United States of Vermouth - Eulalia Apéritif, NV Batch #1
Eulalia Apéritif, NV Batch #1
Origin: Walla Walla Washington USA
Producer: Hoquetus Wine Co.
Wine Base: Cabernet Franc (Rocks District)
Known Botanicals: Gentian, Orange Peel, Cinnamon, Ginger
Look – Nearly opaque deep purple garnet with sienna brown at edges.
Nose – Raisin and dark cherry candy with hints of menthol and a firm clear alcohol.
Mouth – Big raisin rush at front of taste that lingers long, followed by gentian bitterness (which also lingers through to the end of the taste). The end of the taste is introduced by an alcohol rush, followed by hint of bitter herbs, ending with the lingering gentian and smooth, long Cab Franc tannins. A gentle acidity sweeps over the entire taste.
I was gifted this bottle in early 2023. When I opened it then, I was floored (in not a very pleasant way) by a mismatch of competing flavors. I put the bottle back on the shelf. Opening it up a year later, between having time for the flavors to mellow and mix – and a bit of oxidation to happen – I was pleasantly surprised at how much better this sort of Americano/Chinato-inspired concoction tasted.
This one-off (50 cases) aromatized wine is the brainchild of Walla Walla winemakers, Robert and Bri Gomez. They’ve been making wine since 2020 under the name of Hoquetus. A bit of a cult favorite these days, Hoquetus seems to have an affinity toward Cab Franc – though they make blends with said grape with Merlot and Syrah. They wisely eschew the Cabernet Sauvignon trap that comprises most of the generic wine that comes from Walla Walla. They also work with best practices and organic grapes, though they are not exactly in the contemporary natural wines camp.
About the name of the winery, Rob Gomez says, “The winery name (also called hocket) refers to a song device first developed during medieval times but ultimately was embraced by 20th century composers. In this technique, each vocal part alternates to create a single melody. I also attended music school, so the relationship speaks to my musical background but also the dynamic of the fermentation and the winemaker both working in unison to create something harmonious.”
Eulalia Apéritif is relatively harmonious, if a bit on the gentle side. It takes a while to open up, and I’m not quite sure if it was really worth the wait. But it hit the spot on a quiet February night.
Wood / Vanilla 2
Bitter - 3
Astringent (barks, roots) 3
Vegetal / Herbal 2