Le Gin Français le plus connu au monde et complètement unique (translates to something like blah blah blah … I’m gin. Drink me).
G’Vine is batch distilled using a neutral grape spirit and fresh whole-fruit botanicals in France’s Cognac region. While the region may be known as the birth place of centuries-old distillation practices using the Ugni Blanc grape variety, in modern times G’Vine was the first to use it as a base spirit for gin. This specific type of grape is recognised for its adaptability to the distillation process and is high in acidity and neutral in flavour. More commonly associated with brandy, it is this unconventional grape-based spirit that gives the G’Vine duo their distinct character.
Using grape as a base, just as the very first historical juniper spirits in France, Belgium and Holland back in the 13th century were crafted (Genevers are made from maltwine), the distillers have achieved a silky taste to both G’Vine Gins, Floraison and Nouaison. Arguably both are at the edge of the gin category’s flavour spectrum, but not necessarily in a bad way. By marrying ancestral grape distillation techniques and infusion practices with the cutting edge introduction of the vine flower, the production mixes tradition and local heritage along with more modern, progressive attitudes, resulting in a new take on the centuries old spirit. It’s genuinely different and in a very interesting way.
For both G’Vine Gins, the initial stage of production begins each September, when the grapes are harvested and converted into wine. The wine is then distilled in a column still producing a neutral grape spirit over 96.4 % ABV. Unlike the traditional grain spirit associated with gin production, this neutral grape spirit is significantly smoother with a heady body.
So far, so good – everyone’s still with us? Let’s take it one step more complicated… Both G’Vine Gins – Floraison and Nouaison – emphasise the character of the vine flower which blossoms once a year in mid-June for just a few days before giving birth to a grape berry. This lush period of new beginnings is called floraison in French. The vibrant and intense period following the vine blossom, called the setting in English, is nouaison.
This delicate vine flower, which exists for just a few days before maturing into a grape berry, is immediately hand picked to preserve its fragrance. The flower is then carefully macerated in the neutral grape spirit over several days to obtain the best floral essence, before being distilled in a small Florentine pot still.
During this infusion process, as the neutral grape spirit and the green flower infusion are nurtured, nine other botanicals including juniper berries, ginger root, liquorice, cassia bark, green cardamom, coriander, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime are all individually macerated and distilled separately in small, bespoke liquor stills.
In the final stage of the process, the green grape flower infusion and the botanical distillates as well as some more neutral grape spirit are all blended together and undergo one final distillation in a copper pot still affectionately nicknamed “Lily Fleur”.
Confused? So were we. Let’s just recap – separate maceration & distillations of 9 different botanicals get blended with a vine flower infused grape based spirit before all of it gets distilled together one last time. Out comes high strength super silky G’Vine! Easy.
G’Vine Floraison is then bottled at 40% ABV and with vibrant floral notes bursting though like the name suggests, it certainly makes for a different proposition. The floral flavours of the vine flower are dominant on the palate, but the gin finishes with a zesty mix of juniper and ginger.
We feel that the spirit itself lives up to the bold statements attached in the brand’s information booklets. Although we wouldn’t have necessarily phrased it as such: “G’Vine Floraison captures the essence of the ephemeral and exhilarating fragrance of the vine flower, with the warmth of summer’s arrival.” This ephemeral nature makes it an interesting gin to use in cocktails, adding a personality of its own to each drink.
There are other nice touches too. The transparency and design of the bottle reflects the fresh essence of the contents with the chic, green coating on the bottle’s shoulders reminiscent of vineyards during Spring time. Sold at just over £30 it’s a good price for the quality of the gin and a unique offering on the gin shelf.
G’Vine Nouaison on the other hand is bottled at the slightly higher 43.9% ABV and attempts to embody the concentration, intensity and spiciness of its namesake phase. The spirit is noticeably spicier than its sister, but retains the similar silky characteristics set by the grape spirit. G’Vine Nouaison offers an alternative to the classic London Dry style although we’re not sure why the comparably small ABV increase has warranted a £10 increase in the cost. At over £40 it’s not as strong a proposition as it could be and that’s a shame because, out of the two gins, Nouaison is the better offering. Unfortunately, at that price point it’s considerably less worthwhile as a purchase (in comparison to other craft producers from the US & UK whose gins retail at the same price).
The concept of the name and phase of growth is once again reflected in Nouaison’s bottle design but perhaps less successfully this time round (we’re unsure at how silver-grey translates the concentration of energy) but if we had to judge on the contents alone, as we mentioned above, Nouaison would be our recommendation out of the two.
The producer, EuroWinegate, was founded in 2001 by experienced distillers and oenologists Jean Sébastien Robicquet and Bruno de Reilhac. The company specialises in innovation, creation and distribution of contemporary world class spirits & wines. G’Vine epitomises their approach and both the team and the gins deserve praise for attempting something new with panache and savoir-faire.
Competitions like the G’Vine Gin Connoisseur Program go someway to demonstrate their attention to detail and exhaustive approach to research, development and commitment to their work. Since 2010, the competition has increased in size and in ambition. With (amongst others) Gaz Regan as part of the judges, the Connoisseur Program is set to continue growing and no doubt we’ll all be hearing a lot about it and from the G’Vine Gin team in years to come.
Both G’Vine Gins offer a real point of difference. While this may not to be to everyone’s liking – it marks them out as unique and the drink has certainly found a fan base. Those who do enjoy this gin are vociferous advocates and loyal, too.
For more information about G’Vine visit their website: www.g-vine.com
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