Gonzalez Byass “La Copa” Vermouth, Jerez, Spain (Alcohol 15.5%) LCBO Vintages $21.95

I was first introduced to the multifold pleasures of Vermouth/Vermut by my old pal Oli Maxwell, Barcelona’s pre-eminent bon viveur and an expert in all things from which we may derive pleasure. After a leisurely lunchtime tour of Oli’s favoured tapas spots, he took me to a few of Barcelona’s Vermut bars, and my mind was blown.

Exploring the backalley Vermut bars of Barcelona with the one-and-only Oliver Maxwell in 2013.

Exploring the backalley Vermut bars of Barcelona with the one-and-only Oliver Maxwell in 2013.


Which brings us to the freshly released Gonzalez Byass “La Copa”, a snip at $21.95, and something a little different to serve your dinner party guests upon their arrival. I like to serve this simply chilled over ice, and with a nice slice of orange or lemon. It’s a look back to the future for Gonzalez Byass, who re-released this last year after rediscovering a recipe and label in their archives dated from 1896. The name comes from the branding iron used on the horse breeding ranch of the Marqués de Torresoto, son of the house’s founder, Manuel Maria González.

There’s an explosive nose of myriad botanicals (clove, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, citrus, old leather, white pepper, angelica, caramel, mint) that may appear a little daunting and forward for the uninitiated, but in the mouth more familiar (if you are a sherry fan!) Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez flavours begin to come to light. There’s some quinine derived bitterness on the medium sweet, rich palate, but not enough to scare away even those with super sensitivities to such things. Such a delightful and delicious alternative drink for the summer. Exceptional value too.
4.5 apples out of 5(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

Gonzalez Byass’ wines are represented in Ontario by Woodman Wines And Spirits.

Woodman Wines And Spirits are a Good Food Fighter.

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Jamie Drummond

Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he really has to go and visit Gonzalez Byass sometime soon.