Lustau’s current home is in Jerez, Spain, the center of the Sherry world, but while we love the company’s Sherry, their Lustau Vermut Rojo should not be overlooked. While Vermouth is generally associated with Spain’s northeast, this delicious pour goes to prove that with the right materials (grapes), attention to detail, and love for craft, a truly stunning Vermouth can come from just about anywhere. Add in the grape obsessed culture that surrounds the distillery, and it’s no surprise that Lustau makes a top notch Vermouth.
Lustau Vermut Rojo is “a perfect blend of two wines each aged individually in the traditional, authentic Jerez “Solera y Criaderas” System: An Amontillado, dry and nutty, with character. A Pedro Ximénez, sweet, intense and velvety.”
The resulting Vermouth is Mahogany in colour with reddish hues. On the nose, sweet aromas of ripe fruit mingle with hints of citrus fruit and herbaceous notes, over a smoked wood base. On the palate, it is flavoursome, velvety, and balanced. A bitter finish, with a delicate and distinctive nutty aftertaste.
At 15% ABV and sweet in profile, Lustau Vermut Rojo is the perfect apéritif and best enjoyed accompanied with olives, nuts or any snacks. It should be served on the rocks and garnished with an orange peel. It’s also divine in a cocktail, adding depth to a Negroni or a Manhattan.
The origins of Emilio Lustau S.A. date back to 1896, when Mr. José Ruiz-Berdejo, a secretary to the Court of Justice, started cultivating the vines of the family’s state, named Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza, in his spare time. In the beginning he made wines which were then sold on to larger Sherry producers. This activity was known as being an almacenista or stockeeper.
In 1931, his daughter, María Ruiz-Berdejo Alberti, acquired a small winery closer to the centre of Jerez de la Frontera and moved there all the preexisting soleras, gaining notoriety and visibility.
In the 40’s, Maria’s husband, Emilio Lustau Ortega moved the winery to the old Santiago district, in the historic quarter of Jerez de la Frontera. There, in buildings that were part of the historic Moorish walls of the city, he slowly began to expand the business, still as an almacenista.
It wasn’t until 1945 that Emilio Lustau stopped being an almacenista and began to commercialize its own brands: Papirusa, Jarana, Escuadrilla, Emperatriz Eugenia, and Cinta de Oro to name a few. In 1950, the company began exporting its own sherry wines.
In the year 2000, Lustau acquired six 19th century bodega buildings in the centre of Jerez. These buildings were restored to their original glory and today house the principal ageing bodegas of Lustau, which heads the Luis Caballero Group’s Sherry Division.