Alessio Vermouth Chinato
Alessio Vermouth Chinato is also based on a classic recipe from the late 19th century combined with the additional bittering of Cinchona bark and more than 25 other balancing herbs, including Grande and Petite Wormwood, and reflects an almost-lost style of bitter vermouth. The slightly lower ABV than the Vermouth di Torino Rosso helps highlight this Chinato vermouth's backbone and aromatics, making it a complex alternative to sweet vermouth in cocktails as well as excellent on its own.
Girolamo Ruscelli, a true "Renaissance Man" of the 16th Century, was an Italian physician, alchemist, humanist, inventor, cartographer, and a founder of the 'Academy of Secrets', the first recorded example of an experimental scientific society. In 1555, he assembled one of the greatest manuals of ancient curative recipes, The Secrets of Alexis of Piedmont, under his pseudonym Alessio Piemontese. The recipes, many of which were previously banned, hidden or lost by the Church during the Dark Ages, included several elixirs which appear as distinct ancestors, and may have served as base-recipes to the herbal wine-tonic which eventually became what we know as Vermouth. The Alessio Vermouths are named in homage to the great Alessio Piemontese.
Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture virtually inextricable from red, white and sparkling wine. Wine grapes grow in every region throughout Italy—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean.
Italian Wine Regions
Naturally, most Italian wine regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate and a notable coastline, if not coastline on all borders, as is the case with the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The Alps in the northern regions of Valle d'Aosta, Lombardy and Alto Adige create favorable conditions for cool-climate grape varieties. The Apennine Mountains, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south, affect climate, grape variety and harvest periods throughout. Considering the variable terrain and conditions, it is still safe to say that most high quality viticulture in Italy takes place on picturesque hillsides.
Italian Grape Varieties
Italy boasts more indigenous grape varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most Italian wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but are declining in popularity, especially as younger growers take interest in reviving local varieties. Most important are Sangiovese, reaching its greatest potential in Tuscany, as well as Nebbiolo, the prized grape of Piedmont, producing single varietal, age-worthy Piedmontese wines. Other important varieties include Corvina, Montepulciano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course the white wines, Trebbiano, Verdicchio and Garganega. The list goes on.
Historically a dry, herb-infused, and sometimes pleasantly bitter fine wine, today vermouth is indispensable to any modern mixologist. Typically vermouths are Italian if red and sweet and French if golden and drier in character.