Monday, 9 January 2017

The Gift of Surprise - Rambla 41 Vermouth

The season of gift-giving is over now – or is it? The greatest gifts are not necessarily the tangible items we present each other with at Christmas and birthdays, although these are of course wonderful. Usually. The ‘wooden thing’ I was once given defied all explanation and led to contemplation of the giver’s well-being. Gifts of love, affection, caring and education are some of the real gifts. Priceless, beyond monetary value and often at no pecuniary cost to the generous benefactor. Surprise is another gift, but surprise can come with a sting in the tail. Winning the lottery is probably a surprise; as far as I’m aware no one expects to win it on a given draw. However, heart attacks can also come as a bit of a surprise too, although with slightly more predictability than becoming a multi-millionaire than numbered balls being randomly plucked from a ball-plucking machine. Sometimes.

Rambla 41 Vermouth was a very pleasant surprise indeed. I’m not really one to drink Vermouth in its own right, although at almost homeopathic levels of dilution in gin and served with an olive or 2 (never a twist!) I have been a regular acquaintance. This is no ordinary Vermouth. Not French, not Italian, but Spanish. Not clear, but amber-russet and cloudy. Unusual. I had no idea what to expect, although the notes on the bottle certainly indicate a high level of confidence in the producer. As it turns out, the bouquet is rich; panettone, Christmas pudding and the general zestiness of dried mixed peels together with summer florals. Tasting is to open up another door of surprise and wonder. Sweet orange and lemon to begin with followed by a labyrinth -like complexity of herbs and acidity, following in a long, dry finish. Served on ice, this is a surprise on every step of the journey and one of the most luxurious, if opulent-tasting aperitifs I have yet to encounter.

Of course, to me, and many more I’m sure, Vermouth belongs only in a martini. Or at least that’s what I thought, and when it comes to the brews usually encountered in that most splendid field may well be the case. Would Rambla 41 work in a martini? Maybe, but it’s not something I have tried, and for the moment at least, have no intention of doing so. That may just be a surprise too far.

By this amazing drink from Naked Wines