Sunday, January 09, 2005

Martini versus Vya

Quady, "Vya" Preferred California Vemouth Extra Dry NV ($21 for 750ml) -- Madera, California. 18% alcohol. "Lavender, sage, orris and linden...made from Columbard and Orange Muscat." Lot D-1999-1

I had not considered tasting a glass of pure vermouth, but did so recently to compare the Vya and Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth (Italy, imported by Bacardi) $5 for 375ml. The Martini (any relation to "The Perfect Martini", I wonder?) was pale with a very light color, had a very slight aroma, and attacked my taste buds on first try. (Thank God I had been mixing it with good gin all these years!) After a few more sips, it was tolerable and someone suggested it smells and tastes like cheap sake. The Martini had little in the way of weight, balance or finish.

The Vya has a slightly orange color with strong fragrances of raisins, oranges and other mysterious aromas, and was at first startling, but when tasted, it was extremely smooth with a long finish and an aftertaste of nuts and wood, maybe a bit of almond. This wine has great balance and carries the high alcohol well. It reminded me of a Spanish Sherry. I could just sip this as is or maybe slip it into a cold glass of gin (see below).

The Vya, like a fine wine, has fragrance, body, complexity, weight and a long finish. I would compare the Martini versus the Vya in food terms by suggesting that the Martini is a McDonald's Quarter Pounder without the cheese, ketchup and fixings, while the Vya is a fine filet mignon grilled to perfection with a tantalizing bernaise sauce. (I give you that analogy to appease all the food bloggers who read this!)


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