Lillet (French pronunciation: French pronunciation: [li'le]), classed as an aromatised wine within EU law, is a French wine-based aperitif from Podensac. It is a blend of 85% Bordeaux region wines (Semillon for the Blanc and for the Rosé, Merlot for the Rouge) and 15% macerated liqueurs, mostly citrus liqueurs (peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti). The mix is then stirred in oak vats until blended. During the aging process, Lillet is handled as a Bordeaux wine (undergoing fining, racking, filtering etc.).
In the original Kina Lillet formulation (so named with respect to its status as a quinquina), quinine liqueur made of cinchona bark from Peru was included among its ingredients. Its manufacturers removed the quinine-containing cinchona bark from their recipe in 1985, drastically altering what was the core bitter element in an effort to keep pace with changing preferences. It seems that the above has changed; quoting the back label of the bottle, "Each bottle contains only the finest, carefully-selected wines, which are blended with macerated fruits and QUINQUINA, all from a secret award-winning recipe that has been passed down through generations." This contradicts the previous statement. "Lillet" belongs to a family of aperitifs known as tonic wines because of the addition of quinine liqueur.
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