Diageo is adding a “super-premium” Italian gin to its portfolio and has opened a €420,000 distillery in Santa Vittoria d’Alba, Italy.
Called Villa Ascenti, the gin is initially going on sale in 14 European countries. Master distiller Lorenzo Rosso is working with farmers in Italy’s Piemonte region to source local ingredients for the beverage, including Moscato grapes, mint and thyme.
During the final distillation, the grapes are infused with Tuscan juniper berries in the Santa Vittoria distillery’s newly refurbished Frilli copper pot still. The resulting liquid is said to deliver “a fresh and light taste”.
Gin represents 4% of Diageo’s net sales and grew 28% during the first half of the company’s 2019 financial year, with Gordon’s and Tanqueray delivering double-digit growth and gaining share in Europe.
Tanya Clarke, general manager of Diageo Reserve Europe, said: “Gin has been the runaway success story of the industry over the last decade and its growth trend shows no signs of slowing down. Villa Ascenti Gin is rooted in provenance and brings local, fresh ingredients from Piemonte to life. Its use of locally grown ingredients from the foothills of Piemonte, alongside some of the more classic botanicals associated with gin, has allowed us to create a high-quality liquid, which we hope existing and new gin drinkers will love.”
“We are incredibly excited to launch Villa Ascenti Gin, which will join our luxury spirits portfolio, Diageo Reserve, and enable us to really strengthen our gin portfolio, which includes world-class gins Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Tanqueray No. Ten and Jinzu.”
Lorenzo Rosso, master distiller for Villa Ascenti Gin at Distilleria Santa Vittoria, added: “It has been an absolute privilege to be involved in developing Villa Ascenti Gin and to have the chance to showcase the very best of Piemonte to the world.
“It’s a beautiful gin with the region at its heart in its aroma and flavour, but also in how it’s best enjoyed – around the table with friends. I’m particularly proud of the use of the Moscato grape distillate, an idea that stemmed from my winemaking experience. To see this realised is incredible.”
He continued: “On the nose, the mint and thyme are vibrant and refreshing alongside the spice of the Tuscan juniper berries, whilst on the palate, the Moscato grapes really come to life. Enhanced through copper distillation, the smooth, fruity flavour of this distillate rounds off zesty juniper notes to create a velvety, slightly sweet gin.”
The gin is going on sale in 14 countries as of May, including the UK, Italy, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Switzerland and Poland.
Bottled at 41% ABV, Villa Ascenti will have a recommended retail price of £35 per 70cl bottle.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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