Controcorrente - Vermouth Rosso - Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy -
Regular price £32.99
Made over a base wine of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara from Daniele Piccinin, which is then steeped with a botanical tincture of thyme, helichrysum and rhubarb, before being fortified with alcohol and sugar. The infusion comes together for a couple of months in tank before bottling, where it is then rested for a further three months before release. The bitters really sit to the front here, with a balance of rusty mineral, herbal and earthy vegetal flavours preceding a very long finish. Perfect with a twist of orange as a spritz, or part of the makings of a killer negroni.
Controcorrente is the work of Enrico Ciroi, a one-man-band with a background working for both the renowned Friulian winery Lis Neris and Prosciutto di San Daniele producer, Dall’Ava, before returning to his hometown of Udine to open his own restaurant and deli. It was around this time that he got the bug for natural wine, and, as the story goes, whilst mulling over a negroni one afternoon, he came to consider the fact that vermouth, despite being made from wine, rarely speaks much of the provenance of its base ingredient. Enrico came to consider the idea of expanding on the character of some of the wines he had enjoyed the most and using them as a starting point to inspire the qualities of a vermouth, rather than simply as a means to an end.
One producer that Enrico had really come to admire was Daniele Piccinin, a contemporary Venetian grower and leading exponent of organic farming and additive-free winemaking in the region. After striking up a friendship over a few bottles of wine and sharing his idea, Daniele was more than happy to join forces, and so it came to be that Controcorrente vermouths would be made with his wines as their base ingredient. Seeking clarity of flavour in the finished product, Enrico blends with just a handful of botanicals that he feels link to the qualities found in the wine - wild Italian herbs and flowers, citrus fruit and even rhubarb make their way into the finished mix.
Whilst staying true to the originating style of Torino, Enrico uses a little less sugar than the classic recipe, resulting in a versatile, harmonious balance of sweet and dry, meaning the vermouths are as much at home in a spritz or aperitivo cocktail as they are to be enjoyed neat over ice at the end of a good meal. Aromatic, bittersweet and herbaceous; Controcorrente has the potential to create a variety of delicious drinks.