Dromana-based distiller Bass & Flinders has added Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin to its innovative range of spirits.
The distiller emphasises that this is not an aperitif drink, but a food-focussed spirit designed 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,” said Director and Head Distiller Holly Klintworth.
“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.”
Klintworth understands the finer nuances of what makes a food and wine pairing complimentary.
“The basics of pairings revolve around food-based characteristics like salt, acidity, sweetness and fat, and from that we work out how intensity, and spice can enhance those experiences,” she said.
The 1000 bottles of the inaugural 2021 Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin are dedicated to those who love to sip and savour a glass of Pinot Noir but don’t want to commit to opening a whole bottle, not finishing it, and then throwing the residual away. Specifically designed to be paired with dishes traditionally matched with Pinot Noir, the gin is best served alongside a hearty meal such as roast Lamb or Duck a l’Orange.
Dan Calvert Distiller and Production Manager at Bass & Flinders devoted his professional life to the production of award-winning wines for almost two decades. He entered the wine industry in 2000 at Mornington-based winery T’Gallant, graduating in Wine Science from Charles Sturt University, working with Quealy and also producing his own gold-medal winning Pinot Noir wine in 2017 before starting at Bass & Flinders.
“Pinot Noir is the most honest of all wines,” he explained. “Finesse and grace are its strengths, leaving zero tolerance for mistakes, allowing them to be laid bare for all to see. Examining a glass of Pinot is like examining the region, the terroir, the grower and the maker all at once. Only those that truly understand are able to be proactive, not reactive and consistently produce excellence. But even the best can be left pulling at their hair or shouting their joy one moment to the next while remaining blindly devoted. This is why Pinot Noir is known as the Heartbreak grape.”
Craft gin the category to watch
Gin has been one of the fastest growing spirits in the world in recent years, with one of the biggest trends being expressions of flavours and colours, driving distillers to be more experimental with what was once a very traditional spirit.
There are no signs of this consumption trend slowing. In the last 12 months alone, Endeavour Group has seen Australian-made craft and premium gin sales grow by over 50% across both Dan Murphy’s and BWS.
“We are seeing a huge trend of customers wanting to support local, Australian-made drinks across all drinks categories, but it’s most noticeable in gin,” said Endeavour Group’s Glass Spirits Category Manager Elise McNeil.
“The trend among consumers is to choose a gin that is produced as locally as possible, and with many Aussies spending more time than ever exploring their own backyard, they have been discovering Australian distilleries and gins at pace.”
In a renaissance that frees distillers of the legacy of traditional production, craft distilleries are downing a shot of their own ‘Dutch Courage’ and rebelling against the juniper dominant jenevers of bygone days.
Klintworth is one of the few female distillers making waves in the world of spirits and sees the current environment as an amazing opportunity for distillers to let loose with creativity and individual expression. Armed with an MBA, and spending years abroad working with premium brands such as Dior, Absolut, and Havana Club, she returned to Australia with a profound understanding of both strategy and equipped with hands-on knowledge of most traditional of premium distillation techniques.
Together with the rising popularity of consumer-driven demands for hyper locality, Bass & Flinders is pushing the boundaries of the trend for flavoured spirits. From foraging for seaweed for the Maritime Gin, to partnering with Mornington locals for the supply of premium truffles for the Truffle Gin, its efforts have caught the eyes of Endeavour Group (BWS/Dan Murphy’s), and are now being retailed at selected stores, in addition to direct sales via the distillery door and website.
It has been found that 66% of 18–26-year-old want more choice of interesting colours and flavours, and that flavoured gin has a younger demographic, with 55% of consumers aged under 35 years of age. A forecast that spirit category growth between 2020-2024 will come from gin first, followed by flavoured spirits second.
Bass & Flinders has always been futuristic in its 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, it focussed on very traditional foundations to create Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin.
There are now more than 700 craft gins in Australia, with many winning awards globally in this $1 billion dollar industry. A change to the nature of travel has meant that innovative distilleries have had to turn to non-visitation dependant sales, and this includes partnerships with key retail partners like Endeavour Group, as well as investment in e-commerce platforms.
In addition to this, ongoing surprises to hook consumers with the novel and unique have become a clear focus on the distillation calendar, according to Darren Baxter, Sales and Marketing Manager at Bass & Flinders.
Emerging global trends show a desire for deeper connections with brands, with inspired and informed shoppers wanting to learn more. This insight has led to the integration of a QR code on the bottle of Heartbreak Pinot Noir Gin that shares the production process, R&D, and faces behind the distillery in more depth.
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-gin-700ml or at selected Dan Murphy stores.