The Hunter Valley is one of the oldest and prestigious wine districts in Australia, located north of Sydney, and Tempus Two wines are one of the “newish” players having been producing award winning wines for about 24 years cultivating over 21 varieties of grapes.
Seeing themselves as unhindered by tradition in terms of style and approach to their wines, with a youthful spirit, it’s not surprising they recently made the leap into the dynamic Australian gin scene that seems has no signs of slowing down with over 500 brands out there.
So when I was approached to review their new range of gins I was very interested, as I’m a fan of gins whose base spirit is based on grape as opposed to grain, et alia, as they tend to present as softer and fuller on the palette, it’s subtle, but it’s there.
To be clear, it’s not a “winey” spirit with botanicals added.
Depending on the approach and intent, you get something that is it’s own thing, and grape based spirits can lead us to Grappa, Pisco and Cognac, amongst others, and whilst there was some articles I noted in the past couple of years saying that grape based gin was some Aussie gift to the world….. up there with Vegemite, umm, no.
But it the right hands it makes for an attractive expression of gin with a generous base for the botanicals to shine.
This style of gin making has been about for quite a while in Europe and there are several Australian distillers taking this approach, but it’s interesting to see a wine maker moving into the spirits category, and to my knowledge, one of the few so far to move in that direction.
Let’s get tasting.
- Wild Botanical Gin
- Nose: Aromatic, subtle, grassy + citrus hints, with the lime and orange present in an attractive way.
- Neat: Salty and dry up front, with that full mouth feel you expect from a base spirit like this, with a dry finish.
- Mixed: I think these gins are designed for mixing, the PR card comes with suggestions for a G+T and Negroni. I tried a few mixer combinations and I’d recommend the Light or Dry #No 8 Tonic from the cool Strange Love range, and a dried lime wheel or some fresh Basil as a garnish.
- Botanicals: Juniper Berry, Desert lime, Orange Peel, Salt Bush, Wattle Seed.
- Gin Shiraz
- Nose: There’s a wine spice up top hinting at the Shiraz base, clean black pepper notes.
- Neat: Ripe plums and jammy flavours up front, with some natural sweetness to finish, very appealing softness overall. Note on colour: an attractive bright ruby.
- Mixed: I rustled up an all Aussie Negroni with the Okar Amaro and the Sweet Vermouth from Maidenii and it sang. Equal parts, stirred over ice and then into a rocks / Old Fashioned glass with fresh ice with an orange peel.
- Botanicals: Juniper Berry, Coriander, Orange Peel, Shiraz
Note, there’s also a third option in the range, a world first Prosecco Gin, apparently it’s good for a Martini, so maybe next time!
The Take Home
Now when an established and successful wine producer turns their mind to a new product you don’t expect anything less than a complete effort. I was one of a fortunate few to be approached to review these gins, and fun fact, only 50% of those who come my way end up here.
(But as you know by now dear friend, I’m no fan boy influencer type.)
So part of me was skeptical when I get a polished product, gorgeous packing, and the rest.
But after living with the gins for a few weeks I can say these are very thoughtful releases and very well handled. The marriage of the base spirit and botanicals is harder than it looks, especially when your dealing with what I’ll call residual flavour profile elements from the grapes, and integrating them with the botanicals. This is a range that is designed to mixed and plenty versatile and very enjoyable.
- RRP: $AUD 85.00 for 700ml bottle
- ABV: 40%
- Website: Can be purchased direct from Tempus Two
- Also available at First Choice Liquor
- Facebook page here.
- Instagram here.
Disclaimer: this review is of unsolicited samples provided by the makers, opinions expressed regarding the product are my own.