A key ethos for Holly Klintworth and the team at Bass & Flinders is to celebrate and source ‘local’ as much as possible, and the new Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin exemplifies this perfectly.
In creating the gin using Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula, home to Bass & Flinders, Holly and the team worked to ensure this was not an aperitif drink, but a food-focused spirit that would test the traditional wines it hopes to compete with.
Holly explained to Bars and Clubs where the inspiration came from, for the gin: “The Mornington Peninsula is known for premium Pinot Noir and we’ve always looked to what’s available in our own backyard, on the Peninsula for inspirations,” she said.
“We’ve got a pretty close connection to the winemakers, and our production manager Dan he’s actually a winemaker by trade. So this is something that we’ve wanted to do for a little while and we made the call this year, probably a little bit too late in the season and we just managed to get our hands on the last of the fruit for the season.
“It’s very much continuing that line of being dedicated to creating gins that are able to be matched with food, we produced the Orient and Maritime gins for a very similar reason. The Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin is dedicated to people who love Pinot Noir, but don’t necessarily want to commit to opening a whole bottle and then not finishing it and then happy to go down the drain.
“So we really tried hard to produce a gin that had a lot of the flavours and aromas that you would expect to find in Pinot Noir and therefore would equally be able to match with the similar meals that you would enjoy with Pinot Noir.”
Having had the inspiration and idea to create the gin, Holly and the team then set about actually making it work.
She told Bars and Clubs about the process: “We’ve done it in a fairly unique way in that we got the fruit and we allowed a natural fermentation to take place and we actually fortified the juice with the gin. Then it became a process of adding botanical distillate that we generally would associate with Pinot Noir. So Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir, in particular, you generally find bright strawberry, raspberry fruits, as well as some floral violet and lavender notes.
“It’s interesting because wine can be really subjective and they throw around all of these different flavours and aromas. So that gives us a whole host of different flavours and aromas to cherry pick based on how that fermentation played out and the notes that we really wanted to highlight to celebrate Peninsula Pinot Noir in particular.”
And like wine, that means this gin will change with each vintage, but as Klintworth explained this is something the B&F team is used to.
“I think the botanicals we choose might very well change depending on the fruit and the aroma we find that particular vintage of Pinot Noir has, and we can get a little bit creative with what we want to highlight depending on that vintage,” she said.
“This is our inaugural vintage, it’s our 2021 Pinot Noir Heartbreak Gin. Interestingly, it’s something that we as a distillery are fairly familiar with given we distil our own grape spirit using wine. We usually have to adjust our gin recipe every year to make a consistent product based on the fact that the base, spirit changes every year because of vintage.
“The nice thing about this gin, is it’s the first that we’re actually able to celebrate vintage rather than try and balance it out.”
And having created the first Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin, Holly said she was delighted with the way the gin not only works with food as initially planned, but also that it stands up as an enjoyable gin.
“We did a team tasting the other week and we tried it with all the different tonics so as far as a G&T goes we’ve chosen the Mediterranean Tonic,” Holly said.
“It’s perfect because there’s some savoury notes in the gin and we’ve actually used rosemary and sage as some of the botanicals.
“And then it works really beautifully in a sour. It’s also something that you can sip neat is a bit of an aperitif, but it’s also something that we want people to be able to drink with food. So I think the opportunities are endless as far as coming up with cocktails that work with food roast lamb and duck a l’orange and those foods that are traditionally paired with Pinot Noir.”
Heartbreak Gin is available until sold out via Bass & Flinders and comes in a 700ml bottle at 38 per cent ABV and with an $88 RRP.