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Melbourne’s Naught Distilling launches 2022 Sangiovese Dry Gin

July was a big month for Chris Cameron, owner and head distiller at Naught Distilling. On top of launching the second “vintage” of his award-winning Sangiovese Dry Gin, his company was shortlisted for Gin Producer of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).

“To be honest, it was a bit of a surreal moment,” Cameron says of the nomination. “I had to email them and ask if it was legit!”

Naught Gin is one of three Australian finalists in the gin producer category, with the winner announced on September 29.

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It’s an impressive accolade for any new spirit producer, let alone one that opened a distillery and a cocktail bar during a global pandemic.

“We wanted to have a bar so we could showcase our own gin through cocktails,” Cameron says.

For the lucky residents of Eltham, a leafy suburb about 20 kilometres north of Melbourne, that meant council-approved take-away cocktails during lockdown.

Today, the facility is both gin production hub and a moody, speakeasy-style bar designed by Studio Y (Nick and Nora’s, Black Pearl, Stomping Ground).

“The word ‘naught’ used to mean ‘lost, ruined and wicked,’ and I thought that was a cool way to sum up the kind of gin I wanted to make,” Cameron says.

The self-taught distiller spent 3 years “making a lot of shit gin at home” before perfecting his first release, the Naught Australian Dry Gin, which was crowned Champion Contemporary Dry Gin at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.

The Australian Dry is also the base of Naught Sangiovese Dry Gin, the latest entrant to the rapidly growing category of wine grape gins.

The process is labour intensive: Yarra Valley-grown sangiovese grapes are lightly crushed then macerated in gin before the fruit is pressed to filter out any sediment. The alcohol content is then tested and fortified by adding high-proof gin to achieve a 37.5% alcohol strength.

The 2021 Naught Sangiovese Gin scored 98/100 at last year’s IWSC comp and sold out in a month. This years’ release is limited to 2000 bottles., with in-person distillery purchases coming with a complimentary Sanjo Sour cocktail.

“It’s our version of a traditional gin sour,” Cameron says. “But the subtle sweetness from the sangiovese gin changes the drink. It becomes a bit more velvety … it’s not a sweet drink, but it has a sweetness towards the back palate. And with the egg white (or aquafaba as a vegan alternative) you get this lovely mouthfeel.”

Visit naughtgin.com.au for more information on its Sangiovese Dry Gin and a complete list of stockists.

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