tarragon, peppermint and honey is the favourite from my gardens). Then I started to experiment with tinctures. I found it fascinating how the various herbs impacted the flavours of the wines.
I am always researching and learning about new things and one day I was reading about Vermouth. Vermouth is traditionally a fortified wine infused with herbs, spices, flowers(and in the past wormwood). When I started reading about the ingredients used in the old world to flavour vermouth a light bulb went off. We have either a local grower or native version of many of the traditional herbs, spices and flowers that are used.
When I learned this, our path was set. I started to increase our gardens to meet demand and reach out to local growers where my gardens could not supply (shout out to PEC Lavender for the early days contribution of lavender and hyssop), and we started to forage from our own farm. We had pails and pails of lilac, juniper, chamomile, hyssop, sumac, lavender and many other seasonings steeping in the wines. We collected everything fresh and infused the wine with them.
If your looking for amazing cocktails, use this in your wine. It's floral, it's brilliant and delicious. We use it for an aperitif and serve cheese plates with it. Spritzers are amazing, or try some in a chai tea or Moscow mule. Seriously.