Posted by Tristan on 3rd Mar 2023

What a climatic intro to 2023: Floods and Tropical Storms got you down? Indulge in some South African wine or a Pisco sour to lighten your spirits.

Happy March everyone.

What a summer and what a start to 2023! The Auckland floods were a shock to us all and then two weeks later, Cyclone Gabrielle - a climatic event that will go down in history. If you are reading this newsletter, then we trust you are safe and hope you weren’t too badly impacted by the recent events. It’s at times like these human beings truly come together and community thrives.
For now it seems hat Tama-nui-te-rā has regained control of the skies - fingers crossed that this is a very long sunny and calm stint and Tāwhirimātea can just chill out for a bit.
This month we have another Cocktail recipe for you and we will shed some light on a particular wine-producing country that we are proudly at the forefront of presenting.

South Africa:

New World meets Old World.

When we mention South Africa to some of our customers, they are completely unaware that this is a highly renowned wine region producing a vast array of styles.
In fact, the first wine in the Cape of Good Hope was made in 1659. Hence, South Africa could be considered an old-world winemaking region but decades of sanctions due to Apartheid very much slowed the progression of that wine industry up until 1994.
From here a shift in political stance gave winemakers the chance to work and study abroad in regions old and new and apply their acquired knowledge to their homeland.
The Western Cape’s Mediterranean climate allows for many varietals to thrive – you can pretty much grow anything - not to mention small pockets of micro- and meso-climates more suited to particular grapes. Most of the country’s wine production is in the Western Cape: an absolute haven for viticulture. But also, Cape Town is a great city to visit – Martin went to University there and in Tristan’s words: “It totally exceeded my expectations”. If you get the chance, go!
As a wine retailer, we have, without a doubt, the widest and most representative range of South African wines and producers on our shelves.
Below are some of our favourite and must-try bottles.
AA Badenhorst - 'Secateurs' Chenin Blanc 2021
AA Badenhorst - 'Secateurs' Chenin Blanc 2021
Chenin Blanc is South Africa's most planted varietal and the perfect starting point for what the country offers. AA Badenhorst is headed by cousin duo Adi and Hein. They are a leading producer and paving the way for modern South African wine.
A dry style Chenin with concentrated fruit profile of, pear, peach and apple and waxy-silkiness on the mouthfeel. Absolute killer quality for the $$
Kanonkop - 'Kadette' Pinotage 2019
Kanonkop - 'Kadette' Pinotage 2019
South Africa's trademark varietal - a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Comes in light and bold styles but typically displays blackberry, plum, char, creamy oak and herbaceous notes. Kanonkop Estate is a Stellenbosch-based producer, renowned for crafting some of South Africa's greatest wines - due to the success of their 'Paul Sauer' Bordeaux Blend.
A perfect accompaniment to the South African Braai (BBQ).
Testalonga - Baby Bandito 'Stay Brave' Chenin Blanc 2021
Testalonga - Baby Bandito 'Stay Brave' Chenin Blanc 2021
In Tristan's humble opinion (maybe Martin's too) The best natural wine producer in the new world. Craig Hawkins and his wife Carla are an innovative force - sourcing old vine fruit from the Swartland region, a recently restored haven for viticulture.
There is nothing quite like this skin-fermented Chenin Blanc. Intense aromatics - peach, pear, apple crumble and baking spices. It will open up with floral notes - honeysuckle and with hints of dry ginger.
A lovely copper tint on the eye.

An absolute stunner.
Mullineux - Old Vines White 2018/20
Mullineux - Old Vines White 2018/20
Andrea and Chris Mullineux are amongst the new generation of winemakers in South Africa and producing exceptional wines in the Swartland region.
This old vine white is a white Rhône meets Priorat-style blend offering a fresh, yet, textured wine boasting of pears, peaches, almonds and lifted spice - like clove.
The Sadie Family - 'Pofadder' Cinsault 2015/16
The Sadie Family - 'Pofadder' Cinsault 2015/16
The Sadie Family Winery, founded in 1999, is headed by Eben Sadie. Eben is hailed as one of the absolute leaders of the new generation of winemakers in South Africa. He has put South Africa on the map and continues to do so, producing the truest expressions of the grapes, soils and the Swartland region. A fresh and mineral-driven bouquet and layers of generous fruit - red cherries, strawberries and raspberry. It has hints of stone-like undertones.
A medium-bodied wine with electric acidity and sings with freshness and energy.

A must-try!
Newton Johnson - 'Full Stop Rock' GSM 2019
Newton Johnson - 'Full Stop Rock' GSM 2019
Newton Johnson is a producer from the coastal region of Walker Bay. They are producing vibrant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and rich and meaty Rhône blends.
Full Stop Rock is a more floral and herbal expression of a Rhône blend, reminiscent of violets, lavender and garrigue. A wine with a meaty and solid core. The tannins are plush and the fruit is generous - dark plums, cherry and blackcurrant with hints of red berry jam.
A very approachable glass of juice.
We highly recommend their pinot too!
Meerlust - Red 2019
Meerlust - Red 2019

Meerlust is a historic winery spanning eight generations. It was set up by the Myburgh Family in 1756 and has long been recognised for producing world-class wines. Proximity to the coast in False Bay gives ocean cooling breezes, that slowly ripen the grapes yielding great concentration and complexity.
A benchmark Bordeaux style red from a renowned producer and a great entry red from the region.
Think, crushed black fruit, cassis, vanilla and dark chocolate. A focused wine with a silky mouthfeel fresh acidity and a journey like finish.


Cocktail of the Month:

We have a great selection of Pisco in the shop and this has inspired Tristan to showcase the Pisco Sour as the next cocktail of the month. This cocktail has seen a growth in popularity in recent years but it’s a concoction that will only be ordered by those who know it already: i.e #IYKYK.
Now, let’s talk about the sour cocktail and then Pisco.
The sour cocktail can be credited to Jerry Thomas. In 1862 he was making them with a base of spirit, sugar, water, a quarter of a lemon, presumably squeezed and, finally, a small piece of lemon pressed into the glass. Thomas revised the recipe eventually, leading future bartenders to evolve his creation and creating many different categories for The Sour Cocktail Family – here are some, starting with the basic sour recipe.

Basic Sour: contains a base spirit, lime or lemon juice and a non-alcoholic sweetening agent. If the base spirit is a liqueur, then flag any additional sweetening.
Daisies: are sours sweetened with grenadine, rather than simple syrup.
Fixes: are sours sweetened with pineapple juice.
International Sours: are sweetened by liqueurs, another fruit juice or both. A great way to experiment and create your own.
New Orleans Sour: must include triple sec or another orange-flavoured liqueur.

Pisco: A brief history

Pisco’s roots can be traced back to 1532 when the Spanish Conquistadores invaded Peru but only brought a small amount of their own wine with them which was reserved for the Catholic Church. In 1553 grapes were imported from the Canary Islands and were planted in the dry arid land of Ica - in the south of Peru. Wine was produced to meet the growing demand in the new country and Ica soon became the cradle of Pisco.

Viticulture was thriving in Peru and wine was plenty. The Jesuits - who were responsible for the production of wine - would select the best quality fruit for wine and give the left-over grapes to local farmers to do with as they pleased. A small group of locals proceeded to produce a clear brandy-like grape liquor and named it Aguardiente (fire water).

In 1572 the town of Santa Maria Magdalena had a port named Pisco, after the valley it was located in. This port became a major supply route for the distribution of Pisco and as demand for Aguardiente increased, the town of Santa Maria Magdalena simply became known as ‘Pisco’ as did this new type of liquor and thus the legend of Pisco was born.

Over the centuries Pisco production expanded, eventually gaining international notoriety. In the early 1800s it was in fact the most popular liquor in San Francisco at 25cents a glass – pretty expensive back then. Pisco Punch was the most famous drink of the day with high renown from literary figures of the time such as Rudyard Kipling.

Come the 19th century, a severe decline in Pisco production took place when Napoleon invaded Spain, cutting the Spanish empire off from the rest of the world. At the time, there was a growing demand for cotton and many locals substituted their vines for that more profitable crop of the time.

As production continued to decline in Peru, Chile continued to grow and produce Pisco and, in 1931, the country declared a Denomination of Origin (DO) in the exclusive production of Pisco and renamed the city of La Union to stamp its claim on the name Pisco. By 1999 Peru developed its own DO which interestingly created much controversy as Chile’s dated its claim by over 60 years and despite the fact that Peru has had a much longer association with the spirit than its neighbour.

To this day the controversy between the two countries and the claim to Pisco is still very active and both have taken several actions to defend their claim to the use of the name Pisco. Both also consider the product an integral part of their heritage and each have designated national days in salute to the spirit.

Though both countries use the same name, the products produced are quite different and each country has its own set of rules for production under its Dos. The table below explains the main differences between the two styles. 
Tristan’s Pisco Sour Recipe:
A very straightforward recipe but the key to this cocktail is - the dry shake and then the wet shake.

Right, let’s get started…

60 ml of Pisco Tabernero Italia (Peruvian, for lighter flavours) or Pisco Mistral (Chile, for bolder flavours)
"Check out our selection of Pisco at the bottom of this section"
20 ml of fresh lime juice
15-20 ml of sugar syrup
1 egg white
"Back in my bartending days, I use to pre-crack ½ a dozen whites into a squeezy bottle and keep it in the fridge; that would last 2-3 days. As for the leftover yolks – whip up some scrambled eggs: the yolk is in fact the part of the egg that contains all of the flavoury goodness but is high in cholesterol (which is probably why they are sooo good). There are also a few cocktails that call for egg yolks."
A few dashes of aromatic bitters - I like Peychauds but Angostura is good too.

Pour all of the ingredients into your shaker tin or Boston glass BUT not the egg white or the bitters. If you pour in the egg white too soon and let it sit, it will cook in the lime juice and you will have scrambled eggs.

Ok. Are we ready to dry shake?
If you own a Hawthorne strainer you can remove the spring and put it in with your Boston glass OR you can use a single ice cube.
Connect your shaker lid or tin and then DRY SHAKE!
What you are doing here is beating the egg – literally. The end result is a foamy and silky textured sour. Shake until you can no longer hear the spring or when the ice cube dissolves.
Next, disconnect the shaker and fill your Boston glass with ice. If your dry shake was on point you will notice the liquid all foamy and cream-like.
Fill your shaker with ice, reconnect and then WET SHAKE until you feel the shaker tin become chilled.
Strain your Pisco Sour into a chilled champagne saucer, or into an old-fashioned tumbler over ice and watch that creamy pisco goodness pour out.
Finally, garnish with a few drops of aromatic bitters on top. I mentioned I like Peychauds: Why? Because it leaves a bright red colouring that allows for some artistic flare if you have a toothpick handy. But it also tastes the best and adds another dimension of taste to your sour.
Another garnish option is a sprinkle of cinnamon or grated nutmeg.

Any questions or qualms about my recipe feel free to make contact.


Click Here for Pisco
Mistral - 'Especial' Pisco 35%
Mistral - 'Especial' Pisco 35%
Tabernero - La Botija 'Italia' Pisco
Tabernero - La Botija 'Italia' Pisco
Tabernero - La Botija 'Acholado' Pisco
Tabernero - La Botija 'Acholado' Pisco
Pisco Control
Pisco Control