Four Pillars has joined forces with the Halliday Winery of the Year, Yarra Yering to launch the Bloody Underhill Shiraz Gin, bringing together two of the Yarra Valley’s best-known products, Yarra Yering’s Underhill Shiraz and the Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin.

Underhill is a rich, full-bodied dry wine style made from 49-year-old vines and by Yarra Yering winemaker Sarah Crowe. At the start of 2020 Four Pillars co-founder and distiller Cameron Mackenzie asked Crowe if she has some older barrels that he could use to mature gin in. In a trade for gin for herself and the team, she donated some Dry Red No.1 & 2 barrels.

Mackenzie put some Rare Dry Gin into the barrels, hoping to perhaps make a special barrel aged gin, but when he checked the gin a few months later it was so special, it had Mackenzie thinking: “What if we bought a tonne of shiraz from Yarra Yering, off Underhill ideally and made a super intense Bloody Shiraz gin, somehow also utilising the gins in the YY barrels.”

Crowe agreed and so the shiraz from Underhill was hand harvested on 11 March 2021, a little earlier than they would normally pick for the table wine. The fruit was at 12.8-13.0^ Baume at harvest, so it was ripe while retaining excellent acidity levels.

2021 was widely regarded as one of the best recent vintages for Yarra Valley red varieties. A nice mild summer, no floods or bushfires meaning the fruit ripened nice and evenly and was harvested exactly when it was needed.

Four Pillars then took whole bunches of the shiraz fruit added those to the gin that had been in the Yarra Yering barrels for 14 months and let the grapes steep in the gin, before pressing the gin off. Mackenzie said the resulting gin had become more and more interesting and complex, with an almost Amaro-like intensity and richness balanced with an incredible sense of bright, fresh grape flavours.

Mackenzie said: “We could never have done this without Sarah Crowe and the incredible team at Yarra Yering and our own crew have put enormous love, care and attention into this gin. We hope you enjoy drinking it as much as we loved making it.”

The gin landed at 41.8 per cent ABV, stronger than the usual Bloody Shiraz Gin which sits at 37.8 per cent, plus it is deeper in colour, more intense in sweetness and considerably more complex in flavour.

Available now in limited quantities from the Gin Shops at the Four Pillars Distillery, Healesville, Vic and Four Pillars Lab, Surry Hills, Sydney and at selected Dan Murphy’s stores (very limited) from September, RRP $175.00, and this is the first release of what will become an annual Bloody Shiraz Single Vineyard Series.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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