Archie Rose pioneers spirit made from smoke-tainted grapes

Australian distillery Archie Rose is set to launch a Shiraz-based spirit distilled from smoke tainted grapes, part of a three-part series to support the Hunter Valley wine community following the bushfires.

Damage to vineyards in New South Wales, as well as smoke taint, caused by the bushfires which started in 2019 hit the local wine industry hard, with some declaring the 2020 harvest a write-off. In order to support the local wine community, Archie Rose initiated a collaboration with Tulloch Wines and First Creek Wines to trial a spirit that showcases fruit from eight of Pokolbin’s smaller grape growers.

The small-batch spirits are the first of their kind in Australia and showcase the distillery’s experimentation with wine made from 50 plus tonnes of smoke-tainted Hunter Valley 2020 Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The distillery describes the spirit as “displaying lively notes of tropical fruits, crème fraîche and berries with just the slightest suggestion of smoke”.

It encourages drinkers to play around mixers, for example, by using fresh apple juice or coke with lime juice. They say the spirit can also be used instead of Tequila in cocktails.

The Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit (40% ABV, 700ml) will launch on 25 May 2020 and the distillery is open for pre-sale soon.

There will be 1,000 bottles of Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit on pre-sale, priced at AU$99.

However, the majority of spirit produced from the smoke-tainted grapes will be aged for release as a brandy in the coming years. A bundle option of an additional AU$120 will also be available, which will allows customers to pre-purchase a bottle of the brandy due to be released in later years.

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