English Wine Makers branching into Gin
Everyone knows how much I love wine and with Gin fast becoming my second go to (Or first when out and about), it was about time that I started to look at combining the two, surely I was onto a winner.
Firstly I got to try a Gin that had been aged in an old red wine cask, taking on some of the wine characteristics, which you can read about here.
But then came another wine/gin combo surprise.
Whilst attending the NRB (Northern Restaurant and Bar) event in March, I got to try out a few English wines that were spectacular, from Kent wine producer Chapel Down, who supply 10 Downing Street with their wines (Maybe more of their wines will be reviewed in the future). Whilst chatting to them about these wines, I got to learn how they had also branched out into ciders and beers that utilised their wine-making techniques and then Gin was mentioned and my ears pricked up!
The thing that really caught my attention during this chat, was a Pinot Noir Gin, so I just had to find out a lot more about it more.
The Pinot Noir Gin is made using the discarded grape skins from the production of their wine, these skins would usually just be discarded, but not anymore. The leftover grape skins can be repressed and then distilled with botanical’s including juniper, coriander, red berries, rose buds, citrus, rose-hips and angelica to produce a great spirit.
Its a wonder that its taken so long for the wine makers to stem into spirits in this fashion. Wine production is time consuming and relies on good crops year after year, so financially, one bad crop could have a massive impact on the companies finances, which in turn could force them to release a substandard product. However with the introduction of a secondary product like Gin (Which takes a lot less time to produce), it can mean a more stable income on which to rely.
The bottle, in addition to the liquid inside, is also stunning. Designed to look partly like a wine bottle and partly like a decanter, it mixes the Wine and Spirit theme perfectly, while looking very high end on the shelf.
So what about the taste of the Gin itself?
The wine-making techniques and existing skills that are used by Chapel Down have developed a well balanced ‘pink gin’ at 41.2% ABV. It has an initial nose of rosebuds, soft and delicate, but with the Juniper leading the palette and a really light and refreshing citrus finish.
I mixed the Gin with a premium light tonic, and then found that it worked exceptionally well with Fever-Tree elder-flower.
Chapel Down Pinot Noir Gin is available to purchase from Selfridges for £42.99 or directly from Chapel House here