Matthiason Sweet Vermouth No. 6
Matthiason's vermouth is primarily about the wine — the base wine before the herbs, spices, and fruit exracts are added. The wine is mainly a rare variety named Flora, which was bred at UC Davis by the legendary Harold Olmo back in the 1950’s to be a base for fortified wines. Flora is a natural cross between Semillon and Gewurtztraminer. The California industry moved away from these types of wines by the 1960’s and Flora fell into obscurity. Each year the fruit is picked very late, with some botrytis and raisins at harvest. On top of the naturally high sugar, the must was further sweetened by chaptalizing with organic cane sugar, to around 45 brix.
Batch No. 6 is a non-vintage solera blend of the 2016 through 2021 vintages. The older wine gives the dried fruit and spicy-nutty flavors, and the younger wine is more vibrant with fresh fruits. The barrels for aging are a mix of French Oak that previously held white wines, and 25-year-old French Cognac barrels. To complement the natural grape aromas of the Flora, Matthiason used infusions of their own home-grown blood oranges and sour cherries, along with Organic coriander seed. The infusions were made in a base of high-proof neutral grape spirits. The bittering was mainly done by adding an infusion of their own home-grown cardoons and wormwood, along with chinchona bark and Organic blessed thistle to infuse for a little more complexity.