West Winds Sur Lie Gin

West Winds’ world first: gin combined with Chardonnay lees

December 7, 2020
By Ioni Doherty

The West Winds Gin have released just 1400 bottles of a one-off gin made on Chardonnay lees. The West Winds Sur Lie Gin (French for ‘on lees’) is a limited-edition gin aged for 12 months in used Chardonnay barrels as well as incorporating the use of Chardonnay lees into the mix; a first for a gin anywhere in the world.

The West Winds Sur Lie Gin is a pairing of two Margaret River based producers, Fish Bone Wines and The West Winds Distillery. With a history in winemaking, Anthony Reynolds developed a love for the taste of Chardonnay lees. Now, as head distiller at The West Winds, Reynolds decided to experiment and merge both brands to create something new and exciting.

Being a true believer that barrel aged gins should not be dominated by oak, Anthony carefully chose older oak, watching the gin closely to ensure the oak only enhanced the gin, rather than dominated the flavour profile.

The resulting gin has beautiful floral notes with hints of coriander, lemon and cinnamon myrtle. There is an underlying vanilla character which softens out the nose and adds complexity. The palate is rich and flavoursome.

Anthony comments, “By using the Sur Lie technique, we’ve created an exceptionally smooth and rounded gin with additional texture and palate weight similar to that of a Chardonnay wine. The gin has exceptional balance and interest with the addition of the lees giving a lovely softness and length. It has a creamy mouth feel with subtle hints of native Australian wattle seed and oak touches. I couldn’t be happier with the result.”

And clearly the judges at this year’s Australian Gin Distillers Association agree with Anthony as they awarded the gin a trophy for Best in Class – Matured Gin. West Winds Sur Lie Gin retails for $85.

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