Bill Dowd photoJean Sébastien Robicquet and Bruno de Reilhac, who are the the proprietors, lead oenologists and master distillers of G'Vine gin, wanted to make something that bridges the gap between gin and flavored vodkas. They hit on a gin recipe utilizing the rare green grape flower that blossoms only briefly in mid-June in the Cognac region of France before maturing into grape berries. The recipe also includes ginger root, licorice, green cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, juniper berries, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime.
• G'Vine Gin de France
In the course of a year, I sample literally hundreds of wines and spirits. Most of the time I find the samples OK. Rarely is one really bad. Just as rarely I find one that is superb. This is one of the latter.
G'Vine is first an eye-catcher. The rather squat-shaped bottle has a green cap, neck label and a coating on the top portion of the bottle that casts a green glow over the gin that says "grapes." The taste says even more.
One of the key ingredients in this handcrafted, limited edition 80-proof gin -- made in a copper still -- is the rare and subtle green grape flower. Not that the plant is exclusively French -- a lot of them are grown in Oregon, for example -- but I'm not aware of any other distiller using them in a gin recipe.
Nosing the gin is like wandering through a fragrant herb garden. Notes of thyme, dill, coriander and rose petals quickly conjure up expectations. G’Vine comes through in the first taste, all those aromas blended with elements of spice, grass and additional florals. The taste is long, smooth and lingers pleasantly.
In a modest martini -- shaken over fresh ice with a touch of Noilly Pratt dry vermouth, then garnished with a tomolive -- G'Vine stands up to the water and the vermouth in all aspects of fragrance and taste.
(Note: For those unfamiliar with the tomolive, it is not an olive except in appearance. It actually is a tiny pickled tomato that explodes with spice and brine when bitten into, and a complete treat when the martini is sipped over it before swallowing.)
Drinks International shares my enthusiasm for G’Vine. It recently named it "Best Distilled Gin" among 40 of the world's top selling brands.
G’Vine's suggested retail price is in the $36 range.
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