Grapes within gin is a rather niche subject, especially if coming from England itself. The French styles of G’Vine is probably the most recognisable name to be made from grapes, but Chilgrove claim to be the very first from England, and launched in time for World Gin Day this time last year. So, why the hype on grapes?
For this, we need to head to the hamlet of Chilgrove itself.
Christopher Beaumont-Hutchings and his wife Celia can be found at the foot of the South Downs in Sussex. It’s here that they came to the idea of using grapes within their gin after inspiration from the original wine bases found in jenever. With Celia growing up in The Hague, it was to be more of a natural fit and they enlisted Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillery to become their Master Distiller to help develop the recipe. Chilgrove keeps the gin traditional with its production methods, and utilises the natural mineral water that is filtered through chalk from the Downs. The neutral grape spirit is a combination of Bobal, Airen and Tempranillo grapes and has within it 11 botanicals; juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, sweet orange, bitter orange, orris root, liquorice root, grains of paradise, fresh lime, savory and wild water mint.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Chilgrove – 44%
Soft, with a slight bitter orange and orris root coming through on the nose. Small hints of fresh lime and coriander come through near the end. A developing sharpness upon the palate, with an underlining sweetness from the liquorice and orange. A light base from the grapes holds together a good kick root spice and fresh mint to create a lingering finish.
Great on its own, and within one of these –
The Chilgrove Fizz
25 ml Chilgrove Dry Gin
25 ml Fresh pink grapefruit juice
25 ml Fresh lemon juice
Sparkling Wine (English, Champagne or Prosecco)
Shake the gin and juice well with ice. Pour gently through the top of a ¾ full ﬂute of sparkling wine. Garnish with a thin twist of orange peel.
A great drink for all year round, and a different take for a welcome drink if you were to impress your friends. The use of grapes offers a different take on your classic gin styles, and even if you’re a fan of G’Vine, don’t expect this to be similar. The botanicals make all the difference between the two brands, and they both offer a unique outlook to the gin category.
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