1. SERIOUSLY COOL, SERIOUSLY SUSTAINABLE
Waterkloof’s Seriously Cool Cinsault 2020 is an organic, biodynamic wine with a difference. Also known as pinotage, this proudly South African varietal hails from 30-35-year-old bush vines that produce low yields and fruit with intense flavour. In a very minimalistic approach to the winemaking process, whole bunches are picked at just the right time and then placed in wooden fermenters, where fermentation is allowed to start naturally and spontaneously, inside the berry itself. Powered by gravity alone, the wine finds its way to a tank below while the remaining berries are gently basket pressed. Aged for 12 months in French-oak barrels, this wine is best enjoyed cool, at around 14°C. Despite the chill, it’s equal parts serious too, with a well-structured, vibrant body and a memorable, lip-smacking length.
2. SAME-SAME, BUT DIFFERENT
John Ross The Pioneer is a non-alcoholic gin that’s as refreshing as it is restorative. Featuring virgin distilled botanicals and mountain-spring water, it’s a tonic in and of itself. In this sublime infusion, juniper, angelica root, lime, rose, lavender, and honeybush combine to create a startlingly traditional gin with a non-traditional blushing hue, thanks to the antioxidant-rich tannins in the honeybush stalks used in the dis-tilling process. Serve with lots of ice, a lemon wedge, and Bark-er & Quin Finest Indian tonic water.
3. ORGANIC-CHIC CHARDONNAY
Rooted in the oldest viticulture soil in the world, Longridge Chardonnay 2018 is an ode to its hallowed place of origin. Grown on a farm that honours organic traditions, the vineyards are meticulously cared for by hand, with no pesticides, herbicides or chemical sprays used. The wine is transferred from stainless-steel tanks to French-oak barrels and matured for 12 months before being bottled. Expect harmonious notes of minerality, citrus, and shortbread, with a refreshing, lingering, and perfectly balanced finish.
4. A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME...
Ceder’s Pink Rose is a distilled non-alcoholic spirit that offers an everyday escape from the ordinary. Made with classic gin botanicals as well as more rare and exotic botanicals from the Cederberg region, this award-winning spirit is soft and sweet with notes of juniper, rose, and hibiscus. Smooth and sophisticated, it’s available online for R259 at Takealot.
5. TEETOTALLING JIMMY
Jimmy Public has sourced and foraged across the globe to find the best ingredients for his signature non-alcoholic gin. London-dry inspired, the juniper accents and citrus notes combine to deliver a refreshingly distinctive drink. Floral botanicals are vapour distilled and come from a range of interesting places — juniper from Tuscany, coriander from the UK, fresh citrus from Hoedspruit, sun-dried and hand-kibbled lemon peel from Egypt, and lemongrass grown specifically for Jimmy Public in Bronkhorstspruit. Available online at Yuppiechef for R299 per 750ml bottle.
6. TRIPLE DISTILLED, WITHOUT THE TIPSY
In its very first year of creation, Mahala Botanical arrived with a bang, clinching first place at the prestigious Michelangelo International Spirit Awards for Best Low/No-Alcohol Spirit. As its name suggests, this premium, triple-distilled spirit — made in South Af-rica — is free from sugar, alcohol, colourants, and artificial flavours. It’s also gluten-free, vegan-friendly and very, very delicious. Nine hand-sourced botanicals are infused under vacuum to extract the maximum amount of flavour in every sip. This alcohol-free spirit is distilled in custom-built stills, then bottled and hand-labelled on site at Doña Distillery in Cape Town. Available at e-retailers such as Drink Nil and ZeroDrinks for R275 to R310 per bottle.
• With over two decades of experience in the luxury-drinks market, Wade Bales’ passion is sourcing really great drinks and sharing them with really great people.
• From the February edition of Wanted, 2022.