Making wine leaves behind a whole lot of grape seeds and skins, a fact that was distressing to Philippe Bienvenue, the managing director of Champagne house Cattier. “When I see at harvest what we are wasting, I thought, what can we do to bring a value to something which doesn’t have any,” he told The Drinks Business. His solution: Make a spirit. More specifically, the company decided to use grape detritus to produce a gin—the first ever to be made with Champagne grapes.
A spirit distilled from grape skins and seeds might sound a lot like grappa—and essentially, it is. But grappa isn't typically flavored with anything, while gin is always flavored—primarily with juniper berries along with other bontanicals. From what we can gather from the limited amount of information available, Entente will be a gin made with a grappa base.
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Hitting shelves next month, the gin will be sold under the name Entente, after the Entente Cordiale, a series of political agreements between France and the UK signed in 1904. Why bring the UK into things? The gin is produced in London, so it is a kind of potable treaty in itself. Entente’s label will reflect the cross-country partnership with illustrations of Marianne and Britannia, the female personifications of both countries. To reflect its Champagne roots, the bottle will be stopped with a Champagne cork. It will not be sold in Champagne bottles, though, so you will, presumably, be able to re-cork the bottle—something those who have attempted shoving a corn back into a Champagne bottle will appreciate.