Australia, for those who are wine connoisseurs, is quite famous for a number of different wine regions. Abroad, South Australia is probably the most famous, but other areas, such as the Yarra Valley right here in the Melbourne area, are also quite respected. The Yarra Valley is a famous wine region in Australia, and on top of having many amazing vineyards, they also have the Four Pillars Distillery, famous for gins that served as the inspiration for the Barossa Distilling Company’s shiraz gin (we visited this distillery last December and loved it; this is the distillery that really turned me on gin, as I was not previously someone who even remotely appreciated gin) . Chris and I visited Yarra Valley today for some gin and wine tasting, as well as a casual winery lunch of wood-fired pizza and pasta.
The most interesting and unique part of Australian gin is the botanicals that are used given that Australia has some of the most peculiar flora on earth. There are spices that are common to other parts of the world (and, well, Asian/South Asian cooking), such as coriander, cardamom, or cassia, as well as commonly known herbs and roots such as lavender or ginger, but then there are herbs that are extremely unique to Australia, such as Tasmanian pepper berry, lemon myrtle, or Angelica root. And of course, juniper berries are a given since this is gin. In certain gins that Four Pillars makes, whole oranges is used, which is noted to be quite unusual. It adds an even stronger aromatic quality to the gin and is better able to support stronger and spicier botanicals. Fresh finger limes are also used in some of the gins to give a Southeast Asian spin on taste.
There are always endless things to see and explore even though I’ve now visited the Melbourne area seven times. It’s been a fun and productive trip even though we’ve only been here now two days.