After my previous gin review, I found it interesting that I had yet to give my thoughts on gin’s traditional companion, vermouth. Mainly used as a mixing agent or apéritif, vermouth is a fortified wine flavored with various dry herbs and spices. This week, I went the cheap route and picked up a bottle of Gallo Extra Dry Vermouth to sample and toy around with.
Produced by Gallo Vineyards in Modesto, California, this vermouth has at least one good thing going for it right off the bat – California grapes are typically pretty darn good. I attempted to get a bit more information on this product, but unfortunately, a Google search yielded two different Gallo Vineyards in California, neither of which would admit to producing vermouth. Thus, we are left with little to go on, and an adventure on our hands.
The look of Gallo Extra Dry is that of an off-tinge clear. It’s got just enough color to add a slight shimmer to the mix, but not enough to be distinguishable. The nose is equally benign. If I didn’t know any better, I might mistake this for a very weak-scented wine (which isn’t too far off from the truth). There’s the unmistakable aroma of white wine – a clean smell, without the bite or unpleasant vinegary scent I typically associate with cheap wine products. A slight citrus scent lingers as well.
The taste is clean, refreshing, and in desperate need of flavor. If you were to include Gallow Extra Dry in a martini, you’d be equally as well off if you simply stared at the bottle intently for a moment or so before deciding not to use any at all. All you would be achieving by including this vermouth in your martini is to dilute the taste of perfectly good gin. For that matter, you may as well simply pour yourself a glass of chilled gin with some olives as a garnish. I’ll call that one the Gallo Martini.
At roughly six dollars for a pretty large bottle of the stuff, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Vermouth is an inexpensive enough ingredient that you shouldn’t feel the need to be thrifty when making a purchase. Like most items nowadays, you get what you pay for, and this is one product that I can easily suggest skipping.