Winemaker Chapel Down launches grape-based gin and vodka

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Leading English wine producer Chapel Down has launched its first gin and vodka, produced from grapes from the vineyard’s 2016 harvest.

The limited-edition Chapel Down Bacchus Gin and Chapel Down Chardonnay Vodka are made using distilled grape skins from a single vintage year.

The gin is produced using Bacchus grapes that are seen as England’s answer to Sauvignon Blanc while the vodka is distilled from Chardonnay grape skins.

Under the name of The Spirit of Chapel Down, they are packaged in elegant, custom-made 70cl bottles with a design inspired by both distillation and winemaking. The bottom half reflects a cut-glass crystal decanter and the frosted top half denotes the classic shape of a wine bottle.

Chapel Down Bacchus Gin 2016, at 41.2% ABV, is infused with juniper, coriander, elderflower, orris, angelica, lavender, orange peel and lemon. The result is a highly aromatic gin with aromas of citrus fruits and a herbal finish.

Head winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire said: “We wanted to create the perfect aromatic gin from our distilled Bacchus grapes. With delicate aromas of citrus peel, juniper and freshly cut grass, it makes the perfect, refreshing English gin and tonic.”

Chapel Down Chardonnay Vodka 2016, at 40% ABV, offers delicate citrus and floral aromas leading to a smooth, creamy palate.

The Kent-based wine producer has already diversified with its premium Curious beer and cider, launched in 2011, also produced with a winemaking twist. Curious Brew lager, which is re-fermented with champagne yeast, has reported double-digit growth year on year.

Last year, Chapel Down released a 23-year-old English grape brandy, the first to be made from English grapes, which was hailed by leading spirits writer Johnny Ray as “utterly, completely, overwhelmingly, mouth-fillingly delicious”.

Chapel Down managing director Mark Harvey said: “We see a significant opportunity ahead in super-premium spirits for Chapel Down. We have chosen to develop products with a simplicity of style that we think will cut through the competing noise in these high-growth segments.

“Our winemaker has developed products that faithfully reflect the balance and refreshing taste profile of the grape varietals from which they are made. These products are then packaged in an elegant custom-made, cut-glass design.

“After two years in development we are now excited to share these new spirits with the growing congregation of Chapel Down fans.”

As well as being sold exclusively through Majestic Wine Warehouse, the products are available at Inception Group’s London cocktail bars Mr Fogg’s Residence, Mr Fogg’s Tavern and Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour in a variety of serves.

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