Australian bushfire rampaged vineyards have been resuscitated by Archie Rose Distilling Co. and their newest, limited-edition drop.

In February this year, the legends behind the Sydney-based distillery, Archie Rose Distilling Co., announced the trial of experimenting with smoked-tainted grapes after one of Australia’s most devastating bushfires that rampaged through most of New South Wales and beyond.

Now, just three months after the project commenced, the masterminds have produced just that.

We present to you, Archie Rose Distilling Co. Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit – an ode to show their support for the Hunter Valley wine community following the destruction of up to 80 per cent of the region’s fruit – all which was written off due to smoke taint from nearby bushfires.

In partnership with fourth generation Tulloch Wines and winemakers across First Creek Wines, together with the Archie Rose team, over 50 tonnes of smoke-tainted Hunter Valley 2020 Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were experimented with to create their first product – part of their three-part series.

Of course, to also show their support to one of Australia’s most renowned wine regions, the Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit was also the second release under Archie Rose Distilling Co.’s Trials & Exceptions Series – a new range reserved for exceptional casks and small-batch trials produced from the Rosebery-based distillery.

The first instalment to the Trials & Exceptions Series was the limited-edition Sandigo Heritage Rye Malt Whisky – released to the public in March this year.

This concept behind this eau de vie distilled tipple was conceived to assist growers who suffered significant crop loss and income write-off as a result of bushfire smoke-taint*.

Alongside the local producers and growers, Archie Rose Distilling Co. were also assisted by eight smaller growers within the Pokolbin, Broke Fordwich and upper Hunter sub-regions of the Hunter Valley who also needed support.

Founder of Archie Rose Distilling Co. Will Edwards says, “While watching the January bushfires this year, we immediately began looking at how we could help growers only two hours up the road, with the eventual result being a series of brandy-related spirits. As eau de vie is a spirit very few people have tried, we’re really excited to share this Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit and looking forward to seeing how the smoke taint eventually plays into a brandy, currently laid down in casks to age for a minimum of two years.”

“We’ve really enjoyed working with Liz (chief winemaker) and the First Creek winemaking team on the winemaking process,” says senior distiller Trynt Xavier, “and we were really happy with how the wine turned out thanks to their efforts building the fermentation profile. They considered things like using a type of yeast that would accentuate the fruitiness of the wine, decreasing alcohol, and getting it off skins quite early to avoid too much smoke taint seeping in.”

Archie Rose Distilling Co. Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit Packaging. Image. supplied

Archie Rose Distilling Co. Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit Packaging. Image. supplied

Described as unusual in taste, the Archie Rose team of course have tested the newest addition to their shelves by concocting a range of easy-to-make drinks. You can pair the spirit with either freshly-pressed apple juice or Coca-Cola with a squeeze of lime juice for a simple yet delicious treat. For those wishing to be more experimental, replace the tequila in a Paloma to create The Pokolbin or try out one of Archie Rose’s four cocktail recipes.

Only 1000 bottles of the Archie Rose Distilling Co. Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit will be on sale from Monday 25 May via takeaway at the Archie Rose Bar in Rosebery or online and via participating Archie Rose Distilling Co bottle shops. Buyers will also have the opportunity to reserve a bottle of the brandy via pre-purchase, with a memento of the spirit to be sent for safekeeping as the spirit itself ages ahead of release in future years.

For more information and to purchase, head to the Archie Rose Distilling Co. website.

Archie Rose Distilling Co. Hunter Valley Shiraz Spirit Tasting Guide

Nose: it begins with notes of shortbread, icing sugar and vine leaves and then slowly air yielding pineapple, guava, honeydew and old campfire is introduced.

Palate: round and oily texture with mango, raspberry jam and wafers.

Finish: a balanced fruit meets savoury elements.

*Smoke-tainted grapes is the damage caused by a crop’s proximity to a fire, its elevation, variety and days in smoke contact.