© Gaia Son
Vintage Kina-Lillet poster
© Gaia Son
Lillet (French pronunciation: [li’le]) is a French aperitif wine from Podensac, a small village south of Bordeaux. 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 handcrafted on site, mostly citrus liqueurs (peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti) and Quinine liqueur made of Cinchona bark from Peru.
The mix is then stirred in oak vats until perfectly blended. During the ageing process, Lillet is handled as attentively as any great Bordeaux wine (undergoing fining, racking, filtering etc.). Lillet belongs to a family of aperitifs known as tonic wines because of the addition of Quinine liqueur.
In the early part of the 1970s, Maison Lillet removed KINA from the brand name calling it simply LILLET. Kina had become a generic term used by many aperitifs to reinforce its quinine content and was no longer relevant for the times. With this modification, Maison Lillet wanted their brand to stay unique and modern vis-à-vis the other players. Lillet is the name of the Family, and therefore, became the only name of the brand.
Lillet or Lilet? All these names could be found for the same product right from the beginning and as shown by the advertising objects and posters. The Lillet brothers wanted their name to be pronounced correctly: LL being normally pronounced ye and not L. – Wikipedia