I like Vermouth. I use white, dry vermouth to cook with. I’ve also developed a taste for a small glass of red sweet vermouth on ice before dinner. Italian red vermouth, I should mention. The American vermouths miss the mark by a long shot.
One day I was in one of those high-end supermarkets I usually trust not to sell me crap food. I remembered we were almost out of sweet vermouth, so I grabbed the bottle over there on the left, noticing the Italian label, which read Questo vermouth e stato fatto solo con vini de prima qualita e erbe scelte nella tradizione della formula originale di…
and then there is the signature of one Mr. Tribuno. In my haste, I imagined this Mr. Tribuno to be an old Piemontese. I don’t know why.
The label pretty much says that the vermouth is made of first quality wine (most vermouths aren’t) and herbs selected in the tradition of the original formula of this Tribuno guy.
I have to admit, I saw the Italian and mistook the bottle for an Italian vermouth. After all, the bottle tried to make it look that way. It turns out it’s from Ripon, California. Ripon is not the Napa Valley, it’s the central valley—big, flat and hot in summer.
In any case, the stuff is unbalanced, with an aftertaste you don’t want me to describe to you. In fact, I’m throwing the contents out, but I’m not going to pour it down the sink until said sink gets clogged. I just know it’s a better liquid drain cleaner than it is Vermouth; it’s gotta be. There is no other reason for it.
I don’t know what it is about me, but when I find something on the market I absolutely abhor, I go looking for its origins. I wanna know: who is this Tribuno guy, anyway?
Well, I found out. This stuff is manufactured by the third largest wine producer in the US: The Wine Group. According to The Zinquisition The Wine Group is a total stealth company. They don’t have a web site. If they have a Mr. Tribuno, he’s socked away in a cell somewhere, feeling his oats. Or more likely he’s one of those paper traditionalists—like Betty the Crock, er, I mean Betty Crocker.
What The Wine Group does make is money—and box wines. Franzia is theirs.
Dang, all this makes me want to move to Italy. It’s not that Italy doesn’t have crap wine, it’s just that you can get good, decent wine for a fair price almost anywhere.
Note to self: you don’t buy Italian products with labels in English, why the heck would you buy American products trying to pass themselves off as Italian? Read the labels carefully. They’re all you got.