3 Aussie craft spirits for World Pinot Noir Day
Combining the influence of Pinot Noir’s complexity with the abundance of flavours we find in Australian craft spirits actually makes a lot of sense. These three Aussie craft distillers have created something that’s worthy of celebrating not just on World Pinot Noir Day, but any day you like!
You might be wondering what the connection between Pinot Noir wine and Australian craft spirits could possibly be.
There are a couple of obvious connections.
Of course, both are alcoholic beverages. Both start with a fermentation process. Both taste great! And some distillers even use grape-based spirit to make their gins and vodkas.
But after that, the divide begins and it widens quickly. Aussie craft spirits are even taxed differently to wine, but that’s a whole other conversation.
These three Aussie craft spirits, however, are superb examples of that divide closing again, when wine becomes an integral part of the final product leaving the distillery.
Belgrove Distillery and its founder-owner-distiller Peter Bignall have produced unique spirits from the very beginning over 12 years ago.
Peter’s focus is always on zero waste, recycling, up-cycling doing things properly from scratch. He built his still by hand, he heats it with bio-fuel—old oil collected from local restaurants—he grows his own grain and feeds the used mash to his livestock.
So using ex-pinot barrels to age his whisky was probably just par for the course for him. The result though is far from run of the mill.
Peter is one of the only distillers in the country to make 100% pure rye whisky. Even rarer is his paddock-to-bottle process.
But his Pinot Cask Rye Whisky has even more going on than Belgrove’s ryes. After maturing for three years in the ex-Pinot Noir barrels, there’s a sweetness to this whisky, and a complexity and depth that pays tribute to the wine that came before and respect for the whisky it is.
From its beautiful distillery in Grindelwald, TAS—its cute little tasting room that looks down over the distillery floor is well worth visiting by the way—Turner Stillhouse crafts excellent gins (and soon whisky too).
But their Pinot Barrel Rested Gin takes a big step in a different direction to their other gins.
Shining with twelve botanicals from Australia and sourced internationally, and a grape-base spirit, this gin has taken on a gentle golden hue from sitting in ex-Pinot Noir casks for a while.
The residual wine in the timber of the barrels—as well as the oak from the barrels themselves—brings a richness and spiciness to the gin. There’s also licks of Christmas cake and baked orange amidst the juniper-led botanicals.
Perfect on its own over ice, in an old fashioned, a negroni or even just with a splash of ginger ale, this barrel-aged gin is just delicious.
The brilliant brainchild of the godfather of Australian craft distilling, Bill Lark, Forty Spotted Gin harnesses the nature around it—the rugged, untamed landscape of the Tasmanian wilderness.
Sophisticated combinations of botanicals run throughout their bold gin range, elevating flavours of citrus, herbs, spices and floral notes. And the striking upside down bottle shape is symbolic of how differently this brand does things.
Even more striking is the bright purple colour of Forty Spotted’s Pinot Noir Gin, showcasing the main feature in the gin’s botanical line-up at its purest.
Incorporating full-bodied Pinot Noir grapes from Tasmanian vines into the profile brings a sweetness and fruitiness to this gin.
Peppery savoury juniper, fresh citrus and red berry notes accompany the rich viscosity and a tannic dryness from the grapes as well as that tantalising colour.
Forty Spotted’s Pinot Noir Release supercharges a negroni, works beautifully over ice and with a spritz of soda water and a slice of orange, you’ve got heaven in a glass!