PDA

View Full Version : The New Noilly Prat Dry



fussychicken
01-10-2009, 20:44
So it appears that Noilly Prat is changing the dry vermouth that it is shipping to the US. Apparently they had two dry Vermouths, one that was less flavorful that was sold in the US primarily for the Martini market, and a more traditional version sold in the rest of the world where Martinis aren't as popular.

So with the roll out of the new bottle shape, they are only making the more flavorful traditional version, and that is what will be coming to the US now.

The dissenting voice:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123154573030469717.html

The positive voice (buried in a good article on all things vermouth):
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/08/15/WI0111LMMB.DTL

I just spent time searching to see if there were going to change the Noilly Prat sweet (which of course many of us love for Manhattans) but I couldn't find any info in this regard. It sounds like there wasn't two versions of the sweet to begin with. Anyone know for sure?

As far as the dry goes, I'm interested! I never really liked martinis with only a hint of vermouth. I like the more traditional measurements, and am looking forward to trying one with the new Noilly dry.

ratcheer
01-11-2009, 07:12
Very interesting. Since I have probably never had a dry martini made with European-style full flavored vermouth, I will have to wait until I've had a chance to try it before I comment, further.

Tim

ratcheer
01-11-2009, 07:24
After reading both articles you gave links to, I am pretty sure I will fall on the WSJ side, i.e., "Nay".

Tim

smokinjoe
01-11-2009, 09:54
If you wanted to stock up and bunker the old formula, does anyone know the shelf-life of an unopened bottle?

spun_cookie
01-11-2009, 10:26
Although the accounting on the web (via google) are all over the map, Vermouth, like any wine degrades after opening.

It will lose some flavor or change until it goes bad. From what I read, 9 months after opening refrigerated would be the max, but I doubt it is even near what it was when opened. I was say after 3 months, opened and refrigerated it will not be what you bought (the quality that is).

Now if it is unopened and stored at the proper temperatures, it will depend on the vermouth, but I would say no longer than 10 yrs and really closer to 7 max (standard for about all white wines as I recall).

Sweet white wines will last a lot longer. 1 yr per gram residual sugar (22grams = ~22 years).

craigthom
01-11-2009, 10:32
An alternative would be to just drop an olive in straight gin. While the author of the first article claims he likes to taste the vermouth in his martini, the rest of the article implies otherwise. And there's always Cinzano or Martini & Rossi for wetting the ice.

If the existing U.S. martini market was providing Noilly Prat with the sales they want I doubt they would be making the change.

ratcheer
01-11-2009, 10:56
If the existing U.S. martini market was providing Noilly Prat with the sales they want I doubt they would be making the change.

I would agree with that idea. The thing is, unless people are really dedicated to martinis, a bottle of dry vermouth lasts a long, long time. In fact, I always buy the small bottle (375 ml) and it takes me many months to get through it. So, I can say unequivocally, they are not making much money on me.

The WSJ article opines that they are trying to approach a new market segment, women who would use more of it as an aperitif. If they can make more money that way, then that is what they need to do.

I will simply have to change brands.

Tim

Rughi
01-11-2009, 12:08
The thing is, unless people are really dedicated to martinis, a bottle of dry vermouth lasts a long, long time.
Tim
I like to have sweet and dry vermouths in the fridge for cooking.

They take the place of wine (they're great for deglazing!), which my wife and I just never drink fast enough to not throw most of it away. Vermouth easily lasts long enough to use up in cooking.

In fact, my biggest disappointment with being a home winemaker is that I found I didn't want to drink it often enough to warrant making it. I'm that sporadic about drinking whiskey as well, but the timeclock on an open bottle of bourbon is measured in seasons not days.

Roger

spun_cookie
01-11-2009, 12:38
In fact, my biggest disappointment with being a home winemaker is that I found I didn't want to drink it often enough to warrant making it.
Roger


:D I am in teh same boat. I quick makig my yearly wine bcause I am behind two years and risk having the last going bad...

craigthom
01-11-2009, 13:47
I like to have sweet and dry vermouths in the fridge for cooking.

They take the place of wine (they're great for deglazing!), which my wife and I just never drink fast enough to not throw most of it away. Vermouth easily lasts long enough to use up in cooking.

Roger

I keep a box of white wine in the refrigerator for cooking. I don't use it all up before it goes bad, but it lasts a lot longer than opening a bottle.

Hardy's makes decent wines which come in three liter boxes, and they last a few weeks, since no air comes in contact with the wine. And Hardy's is sibling of Barton Brands.

For beef I use brandy (VS cognac, actually) for deglazing. It also allows makes for showy flames if you ignite it.

cowdery
01-15-2009, 17:44
Gary Regan devoted his most recent newletter to singing the praises of this new/old version of Noilly Prat, which to him makes a perfect martini, with liberal use of his orange bitters, of course.

I actually worked on the Noilly Prat brand at one time, when Brown-Forman had the U.S. distribution, many moons ago.

anvil_houston
01-25-2009, 13:30
An alternative would be to just drop an olive in straight gin. While the author of the first article claims he likes to taste the vermouth in his martini, the rest of the article implies otherwise. And there's always Cinzano or Martini & Rossi for wetting the ice.

If the existing U.S. martini market was providing Noilly Prat with the sales they want I doubt they would be making the change.

Haha, that's Eric Felten writing that article. He's a pretty huge authority on classic cocktails, and I am sure that he would object very strongly to any interpretations that he doesn't like vermouth. He would probably drink a whole bottle in front of you after hearing you say that just to prove to you how much he loves the stuff, which is really the source of his frustrations with the new formula. His book, How's Your Drink, should be a staple for anyone interested in cocktails.

In regards to vermouth as a whole, I have found that vermouth changes flavor dramatically rather quickly, say a month or so. I always vacuum seal my vermouths and place them in the fridge both in the bar and at home, and I go through them as quickly as possible to avoid any funky manhattans.

The reason why most people don't like vermouth is not because they don't like the flavors; it is because their first experiences with vermouth in all likelihood took place in a bar where the vermouth they were served sat out for several months opened in a speed rail. I don't like spoiled wine, and I don't think most people agree. The best thing Noilly Prat or any other company can do to improve sales is teach people how to keep vermouth after opening.

If you have the opportunity, track down some Vya vermouth or Carpano Antiqua or Punt e Mes. The Vya is a California small batch vermouth, and the sweet vermouth makes one of the best Manhattans you will ever have. It is about $18 for a liter, which might make you think twice, but this is an outstanding aperitif. You will find yourself enjoying this as an aperitif by itself, and therefore, when comparing it to other wines, you will find it to be a bargain. Carpano Antiqua is harder to find, and it is also a sweet. This is generally considered the best vermouth on the planet if you can find it. Carpano's Punt e Mes is a bitter Italian vermouth which is best described as sort of a cross between Italian vermouth and Campari, if you're into that sort of thing.

smokinjoe
01-25-2009, 14:30
Haha, that's Eric Felten writing that article. He's a pretty huge authority on classic cocktails, and I am sure that he would object very strongly to any interpretations that he doesn't like vermouth. He would probably drink a whole bottle in front of you after hearing you say that just to prove to you how much he loves the stuff, which is really the source of his frustrations with the new formula. His book, How's Your Drink, should be a staple for anyone interested in cocktails.

In regards to vermouth as a whole, I have found that vermouth changes flavor dramatically rather quickly, say a month or so. I always vacuum seal my vermouths and place them in the fridge both in the bar and at home, and I go through them as quickly as possible to avoid any funky manhattans.

The reason why most people don't like vermouth is not because they don't like the flavors; it is because their first experiences with vermouth in all likelihood took place in a bar where the vermouth they were served sat out for several months opened in a speed rail. I don't like spoiled wine, and I don't think most people agree. The best thing Noilly Prat or any other company can do to improve sales is teach people how to keep vermouth after opening.

If you have the opportunity, track down some Vya vermouth or Carpano Antiqua or Punt e Mes. The Vya is a California small batch vermouth, and the sweet vermouth makes one of the best Manhattans you will ever have. It is about $18 for a liter, which might make you think twice, but this is an outstanding aperitif. You will find yourself enjoying this as an aperitif by itself, and therefore, when comparing it to other wines, you will find it to be a bargain. Carpano Antiqua is harder to find, and it is also a sweet. This is generally considered the best vermouth on the planet if you can find it. Carpano's Punt e Mes is a bitter Italian vermouth which is best described as sort of a cross between Italian vermouth and Campari, if you're into that sort of thing.

I agree with you on the Vya. It makes such a terrific Manhattan, that I have also gone to drinking it on the rocks by itself. It's very, very good. And, I've had mine open for several months, and I still enjoy it. I do keep it in the fridge, though.

wadewood
01-25-2009, 14:50
If I make you a Manhattan at my house, it will made with Vya Sweet. Great stuff. I also have a unopened bottle of their Extra Dry....reading this I think I will open it tonight and make a "Perfect Manhattan".

cowdery
01-25-2009, 22:00
Woodford Reserve is very liberal about what it will call a Manhattan, and while it promotes the traditional article, it also offers variations. One I actually like is the Woodford Reserve French Manhattan.

2 oz. Woodford Reserve®
1 oz. Chambord®
Dash of bitters

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or cherry.

It's not a coincidence that Brown-Forman also owns Chambord.

JeffRenner
03-27-2009, 19:23
I was very apprehensive about the new Noilly Prat. The old was/is my standard for both martinis and for deglazing pans. I love the dry, almost austere character.

BUT - I love the new! Complex, earthy, herbal tones. And it makes a great, more complex martini. I am definitely not of the "glance in the general direction of the vermouth bottle" school when it comes to vermouth in martinis. I find that a decent amount (4:1, say) of vermouth is a synergistic addition to good gin which makes a martini different from just iced gin (vodka martinis? spit!).

While I love some of the newer gins such as Old Potrero and Tanqueray Ten, I keep falling back on old reliable Old Beefeater. It is a perfect mate for the new Noilly Prat.

IMO, this is not the "New Coke," which is what I was concerned it was going to be. I like it.

Jeff

ratcheer
03-27-2009, 20:35
Ok Jeff, you have convinced me to at least try it.

BTW, regular Beefeater is my favorite gin, too.

Tim