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Archie Rose's New Shiraz Spirit Is Made from the Hunter Valley's Smoke-Tainted Grapes

It's part of the company's efforts to salvage more than 50 tonnes of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon grapes affected by the 2019–20 bushfires.
By Sarah Ward
May 24, 2020
By Sarah Ward
May 24, 2020

When bushfires raged across Australia over the spring of 2019 and the summer of 2019–20, the Hunter Valley's wine community was among the areas affected. Due to smoke from the blazes, huge hordes of grapes can no longer be used for their original winemaking purpose — so distillery Archie Rose is getting experimental and salvaging more than 50 tonnes as part of a new spirit range.

The first of the series' three products is eau de vie Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit, which is made from smoke-tainted Hunter Valley 2020 shiraz and cabernet sauvignon grapes. Clear, colourless and fruity, it's described by the company as having "notes of shortbread, icing sugar and vine leaves" — as well as hints of pineapple, guava and honeydew. Expect to taste mango, raspberry jam, crème fraîche and wafers, too, plus a slight suggestion of campfire.

When you're sipping a glass, you'll be aiding Archie Rose's efforts to help Hunter Valley producers and growers, especially those with team members and and families affected by crop and income write-offs due to the fires. As well as receiving support themselves, Tulloch Wines and First Creek Wines worked with the folks at Archie Rose to identify eight smaller growers in need of assistance — particularly in the Pokolbin, Broke Fordwich and Upper Hunter sub-regions.

On sale from Monday, May 25 from the Archie Rose Bar in Rosebery, Sydney, bottle shops and the company's website, 1000 bottles of the Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit are available — in 700-millilitre sizes, for $99.

Archie Rose has also suggested a range of cocktail recipes using the Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit, so prepare to pair it with oat milk in the 'Milk & Honey' and with grapefruit in 'The Pokolbin'.

Also in the works is a Hunter Valley Shiraz Brandy, using the salvaged smoke-tainted grapes — however, given that the spirit will need to be aged, it'll be available in future years.

Archie Rose's Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit goes on sale on Monday, May 25 from the Archie Rose Bar in Rosebery, Sydney, bottle shops and the company's website, with pre-orders currently available online.

Published on May 24, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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