For a while I had heard about Cocchi Americano. It had captured my imagination that such a company could still exist, let alone relaunch an aromatized wine named after Americans and it is not even vermouth! Cocchi is a direct descendant of the Piemontese companies that were the first to make wine brands. Seemingly, all of them, made Spumante and Vermouth, with maybe a Barolo Chinato or some other wine based Aperitivo beverage on the side. Martini & Rossi is the most famous of these, and it is still actively successful. Cocchi has a nice story of Giulio Cocchi, the founder, moving from Florence to Asti and getting involved (via a love interest) in the bar and beverage business. They seem to have been a higher-end brand from the beginning, selling through authorized dealers. However, as global tastes changed many of these brands barely survived. Cocchi barely made it, maybe only because the ownership had a continued connection to the wine industry. With Vermouth slowly perching back up and the emergence of the quality driven Alta Langa DOCG sparkling wine appellation in Piemonte, this window gave the ownership the confidence to “relaunch” the products back into commercially available production.
They also relaunched the Americano. Presumably this is because bartenders now looking for these sort of things created the market again. This does not seem that crazy now, but 4 years ago when bottles started to trickle into NYC speakeasies, it really seemed unbelievable. It is also interesting to note that early labels on their website actually show an American flag on the Cocchi Americano label.
The Americano is an aromatized wine that is in its own category. Depending on the brand one may see it closer to a vermouth, or a quinine drink. However one would be hard pressed to create a tasting of Americanos that had more than a few options.
This version is made from a Moscato base and justly aromatic and gentle. It is lightly flavoured and is great by itself with an ice cube. Even topping off some prosecco with it is a simple-to-make drink.
Recently Cocchi has released a red version. I do not know if this is a historically accurate for the brand or rather a version reacting to market demands. I would not be surprised either way (Lillet Rouge was created specifically for the American Market in the 60’s and they recently launched a Rose version presumably banking on the whole French Rose craze in the states).
In addition they have released their Dopo Teatro Vermouth Amaro which from my understanding is a vermouth one would drink alone like an amaro.