There’s been a groundswell of new entrants to the wine/gin hybrid space following the remarkable success of Four Pillars’ Bloody Shiraz Gin. McLaren Vale’s Never Never Distilling Co has the grenache gin, Ginache; Mornington Peninsula-based Bass & Flinders has a pinot noir expression, Heartbreak Gin; and Reed & Co Distilling in Bright, Victoria, used smoke-tainted gewurztraminer grapes in its new spirit dubbed Gin & Juice. Personally, I’m all for it. Rather than aping London Dry Gin, our distillers should be making spirits with a sense of place, that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world.
Australia is a wine nation first and foremost, so our grapes and barrels are ripe for exploration. Canberra’s Antipodes Gin Co has entered the arena with a Chardonnay Barrel Aged expression, featuring its Pink Gin rested for five months in ex-Lark Hill chardonnay French oak barriques.
The oak maturation has softened the heat and bitterness of the spirit, rounding out the palate with a creamy, toasty barrel character that complements the underlying botanicals; an aromatic mix headlined by Tasmanian pepperberry. Golden in appearance, it’s a delicious sipping gin that underlines the versatility of this emerging category of Aussie gins. Enjoy it on the rocks as a digestif.