Berto Bianco (17%)

Antica Distilleria Quaglia is a winery and distillery founded in 1906 in Piedmont, Italy. Today, the great-grandson of the founder Carlo Quaglia directs the company. Berto is produced in both sweet vermouth versions, Rosso and Bianco. There is also a bitter in their selection, Berto Bitter, which will be reviewed later this fall or winter. Berto Bianco is made using Moscato and Trebbiano must. Grape juice is fermented and grape brandy is added at the end of fermentation. A generous amount of different spices are added to the mixture; bitter orange, wormwood, gentian, cardamom, vanilla, coriander, mint, mace, hops, thyme, majoraan, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, rhubarb and angelica. After seasoning, the wine is aged for a “long time” and then forward to the bottling. Berto is priced in various online stores between €12-22 (in a liter bottle), but it happened to be in a special offer in Latvia for only €7.

Poured to class, Berto Bianco is a dark yellow. The smell is strongly spicy, citrusy, sweet and herbal. At the same time fresh, but also matured. The taste is rich and the sugar level is just right. The herbal and spiciness is not quite as strong as the smell suggests. The taste has lemon peel and a thick layer of different spices and herbs, none of which stands out as stronger than the others. However, the spiciness is well balanced; Berto is not a herbal bomb, but very enjoyable when sipped neat. It’s sweet, but also just enough bitter, which makes it perfect as an aperitif drink. It’s good to enjoy neat, but if you want to lighten the taste a bit, adding a couple of ice cubes and soda water makes it a nice long drink. Berto has enough kick to give flavor to cocktails also. Excellent vermouth, for which €7 seems ridiculously low price, I would easily be willing to pay twice as much for it.


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