Smith & Evans: Higher Plot Langport Gin
Langport Gin hails from the vineyard of Somerset sparkling wine producer Guy Smith and Laura Evans at Higher Plot farm. Their London Dry-style gin is distilled using four main botanicals - Meadow Sweet, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay – giving a gin that captures the essence of the countryside.
Because of its remarkable biodiversity, Higher Plot Farm near Langport in Somerset is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Winemakers Guy and Laura have always dreamt of finding a way to capture the essence of the beautiful ridge where they live and work so the idea of distilling some of the flora and herbs that surround them was an obvious answer.
As growers, Guy and Laura stick to the philosophy that great wine is made in the vineyard and because no two summers are the same, no two vintages are exactly the same. Naturally enough, this was how they approached making gin. They collected a number of herbs and flowers and sent them to be distilled by friend and gin genius Paul Bowler at Winchester Distillery. Some like Sweet Violet and Sheep’s Sorrel were easy to reject and truth be told, some were actively unpleasant. Eventually from a list of nine trial distillates, they settled on four main botanicals that complemented each other: Meadow Sweet, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay alongside citrus and juniper.
The gin has fresh delicate meadow sweet and juniper aromas complex enough to marry with a great vermouth in a dry Martini and fresh enough to enliven and lift a gin and tonic. Perfect with a garnish of Somerset Apple or any of the main botanicals.
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Smith and Evans
Guy Smith and Laura Evans planted the vineyard at Higher Plot in 2008 after a four year search for the perfect site to produce the highest possible quality sparkling wine. They work in the vineyard all year from midwinter pruning through to harvest in late summer. By living with the seasons they are constantly able to watch how the vines develop and mature.
The White Lias Limestone Ridge of Higher Plot Farm has long been recognised as a special place that achieves early ripening and high quality fruit. There is terracing built into the hill that is at least 300 years old which was built for Orchards when Cider was seen as being of the same quality as the finest wines.
The free draining Calcerous Limestone soil is identical to some of the world's greatest vineyard sites and the local climate is one of the best in the UK for growing grapes. Burgundian Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Meunier vines are planted on the south facing lower slopes and the first still and sparkling wine harvest was in 2010.
Alongside premium quality sparkling wine, they make cider from their orchard and a gin, distilled from botanicals grown in the vineyard.
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