By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
After years of testing imagining new recipes and different processes a French couple from Nimes have created a unique Mediterranean gin. Made with premium organic ingredients this beverage is an incredible blend of Provence and sea sourced flavours. Drunk neat, in cocktails or added to innovate recipes “Le Blue Denim Gin” makes a grand entrance in the world of spirits.
A pun for fun
As you may know the fabric used to make blue jeans was originally made in Nimes. This is why it is called denim, a short way to say “de Nimes” that means “from Nimes”. Being made in a small village close to Nimes this new gin is called “Blue Denim Gin”. You will easily recognize its unique bottle that proudly wears a pretty ruff made with genuine blue jean fabric. A funny allusion to its Provencal oriGin!
A family history
The Cornut family makes wine in the famous “Costieres de Nimes” wine area since 1976. After years of hard work to improve the quality of the wines produced on the Chateau Guiot estate, Sylvie and François Cornut rightfully received recognition for their know-how. Whether red, white or rosé their wines are now multi-awarded and served in stared restaurants. In 2007 their twin sons, Alexis and Numa, joined the family business. Since then new vineyards were added to the estate allowing the creation of new vintages.
A one of a kind gin
A new adventure began a few years ago when Numa Cornut and his partner Ingrid Lopez decided to create their own gin. In respect of the family tradition quality is their first leitmotiv. Only organic high quality ingredients are used to elaborate their gin. If wine alcohol is not usually used to make gin it comes as no surprise that Numa and Ingrid, both skilled wine makers, chose this specific one. It provides roundness and a good length on the palate, typical of Costiéres de Nimes‘ wines.
Fourteen different ingredients locally sourced are subtly added. Some of them are typical Provencal ones such as pine needles, juniper berries, lemon, citron, rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, rose petals, lavender and a few secret other ones… Meanwhile salicornia (a wild sea plant) and Camargue flower of salt give an irresistible Mediterranean Sea touch to the final spirit. Absolutely no artificial flavours are added. To enhance each flavour every ingredient is separately distilled.
This is all well and good but does it make a difference when drinking this gin? Well… it does. At first you will smell fresh aromas of citrus, pine, thyme and rosemary. When drinking it you’ll first feel a well-balanced harmony of flowers and herbs, and finally a long finish of sea notes.
Since it was launched last February (and in spite of the lockdown), “Le Blue Denim Gin” has already been adopted by several mixologists and chefs. Star-chef Pierre Gagnaire in partnership with executive chef Nicolas Fontaine created a new recipe combining warm oysters with leek compote and a “Blue Denim Gin” sorbet. This surprising dish is served at the Imperator Hotel ‘s restaurant in Nimes. (www.maison-albar-hotels-l-imperator.com/en/page/gastronomic-restaurant-nimes.1110.html). At “Le Garde Temps” in Pigalle district in Paris, chef Peter Siewe combines it with Burgundy snails and onions. In Marseilles 2-star chef Alexandre Mazzia has also added the Blue Denim Gin to his menu (www.alexandre-mazzia.com/).
Due to the ongoing Brexit’s difficulties “Le Blue Denim Gin” is not yet available in the UK but you may already find it in Belgium, Denmark and Japan in good wine shops. If you have friends in France tell them to visit the family Cornut cellar and they’ll have a great wine and gin tasting. And if you’re lucky they will spare a bottle or two for you!
More about the Cornut family and Costieres de Nimes wines and gin at http://famillecornut.com/
Text ©Annick Dournes
Photos by courtesy of Le Blue Denim Gin