Contratto Vermouth Rosso
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In January 1994 the historic company was taken over by Distilleria Bocchino, another famous Piemontese producer, mainly renowned for its liqueurs made from grapepips, and in particular the grappa obtained from Moscato grapepips which results in an aromatic and widely appreciated liqueur.
The two companies are now run by Carlo and Antonella Bocchino, the fourth generation of grappa makers intent on making the best: their bottles must be first class and they impose a thorough selection process starting with the choice of vineyards and vines. The brother - sister duo have now decided to focus their attention on a small range of historic wines, limited to a highly selective estate production.
Set upon a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, the enchanting and rolling hills of Piedmont are the source of some of the country’s longest-lived and most sought-after red wines. Vineyards cover a great majority of the land area—especially in Barolo—with the most prized sites at the top hilltops or on south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. Piedmont has a continental climate with hot, humid summers leading to cold winters and precipitation year-round. The reliable autumnal fog provides a cooling effect, especially beneficial for Nebbiolo, Piedmont’s most prestigious variety.
In fact, Nebbiolo is named exactly for the arrival of this pre-harvest fog (called “nebbia” in Italian), which prolongs cluster hang time and allows full phenolic balance and ripeness. Harvest of Nebbiolo is last among Piedmont's wine varieties, occurring sometime in October. This grape is responsible for the exalted Piedmont wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure; the best examples can require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. Across the Tanaro River, the Roero region, and farther north, the regions of Gattinara and Ghemme, also produce excellent quality Nebbiolo.
Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin and juicy red fruit. Dolcetto, Piedmont’s other important red grape, is usually ready within a couple of years of release.
White wines, while less ubiquitous here, should not be missed. Key Piedmont wine varieties include Arneis, Cortese, Timorasso, Erbaluce and the sweet, charming Muscat, responsible for the brilliantly recognizable, Moscato d'Asti.
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.