Where brewer and winemaker meet.
We love a challenge here at Boutinot, and after 40 years in the wine business we like to think that we know a thing or two about making and blending quality beverages. So, we thought, why not apply all that knowledge and challenge ourselves to make something new?
That’s the spirit…
The 2018 harvest at Henners was abundant in both quality and yield and we knew we had to do something special with the surplus grapes. Inspiration came from our friends on the Continent. The Italians make Grappa, the French make Vieux Marc: what was to stop us from making a quintessentially English Gin? The answer was “nothing”, and we set about finding a skilled Distiller to bring our idea to fruition.
Samantha Bailey (Master Blender, Henners, UK) worked with Dr. John Walters (Master Distiller, English Spirits, UK) to distil Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes and wine from our award-winning Henners English Sparkling Wine vineyard in Sussex, and infuse it with the highest quality, carefully selected botanicals.
The result is our crunchy, refreshing, cloudy Henners English Gin, launched with a limited release of 747 bottles just in time for what we hope will be another glorious summer!
…and the beer!
As Michael Moriarty of Rude Mechanicals puts it:
“When winemakers get to the end of the day and take a break, sometimes it’s a beer that quenches the thirst. Inevitably the conversation turns to styles, flavours, process and comparisons are made to wine. It seems appropriate then that our winemakers tried their hand at making beer…”
With the idea firmly planted in our heads, two of our winemakers, Samantha Bailey and Eric Monin, teamed up with Robert Wicks of Westerham Brewery and James Van der Watt of Jabru. These two exceptional winemakers took two very different approaches to create two outstanding beers.
Made by Eric Monnin and Robert Wicks in the Westerham Brewery in Kent. First Audition is a blend of hops delivering a tropical fruit flavour and a light, refreshing and easy to drink pale ale with a low bitterness. Eric’s approach was to work with the brewer to select the right hops to match what he was looking for in terms of style, giving what he describes as a Sauvignon character. To perfect this required a second round of dry hopping with the Amarillo hops.
Samantha Bailey worked with James Van de Watt, experimenting to match the hops for this exceptional blend. Following her format for making iconic wines, Samantha selected from a tasting of over 30 hops, creating a refreshing pilsner style beer which she likens to one of our South African Chenin Blancs. The hops were all dry hopped, adding them once fermentation was complete and left to infuse for 7 days for added flavour.