This was my introduction to the wines of Philip Lobley. I was on a Vermouth rampage around March, and having lunch with a friend at Cookie, where I asked the lovely bartender - got any interesting Vermouth? With a sparkle in his eye, he said absolutely yes, slugged a healthy measure of this stuff into a tumbler on ice with a slice of orange and the rest is history.
Philip has produced this Vermouth from Sauvignon Blanc grown in the Yarra Valley which were fermented naturally and on skins. The wine was fortified with neutral grape spirit from Tarac and infused with.. *big inhales* cumquat, grapefruit pulp, grapefruit rind, passionfruit pulp, lemongrass, Vietnamese basil, Vietnamese mint, wormwood, white pepper, lavender, bay leaf, and "a few other bits and pieces" - says Philip.
What a tremendous result this effort has yielded. It is an utterly compelling drink that is equal parts sweet, savoury, spicy and refreshing. It is unusual to come across something so complex and powerful, but refined and drinkable. It is an absolute masterstroke and a genre-defining benchmark that needs to be tasted to be believed. We have a bottle open in the shop to taste at all times.
It was bottled with very low sulphur, so it will oxidise and turn a little murky after the bottle has been open for a little while, however, this change in colour is completely harmless and the product tastes and smells wonderful regardless.