Submitted by Westport Winery
Westport Winery and its sister ship Ocean’s Daughter Distillery have come together to create the company’s first vermouth. Mer Sea is a dry, white vermouth that features the requisite bitter quality amidst a mélange of steeped botanicals.
Head winemaker and distiller Mark Bosso said, “It has been an incredibly creative process to develop our own signature vermouths.” Bosso, along with winery co-owner Kim Roberts, blended Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris wine made from grapes picked at Joe Hattrup’s Sugarloaf Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. To this they added neutral grape spirits distilled from their own wine in which they soaked grapefruit, coriander, grains of paradise, juniper, orange and cubeb pepper.
Roberts said, “We were working on an elevated level of experimentation and creativity with this first vermouth. Now that it’s in the bottle we can’t wait to have our guests experience it during their tasting. We have a second vermouth coming out in June called Gray Sea. It is a sweet red that is on the opposite end of the flavor spectrum from Mer Sea.”
While vermouth is technically wine–because it has an alcohol content less than 24%–it is most often used as an ingredient in classic cocktails. For Westport Winery’s purposes Mer Sea is used in the winery’s Sea Glass Grill to craft their iconic Double Oh Seven (OO7) martini. This shaken, not stirred, delight enjoys equal parts of Ocean’s Daughter Distillery’s Nayada Vodka and Meermin Gin, plus Mer Sea vermouth. It is finished with double olives.
The winery has commissioned sculptures by local artists to commemorate each of their wines. Gray Sea is the most recent addition to the gardens as a roadside attraction connected to the new International Mermaid Museum. The 12-foot metal mermaid was designed and constructed by North Cove artist Yoseph Adams. Her spine includes a clarinet, and her tail has a rivet gun amidst a plethora of other recycled metals.
The plaza surrounding the sculpture was created by stonemason Beau Finley of Westport who also sculpted the Mer Sea sculpture located in the Beauty From Ashes Garden. For the plaza around Gray Sea, Finley used mostly recycled materials from broken asphalt and concrete to reclaimed bricks, plus a number of commemorative bricks donated as part of the fundraising for the museum.
There are over 60 outdoor sculptures and 100 interpretive signs featured in the winery’s 15-acre display garden which is free to explore daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Family-friendly Westport Winery Garden Resort, the Sea Glass Grill, Ocean’s Daughter Distillery and the International Mermaid Museum are located halfway between Aberdeen and Westport in coastal Washington State. For more information call 360.648.2224 or go to the Westport Winery website.