Does it sound odd that a gin would come from Cognac-country (France)? G’Vine Gin, according to the producer, is the first grape-based gin known in modern times. Two styles to choose from, both from the Ugni Blanc grape which springs from the hallowed soils of Cognac, located in the Charente region/department,
Photo Attribution: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License. From the Author: “Les 5 pétales sont soudés entre eux par leur sommet. Ils se détachent par le bas en formant une coiffe. Ugni blanc, Cognac.”
An aside: Does it further sound odd that Cognac is grape-based? The Ugni Blanc grape provides 98 percent of the grape content of Cognac. Trivia: All Cognac is brandy, but all brandies are not Cognac. To be designated “Cognac,” the grapes must be grown in Cognac and all phases of production must begin and end in Cognac.
Le Gins Francais:
G’Vine produces two small batch gins: Floraison (80 proof) and Nouaison (87.8 proof), both grape-based and incorporating the “vine flower essence” into the distillation, among other botanicals. With quality gin, it’s always about the botanicals.
I chose G’Vine’s ‘Nouaison’ [87.8 proof] for this post, but fell in love with the Floraison bottle, all fresh and green and crystal-like. Would have been perfect for my bar (see it below). I have not sampled the ‘Floraison.’ Some info below on the differences between the two.
Here’s how it happens:
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.
The Vine Flower:
Both G’Vine Gins – Floraison and Nouaison – emphasize the character of 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 while G’Vine Nouaison get its name after the vibrant and intense period following the vine blossom called the setting (or Nouaison in French).
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. Source: The Gin Foundry – more informational than the G’Vine website (all emphasis is mine)
Gin drinkers are picky. I count myself among them. The Gin Master’s recipe –– the combination of botanicals and base spirit –– make the magic for each gin palate. My favorite is Bombay Sapphire. A close second (for taste and, specifically, value) is the old standby, Beefeaters, and a Texas Gin I’ll review soon.
The nose of Nouaison neat is heady, perfumy, lovely. Light on Juniper, both in the nose and in the glass. Licorice, mint and clove hold their own.
Once mixed with good quality tonic, much of the bouquet faded. To be expected? Depends on the gin. Does it matter? Not unless your nose cares.
Clovey-citrusy-spice in the nose. A gentle finish.
Before treating the tonic to the gin, Nouaison’s long legs were pretty on the crystal bowl, and with all the swirling, and such, the bouquet remained enticing. The shot below is awkward, but the only background that showed a good representation.
Nouaison receives five distillations. Adding tonic did not diminish a lush, silky feel on the palate. There is a forward sweetness (grape essence) that does not remind me of London Drys, but not every gin is intended to fit that category.
G’Vine has named their copper pot still: Lily Fleur. Have to love that. The website is inviting. The estate, the vineyards –– exquisite. Visit here.
G’Vine: Floraison “Fresh and Floral.” Nouaison: “Intense and Spicy”
G’Vine Serving Suggestion: “Pay attention to the glass – a large, rounded wine glass works best appropriately acknowledging the grape as well as fully capturing the complex aromas. Fill it with big ice cubes.”
I have some rather biggish Burgundy glasses that get little use. Wish I had thought of them when I was mixing and photographing.
Pronunciations: These phonetics are considered ‘accepted’ in the U.S., and not intended to take the place of the accent or the pronunciation of the origin. Don’t worry about accent marks. Say it as you see the phonetics.
Floraison: Floor-eh-szon (flor-eh-szon)
Nouaison: New-eh-szon (New rhymes with mew)
Ugni Blanc: Oooh-nyee Blawnk (Blawn)
DISCLAIMER: MaggieVillines.com is a personal blog, featuring wine, spirits, books, writing and food –– you know, the finer things in life. Unless otherwise sourced, everything you read here is my opinion. I purchased G’Vine Nouaison from my local retailer, Parkhill’s South in Tulsa (thank you, James!). I was not paid to write this review by G’Vine or any entity.