Photograph courtesy of Varnelli
Earlier this week, Chambers Street Wines sent out their email introducing the line of Varnelli products. Since I love unique and interesting products -- especially those that have a sense of place and originality -- it piqued my interest.
Not wishing to drop the $50 to $60 on either of the amari listed, I logged the name in some small part of my brain and filed the email for future reference. I wish it was available in smaller sizes than the 1 liter bottles.
And then later in the week, I was having cocktails at the Beagle in the East Village (an excellent cocktail and food spot) and I noticed they had a fine amari selection, including the two Varnellis. After sipping and munching my way through a chunk of the Beagle's menu, it was time for some relief -- in the form of Amaro Dell'Erborista.
Both CWS's email and the bartender pre-warned of the extent of the bitterness. Varnelli call it: "the best expression of the company's wide experience in the field of herb preparation." It contains a mixture of herbs and roots, sweetened with honey.
Yep - the predominant expression is bitter, but definitely not in the extreme style of a Fernet Branca. The honey provides a balanced counterpoint to the bitterness, but you won't sense a broad sweetness at all. Overall, it's a really fantastic amaro that's definitely on the bitter side of the scale and sometimes that's exactly what you want (even if you don't know it) at the end of a meal.
Looking for more amari recommendations? Read this article with recommendations from sommeliers.