Friday, May 10, 2013

TIMBER! Harris Bridge Spirits, Part 1

Nathan and I have embarked on a brave course to take Vermouth and other aperitifs and liqueurs back into the spotlight they deserve. Our very first release is Timber, a pinot noir based sweet-style vermouth fortified with Oregon inspired plant-infused-distillate. Timber is steeped in the history and tradition of Vermouth, but as you will find when you taste it, this vermouth is uniquely Harris Bridge. 
We recognize that the limited distribution of high quality liqueurs and aperitifs has resulted in a limited view of what they are. Vermouth, whether an addition to your Martini or simply served on its own, offers every bit of complexity and pause as a fine wine. Harris Bridge Timber is complex and rich, with fennel leading the aroma followed by a warm smooth texture on the palate that is full of berries and a sweet nutty finish. This is headed to our Ivy's Axe members this month and will also be available at the tasting room. So come in soon and taste it!! 

While most vermouths begin with a neutral wine base ours begin with a base of pinot noir and pinot gris which adds fruit, earth and all of its subleties to the finished wine, we then blend in the appropriate amounts of liqueur to add notes of bitterness and bright herbal qualities.  Harris Bridge vermouths and aperitifs are made by first producing a dessert wine: harvesting grapes around 23 brix, earlier than traditional ice wines or other “late harvest” dessert wines, which gives the grapes ample acidity and the finished wine complexity and balance.  After freezing the grapes and loading them, whole cluster, into the press only the first juices that melt are what are used to make the wine, with fermentations starting at close to 40 brix.  A second cut from the press yields what we use to make our distillate.

We use our little copper still to distill the wine into brandy, then add various plants and herbs.  Using this flavorful and aromatic distillate to fortify the wine creates a unique aperitif stemming from the long tradition of European vermouths.  We use locally sourced and organic herbs, reminiscent of walks in the woods and scents and tastes of the Willamette Valley.

Enjoy neat or on ice.  Wonderful as the leading or supporting component in lots of cocktails.

Here's my twist on a traditional Martinez:
2 parts Harris Bridge Timber sweet vermouth
1 part Ransom Old Tom gin
2 dashes Angostura bitters
garnish with an orange twist