How often do you drink vermouth? If you live outside of Spain, it might not be such a typical drink you’d choose for an aperitif but here it is quite a tradition, so we used the opportunity to go and visit an incredible producer in Bràfim, about and hour from the center of Barcelona.
It wouldn’t be too erroneous to say that most people in Spain drink vermouth, but it’s quite curious that it didn’t originate here. Vermut originally comes from Italy, from my other “home” town Turin, first presented by Antonio Benedetto Carpano in the 18th century, who created a sweet vermouth for the ladies, as the local red wines, like nebbiolo and barbera, were a too strong for them.
But spiced fortified wines have actually been a part of human history for much longer than that. In ancient Greece spiced wines were used for medicinal purposes and wormwood specifically was added for stomach ailments. In fact wormwood, also known as absinthe, assenzio in Italian, wermut in German (hence the origin of the name) is the basic ingredient in any vermouth.
Vermouth is mostly white wine fortified and aromatized with various botanicals (herbs, roots, seeds, flowers, spices).
It is quite a fascinating beverage that most people don’t know anything about. And Casa Padró is the perfect place where to discover it! The visit will help you understand the careful craftsmanship of different styles of the beverage from A to Z, ending with a beautiful tasting with the 8 different vermouths Padró is producing at the moment (seems there are many more to come in the next years!).
This winery has a very long history of wine making, starting from the 19th century actually, but the bottled vermouths are quite a novelty, presented just in 2014, so it was even more surprising to us to see the way the garden and the whole production is displayed for visitors with such clarity and in a very interactive way.
Exploring the botanicals and how vermouth is aromatized
A fantastic sensory path through the herboristeria, where you will find and smell all the botanicals used for the varios styles of vermouths Casa Padró produces. There is actually a little botanical garden too, for the visitors to be able to appreciate the plans from where distinct spices or roots come from.
The last part of the visit is in the wine cellar where you will explore the mixing of the vermouth to obtain the perfect balance of sugars, color and botanicals and where it will be aged in oak casks until it is ready to be bottled.
LAst step – tasting and enjoying a nice break in the garden
Enjoy your visit and if you can’t go, because you are not in the area, you can buy some to do your own home tasting if you are anywhere else in Spain!