- Jonathan Winters
Wolffer Estate Gin Review
A Hamptons winery takes a stab at making pretty gin.
Review Wolffer Estate Gin
Made in: Williamson, New York, by Wolffer Estate Vineyard
Base: Grapes, specifically rose table wine.
40% alcohol/80 proof
Botanicals 6: Juniper, anise, fennel, coriander, cumin, and cardamom.
Style: Modern Gin
Now when I picked up this bottle of gin I was thinking of my wife. She and her friends love Wolffer Estate wines, more specifically their Rosés. They’ve enjoyed it at the estate, and at parties, and home. So I picked this up thinking maybe she, and her friends would enjoy it too.
Although it doesn’t say it anywhere on the bottle this is a pink gin. And while pink gins are almost always made by adding bitters to the gin, this one is made pink by grape skins left in the spirit.
Estate winemaker Roman Roth, who has helped elevate NY Rosés and made them hip with the Hamptons crowd decided to make gin using some of the estates table rose, and juniper which is grown right on the estate, and five other botanicals (The ones I listed above in botanicals were reported to be the ones).
So I cracked the bottle and poured it for the wife and myself.
The nose of this gin indeed has hints of wine, juniper and spice.
Straight up this gin was brutal. It was harsh, full of heat, and bitterness. Sadly it didn’t get much better with ice and a little bit of time. This is not a gin for those who love to sip gin.
The tastes here are not subtle but a sledgehammer, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Heat assaults your palate first. Then you taste the wine, sweetness, pepper, cumin and cardamom, with perhaps a whisper of the licorice taste of fennel, anise, or both. The aftertaste is reminiscent of grappa. What came away strongest however was pine, pepper and wine - It’s a jarring combination.
The mouthfeel is cool and oily, and while it coats the palate, you sort of wish it didn’t.
While I hated it straight up, I had some hope that it would stand up well in cocktails. So I decided to try it as a dry martini first. It wasn’t very good. As a dirty martini it was a lot better as the olive brine mellowed the gin quite well, but the taste was odd. The flavors just had no congruence with each other.
I had greater hopes for the gin and tonic as a lot of unusual gins can make a creative, flavorful G & T. I broke out the Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water and it wasn’t bad. I can’t say it was a good, or above average drink, but it was better than the martinis.
Lastly I decided to try it as a Tom Collins. To be fair that was the best of the drinks I could make with it. The jarring flavors of the gin were greatly subdued by the lemon, sugar, and soda. In fact it made a decent Collins, though hardly a distinctive one.
This isn’t a good gin. It lacks subtlety, techniques and harmony. This is more of a gimmick than a real gin. Sure the Hamptons crowd may go for it’s pretty pink color, and I’m quite sure a good mixologist could find a decent recipe or two for this gin, but like most gimmicks, it’s just not that good.
Overall rating: 61. There are very few gins, I can’t find something redeeming about, but even for mixing this is one to pass on, especially at $30+ for a 375ml bottle. Stick to the Wolffer Estates Rose wines.. Those are actually good.
What you need to know about reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it, and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.