Another year, another Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin. If previous sell-out years are anything to go by, the purple reign will continue its rule when the annual spirit goes on sale on 1 June, 2021. And this time, there's a limited-edition bottle available too.
The perennial gin release for the Victorian distillery sees more than 100 tonnes of whole, de-stemmed shiraz grapes steeped in Four Pillars' Rare Dry Gin for eight weeks, before the fruit is pressed and blended with more gin. The grapes "bleed" into the clear juniper-spirit, infusing it with a distinctive deep-purple hue and a fruity, though un-cloying, sweetness. It's unfiltered, too – those sediments at the bottom of the bottle are a natural consequence of the grape-steeping process.
After COVID-19 pushed back the 2020 release of the gin by a month, Four Pillars head distiller and co-founder Cameron Mackenzie describes the 2021 edition as the "best ever vintage." "Might've said that last year and probably the year before. But you can definitely believe it this time. Until next year, of course," he said in a statement.
And for the first time, the gin will be available in a limited-edition bottle, with a print inspired by the undulating movement of the purple liquid inside a glass.
The Bloody Shiraz gin has a renegade history. The inaugural release in 2015 used some 250 kilograms of shiraz grapes from the vineyard of Rob Dolan, the celebrated winemaker and then-landlord of the Four Pillars distillery. "We stumbled upon – well, we stole – grapes from his winery to make the first batch," said Mackenzie in 2019.
This year, the shiraz grapes have been sourced from the Yarra Valley, Heathcote and Yea Valley.
As for the final product, it's first and foremost a gin. "It has a pine-forest, juniper character, and a Yarra Valley, white-pepper spice from the shiraz," Mackenzie has said previously. "Yarra and cool-climate shiraz is quite unique – it's not big and jammy like McLaren Vale or Barossa varieties. It's medium-bodied, so you tend to get more spice and dark-berry notes."
Citrus is a friend to the shiraz-gin. Four Pillars recommends serving it simply with lemon tonic, over ice; it can be made into a Spritz with fresh grapefruit juice and sparkling wine too.
And though it's recommended to drink the gin two years from its release date, you'd better act faster to score yourself a bottle.
The 2021 Four Pillars Shiraz Gin ($85, 700mL) will be available from 1 June, 2021 on the Four Pillars website, Four Pillars distillery (Healesville, Vic), Four Pillars gin shop (Surry Hills, NSW) and select retailers.
The limited edition bottle will only be available on the Four Pillars website, distillery and gin shop.
Subscribe to the Four Pillars email list for early access to the Bloody Shiraz gin.