Aromatized wines are wines that have natural herbs, roots, and/or spices added to give additional flavors. This practice is believed to have begun in ancient Greece around 350 BC. The additives were historically used to hide taste imperfections or to improve longevity; these have now evolved into classic modern day styles which include: Vermouth, Sangria, Wine coolers, and Maiwine from Germany.
Vermouth is a wine flavored with aromatic herbs and spices, and is generally fortified.
The name is derived from the German word for wormwood: “Wermut”. Wormwood was believed to have been an effective remedy for intestinal parasites and other digestive problems.
An Italian Merchant named D’Alessio began making a fortified aromatic wine in Piedmont in the 16th Century he called “Wormwood Wine”. By the time the drink was popular in England the common name had morphed into Vermouth.
The style of Vermouth we know today was developed in the late 18th Century and has various competing brands in France and Italy.
Vermouth comes in two distinct types: Sweet and Dry. Primarily they are either pale in color or red. Vermouth is very popular as an aperitif, and can be drunk on the rocks or with a light splash of Soda water.
In cocktails vermouth is a very versatile element and is an important ingredient in a lot of the great classic cocktails such as the Martini, Manhattan, Negroni, Americano, and Rob Roy.
The region of Chambéry in the Savoie region of France is the only AOP for Vermouths in France.