In a world where the wine spectrum is as diverse as the rainbow, where winemaking techniques challenge palates with tasting profiles ranging from forest floors to forest fruits, boutique distiller Bass & Flinders is twisting the lid on a pairing with a difference. Pinot Noir… the femme fatale of the winemaking world is truly a tale of passion. Known as the ‘heartbreak’ grape, this wickedly fickle grape tests winemakers’ hearts, spirits and commitment to the edge.
So, what possessed Head Distiller and Managing Director Holly Klintworth and Distiller and Production Manager Dan Calvert to take the challenge of seducing this enchantress into the stills of the Gin making world? It was a natural progression of the distillery’s grape-based spirit production process, with the key objective of producing a truly food-focussed gin, celebrating natural sweetness and wine-based qualities, as opposed to an aperitif style drink that relied on a jammy and saccharine palate for drinkability.
Bass & Flinders, are futuristic in their approach to innovation; from using ant pheromones for the iconic Angry Ant Gin, developed in partnership with a Melbourne University entomologist, to collaborating with world-renowned French cognac house Normandin-Mercier to develop a heralded Cuvée French-Australian blend of cognac and brandy, they focussed on very traditional foundations to ensure this was not an aperitif drink, but a food-focussed spirit that would test the traditional wines it hopes to compete with.
Heartbreak Gin has a little more elasticity than a traditional Pinot – one of the perks of the spirit medium. Sweetness can be enhanced with mixers such as Mediterranean Tonic, intensity leveraged through just serving neat on ice, or acidity increased by serving it as a sour. All this said, the profile of this Gin is founded on those of the providence of the Pinot grape and Pinot wine profile to ensure it truly is a food-first Gin. With traditional Pinot flavours incorporating cherries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, game, mushroom, and toast, Heartbreak matches the light to medium body of the wine, light acidity and fruit-based flavours.
“A combination of classic and native Australian botanicals were carefully selected to truly reflect the unique aromas and flavours associated with Pinot Noir grown on the Tuerong Plains on the Mornington Peninsula, where our parcel of fruit was harvested,” said Klintworth.
By transfiguring flavonoids present in the skins this process allows a gentle extraction of Pinot’s signature tannins and burgundy pigments.
Heartbreak Gin has an ABV of 38%, and is presented in a 700ml bottle priced at $88. It is available online at https://www.bassandflindersdistillery.com/products/heartbreak-gin700ml or at selected Dan Murphy stores and online at danmurphys.com.au.