A decade ago, a Shiraz Gin might have seemed like a magical concoction more likely to be served in one of those weird Star Wars bars than the household favourite it has become. Four Pillars from the Yarra Valley took the early steps when distiller, Cam MacKenzie, decided he wanted to do something like a sloe gin, but not a sloe gin as he was not a fan of that style. The colour and sweetness in Shiraz grapes gave him the perfect alternative. From a toe dipped in the water, production of their Bloody Shiraz Gin is now approaching 100,000 bottles.
Others have followed, which was inevitable. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ (he goes on to say ‘… that mediocrity can pay to greatness’ but here, this does not apply). Those who have also trod this path can claim to have made some superb, exciting spirits. For me, the more the merrier. Keep them coming.
The Barossa, seen by many as home to Australia’s best Shiraz, is an obvious place for distillers to source grapes for this style of Gin. The guys at Seppeltsfield Road Distillers are seventh generation Barossans and, amongst an excellent array of Gins, have a delicious Shiraz Gin. Their latest is their 2020 ($80/50ml, 38.5%). Production has apparently skyrocketed from less than 1,000 bottles to almost 3,000, for this their 3rd release, so although perhaps not as ubiquitous as Four Pillars, fans should be able locate it. An ideal Gin for World Gin Day – 13th June.
The most obvious question asked is how does it compare to Four Pillars. This might be power of suggestion but to me, what is absolutely obvious is how both are true to their origins. The FP has an elegance about it and the flavours are more refined. The Seppeltsfield is rich, ripe, bold and oozing flavour. So pretty much along the lines one might expect from a bottle of wine from each region, as a generalisation.
The team at Seppeltsfield are delighted with their latest release, believing it their best. They used top-notch Shiraz from the Western Barossa, grown in accordance with organic principles.
Inky black/purple, this is plush and full of delicious mulberry and plum notes, black fruits and a little bit of sweetness (which actually makes it a fine option to match with a good cigar – far more suitable than a red wine). Even with flavours to burn, this is nicely balanced. Soft texture and excellent length. A little different, but a joy to drink. Hard to imagine that this will not sell out quickly.
Look to your favourite spirits retailer or www.seppeltsfieldroaddistillers.com.au/shop.