Abel Gin

The Tassie woman making Australia’s top gins & sparkling wine

September 7, 2020
By Alana House

Tasmania’s Natalie Fryar is celebrating recent accolades as both a gin distiller and winemaker.

Fryar was awarded gold medals at the 2020 ​Australian Gin Awards last week, with The Abel Gin Company awarded gold medals for both its Essence and Quintessence Native Tasmanian Gins.  

Established in 2016 The Abel Gin Company was two of 22 gold medalists from a list of 250 gins around Australia.  

Fryar is also turning heads when it comes to her sparkling, with her boutique brand Bellebonne listed as one of Australia’s top two sparkling wine houses by champagne and sparkling wine expert Tyson Stelzer in his 2020 ​Sparkling Wine Report.

Bellebonne is only one of two two sparkling wine producers to earn the coveted 7 stars in this year’s report.   

Her Bellebonne Natalie Fryar Vintage Rosé 2017 scored an impressive 96 points in Stelzer’s  2020 report, trumping most of the country’s larger producers. Stelzer equates a score of 96 (out of 100) as “Top gold or trophy standard in a wine show”.  

Bellebonne Natalie Fryar Vintage Cuvée 2016 earned 95 points too, with Stelzer describing  60% chardonnay, 40% pinot noir drop as “brilliant”.  

Tasmania claimed 19 places in Stelzer’s Top 30 sparklings this year.  

Fryar (above) says both the gin and sparkling wine accolades are a wonderful recognition of her  creativity and the Tasmanian brand.  

“It is unexpected and it feels pretty wonderful when people recognise that you’re trying to do  something original, in the best way you know how, by engaging creativity.”   

“It feels great that people can recognise what I can see in Tasmania, that incredible richness  and beauty that I’ve tried to capture in both the wine and the gin.  

“I have very much made Tasmania the centerpiece of everything I’m trying to do creatively.” 

Fryar consults to numerous wineries including Pipers Brook Vineyard, who make sparkling  wine under the Kreglinger, Pipers Brook and Ninth Island labels. 

Previous to this ‘The Queen of Bubbles’ spent more than 14 years as winemaker at Jansz Tasmania. 

Two gins tie for Best in Show

Joint Best in Show at the 2020 Australian Gin Awards went to Ester Spirits Strong Gin and Never Never Distilling Co. Southern Strength Gin.

“All judges took part in the final round of tasting to determine the Best in Show,” said Judith Kennedy, CEO of Australian Gin Distillers Association. “Two gins were neck and neck and no amount of arguing, voting and friendly shouting would put one gin in front of the other. An executive decision was made and both gins, one from a well known successful distillery and one a new comer, were given the joint title. Excellent decision!”

Ester Gin

Ester Spirits Strong Gin was described by the judges as: “A super gin, full flavoured and great body. We enjoyed the botanical mix. Elevated juniper, a very clean palate and nose at this ABV. Great effort.”

Never Never

Never Never Distilling Co. Southern Strength Gin was described as: “Big juniper, pure and clean. A good example of using that high ABV% and it works.”

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