La Quintinye Royal Vermouth

In America we tend to look at Vermouth as a mixer. Something to give our cocktails more depth and character but certainly nothing to enjoy on its own. In Europe, however, vermouth has long been a traditional digestif and is examined with as much rigor as a fine wine. A proper vermouth is a thing of beauty, a showcase of complexity and nuance that can elevate any cocktail but yearns to shine in the spotlight itself.

Perhaps no producer shines more brightly then La Quintinye. La Quintinye is made in the Cognac region from grapes grown in Charente France. The man behind La Quintinye Royal Vermouth is Jean-Sebastien Robicquet. Its inspiration, fittingly enough, is Jean-Baptiste de La Quintinye, the famed botanist entrusted with the task of creating the gardens of Versailles for Louis XIV. Quintinye insisted on a garden comprised not only of beautiful flowers but also an array of plants known for their medicinal benefits. Plants that the Sun King would often add to his wine in the hopes of fortifying his health and vigor.

Perhaps the element that makes their vermouth truly unique is that it utilizes Pineau des Charentes. If you aren’t familiar, Pineau des Charentes is a fortified wine/vin de liqueur of the Cognac region created by adding grape must or slightly fermented wine to a cognac, followed by barrel aging. The Pineau for La Quintinye is infused with herbs and botanicals that have been individually batch distilled and macerated in neutral alcohol. Imagine it as an array of highly aromatic tinctures added to the base Pineau. Thirty seven local botanicals go into every bottle of this stunning vermouth including the actual vine flower from Ugni Blanc, the grape used to make its base Pineau. The result is a trio of delicately complex liqueurs that are rich, elegant, and highly aromatic. If you are looking for the very best out of your cocktails then these vermouths are a virtual necessity, but take my advice and pour yourself a little bit on its own. I promise you will see why vermouth is one of Europe’s favorite nightcaps.

Dave Helt
Vine & Table
Spirits Buyer

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 Vine & Table #301