Noilly Prat Original Dry Vermouth is the original vermouth created by herbalist Joseph Noilly in Lyon in 1813. It was Frances’s first vermouth. In 1855 Joseph Noilly’s son, Louis, and his English son-in-law, Claudius Prat, relocated the company, now known as Noilly Prat to Marseillan, in the Hérault département of southern France, which sits on the Etang de Thau lagoon and is the southern entry point for the Canal de Midi. Noilly Prat remains in Marseillan to this day and has become something of a tourist attraction. It has been owned by Bacardi-Martini since 1992. Noilly Prat has been made in almost exactly the same way since the 1850s in a way that was designed to mimic the ageing process of barrels of wine transported around the oceans by trading ships. A white white is made using grapes from the surrounding Languedoc region, including the local grape varieties Picpoul and Clairette. The white wine is aged indoors in huge wooden vats for 8 months. After this initial ageing process it is transferred to old (20 to 60 year old) smaller oak barrels which are then left to age outside in the elements for one year. The barrels are aged in an old walled compound known as L’Enclos. During this time the wine gently oxidises and darkens in colour and the wine. After this time the wine is brought back indoors and fortified with a local mistelle (a blend of grape juice and alcohol, Pineau des Charente is probably the most famous of these). Finally the fortified, oxidised wine is transferred to La Salle de Secrets. It is here that the Noilly Prat herbalist adds the secret combination of herbs and spices that makes Noilly Prat so special. The herbs and spices are left to macerate for three weeks, a process known as dodinage. These include Roman Chamomile, French Gentian, Indonesian nutmeg, bitter orange from Tunisia, coriander and cloves. Noilly Prat is then finally ready for bottling after a process that has taken 4 years.