An eau de vie spirit distilled from smoke-tainted Hunter Valley shiraz grapes by Sydney’s Archie Rose distillery.
Finding a home for grapes that were tainted by lingering smoke as a result of the horrific 2019-2020 bushfire season, Archie Rose sourced around 50 tonnes of fruit from a series of producers in the region.
No longer suitable to make wine, the distilling team experimented with them through the stills, making specific heads and tails cuts to suit the spirit.
This Shiraz Spirit (part of the Trials & Exceptions series) is the first of three releases from those grapes. The final release will be a brandy that the distillery estimates needs three-to-four years in barrel.
One of the better white grape spirits to pass across our desk in recent years (even putting the context to one side), it’s fruity, sweet and smooth. Not rough or dirty like young grape spirit can often be, there’s almost no smoke here either – if you want to find it you’ll need to go looking for it.
Sold out from the distillery before it arrived in store, there are just 1,000 bottles in the run.
In Archie Rose’s own words:
“Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit is an eau de vie distilled from salvaged smoke tainted grapes as the first product in a three-part series to support the Hunter Valley wine community following the devastating 2019 / 2020 bushfires.
“Packaged as the second release under the Trials & Exceptions Series, our new range reserved for exceptional casks and small-batch trials, this innovative eau de vie is one of the first of its kind in Australia and showcases our experimentation with wine made from 50 plus tonnes of smoke-tainted Hunter Valley 2020 shiraz and cabernet sauvignon grapes with the majority of spirit to be aged for release as a brandy in coming years.
“Displaying lively notes of tropical fruits, crème fraîche and berries with just the slightest suggestion of smoke, it’s an adventurous spirit, unusual at first in taste but excellent with the simple addition of fresh-pressed apple juice or even Coca-Cola and freshly squeezed lime juice.”
- New South Wales
- Archie Rose