Cinzano Formula Antica
Does anyone know anything about the viability of old bottles of Vermouth, Cinzano Formula Antica to be exact? My father collected in many years ago in Argentina, and I have about 12 bottles. Is is any good after all this time? Is is worth anything? Does anyone want to buy it?
I've never seen a bottle of Cinzano labeled "Formula Antica." There IS, however, a "Formula Antica" produced by Caprano.
That aside, Vermouth is not necessarily a wine designed for longevity -- as would, for example, a Barolo or Bordeaux. Vermouth is designed to be ready-to-drink upon release. I have no doubt that it would be fine for a year or so, but I'd be skeptical about long-term aging in terms of its drinkability.
Also, Vermouth is a WINE, not a spirit -- you may want to ask this question on the Wine board.
Vermouth is not just a wine, but a very bad one at that! Actually, the worst of the worst is what gets shipped out for vermouth. All those syrops and spices they add to get the vermouthy flavor allow for pretty much anything to serve as base.
Link below displays a Cinzano Formula Antica bottle (collector's item now!)
Sweeping generalizations about wine often leave the door wide open for exceptions. Most Vermouth available in the US is made in huge quantities and is very commercial indeed. That does not mean there are not good ones made.
Carpano's Antica Formula is made from better base wine than most, and it is an outstanding vermouth at that. Quady makes Vya from good base wine and it is an outstanding vermouth.
Vermouth's base wine should not be a good table wine as the base wine will be flavored. It should be sound, free from oxidation and neutral in flavor.
If the bottles are opened, you want to chuck them or just keep them as collectables. They won't be any good to drink.
Fortified wines like vermouth oxidize very quickly if opened.
If the bottles are unopened, it could be as good or better than when it was first bottled, especially if this is rosso or bianco rather than dry. Try one and see.
I vaguely recall a Cinzano "antica" that was on the market for a while some years ago. It was good stuff.
I was given a bottle of the Formula Antica by the Italian America's Cup team many years ago and fell in love with it. Shortly after, production was stopped and I bought all the cases I could, but I'm down to my last two bottles. They're still fine if unopened, and I'd love to buy more from you if you still have them.
I realise this thread is very ancient, but I have tried Carpano Antica Formula from the 1960s and it is mind-blowing! If the bottles are unopened they are quite valuable, as has been suggested above. My boss bought some at auction and he has sold one to a London bar for about £100. I have tried it several times neat and also in what was the best Manhattan I've ever had.
That said, once the bottle is opened, you need to drink it quickly as it deteriorates very quickly. Old wine becomes very brittle and falls apart fast the more oxygen it is exposed to. After ten days or so when we tried it again the flavour had changed. it was still interesting, but had lost a lot of the sweeter notes and a few days after that it ended up tasting a bit like diluted worcester sauce. Fortunately there wasn't much left by then as it had been polished off very quickly.
You can use it for a super-deluxe Negroni, Bronx, Rob Roy or Manhattan and it will butter your cockles, no question.