If you want to be historically factual— and you know that I love getting into historical details— the earliest juniper flavored spirits were distilled from a base of wine. In other words, grapes. Just like G’vine Floraison.
The folks behind G’vine are no stranger to the history of gin and grape-spirit-based-gins. In fact they are behind the 2014 re-creation of a 1495 gin recipe discovered in a Dutch text (yes, the GIN is IN has reviewed it).
But unlike the 1495 Gins, G’vine Floraison has both feet in the modern day. Though distilled from a base of grape, it’s designed to appeal to modern sensibilities.
Firstly, it’s distilled from the Ugni Blanc or Trebbiano grape. This grape is one of the most widely planted in the world. It has a very high yield, which makes it great for table white wines. It’s even used in the production of balsamic vinegar. But those high yields make it especially attractive to those who distill. So Cognac and Armagnac love the Ugni Blanc and use it quite widely.
Though the base spirit is from distilled Ugni Blanc grapes, it’s the grape flowers that are perhaps most unique in G’vine Floraison’s grape profile. The flowers are harvested before they can fruit. They are then macerated and distilled, just as each of the other nine botanicals are— separately. They are then blended, and distilled one more time (all together now!)
The nose for G’vine Floraison is like an epic album opener. It sets the stage. If you didn’t know what you were about to get into— now you know. Maybe for me it’s kind of like the way Radiohead’s Kid A opens with Everything In its Right Place. Coming from the world of OK Computer, Radiohead boldly began with the statement: “this might not be what you were expecting.”
And like Kid A— it’s one of the greatest beginnings in all of gin. Lime, a delicate but somewhat un-place-able floral note, and a dash of juniper so you know it’s a gin. It’s a left turn, sure. But it’s a really exciting one.
The palate is complex and exciting as well. It’s a well integrated journey from start to finish that takes you on a roller coaster of different aromatics. First some floral notes capture the attention. Then juniper, ginger root and kaffir lime leaf open up to an unexpected anise, pepper and juniper mid-palate.
The anise note hovers over the rest of the finish. Though the sweet candied lime zest and gentle piney juniper come on again in the background, hints of cardamom, vanilla and licorice root come through strong and clear.
G’vine Floraison has an exceptional texture on its own, but the botanical tenacity and drawn out long finish only serve to exemplify the exquisite blending that goes into it.
On it’s own, it’s one of my favorites to sip neat.
G’vine Floraison never seems to let me down in cocktails. But it also adds its own unique touch. The grape blossom and floral touches are evident even when shaken in drinks like the Aviation. However, they come through as boldly in the Negroni. The combination of floral at first and licorice on the end is memorable and delicious.
It also makes a great Martini. I prefer it with a twist, but you can Gibson, Dirty Martini, or go Churchhill and you’ll find that G’vine Floraison shows you a different and wonderful side. Go for a spicy Vermouth like La Quintinye Vermouth Royal Extra Dry and add a dash of Maraschino and Black Walnut Bitters (i.e. Pascal Martini) for one of the best drinks I think you can make. The cherry notes amplify some of the lime early, but the nuttiness complements Floraison’s late anise and pepper notes. Highly Recommended.
Though my favorite drink with Floraison is the Gin and Tonic. I don’t think any contemporary style gin better complements the gentle bitterness of tonic than this one. To me, a G’vine Floraison and Tonic is quintessentially spring. I love it.
Amazingly, when I first wrote about this gin ten years ago, I thought it was “as contemporary as it gets.” And oddly enough, after ten years of writing about contemporary style gins. It still is. But this ambitious, floral-forward take on gin has aged exceptionally well*. It’s just as “out there” as when I first tried it, but it’s just as good— perhaps better. In a world where so many are trying to push the boundaries of gin, EuroWineGate did the same thing— and it still may be one of, if not the, best.
Compared alongside it’s peers, G’vine Floraison is still as contemporary as it gets. But it’s still the bar to which all others aspire to reach.
*No whiskey puns, please