These upbeat, cheery wines from Craig and Carla Hawkins of Testalonga have never been better, or more precise. The entry-level Baby Banditos offer wonderful, light drinking, hovering around 12% alcohol – with a few even lower…

These upbeat, cheery wines from Craig and Carla Hawkins of Testalonga have never been better, or more precise. The entry-level Baby Banditos offer wonderful, light drinking, hovering around 12% alcohol – with a few even lower than that. These thirst-quenchers are joined by two fresh and pure Méthode Ancestrale sparkling wines. As always, quantities are limited.

‘Natural wine is simple: organically farmed at the very least in the vineyard, no added yeast or acid or tannin, in fact, nothing added except small amounts of SO2 if need be… and no fining/filtration.’ – Craig Hawkins, Testalonga

The 100% Carignan 2021 Follow Your Dreams makes for crunchy, light, summertime drinking with its tightly coiled, red-fruited, ultra-fresh palate. On the less serious side, the 2021 Chin Up Cinsault is so delicious and light at 11% alc. You’ll want to keep it all to yourself! Offering potpourri spice and shy, red fruit, the finish is bone-dry and crisp.

Sourced from an old vineyard planted in 1961, the 100% Chenin Blanc 2021 Keep on Punching is elegant and thirst quenchingly fresh with a saline finish versus the more geeky 2021 Stay Brave skin-contact Chenin. Which, with 10 days on the skins, has wonderful perfume and some added, pithy texture.

The El Bantito 2021 I wish I was a Ninja is 100% Colombard. Off-dry in style, it’s a fun and refreshing sparkling wine which, together with the more dry, 100% Chenin Blanc I am the Ninja, is made with the utmost dedication to quality. These are ‘fun in the sun’ kind of wines.

View all the new releases online, including the 97-point El Bandito Cortez, Lords of Dogtown, Mangaliza, Sweet Cheeks, The Dark Side and more.

Tasting notes:

Testalonga, Baby Bandito Follow Your Dreams 2021
‘Red and black berry but also some nutty, earthy notes on the nose while palate shows juicy fruit, pronounced acidity and grippy tannins. Rustic but pleasingly so.’ – Christian Eedes, Winemag, 90/100

Testalonga, Baby Bandito Chin Up 2021
‘Seductive aromatics of cranberry, raspberry, candyfloss, fynbos and spice while the palate is just delicious with pure fruit and bright acidity before a savoury finish. A remarkably precise expression of this variety.’ – Christian Eedes, Winemag, 93/100

Testalonga, Baby Bandito Keep On Punching 2021
‘From a 1961 vineyard on the back of the Piketberg. Elusive aromatics of pear, peach, citrus and herbs while the palate is light bodied with zippy acidity and the same saline finish it always has.’ – Christian Eedes, Winemag, 91/100

Testalonga, Baby Bandito Stay Brave 2021
‘Skin macerated. Enticing aromatics of citrus, peach, potpourri and honey while the palate has nice weight and breadth, bright acidity and a gently savoury finish.’ – Christian Eedes, Winemag, 92/100

Testalonga, El Bandito I wish I was a Ninja 2021
‘Dryland trellised Vines planted in 1998. This vineyard is a new addition to the range as we were looking for a block that yields consistently with good levels of acidity and low pH’s. The block is in Wellington and is on decomposed granite soils. It has been farmed organically since it was planted and belongs to Dr Edmund Oettlé who is a wonderful man to get to know. He has a great deal of knowledge with regards to organic farming and makes wonderful brandys. The block of Colombard has massive acidity’s due to the river the flows right next to the block which allows it to never stress.’ – Craig and Carla Hawkins, Testalonga

Testalonga, El Bandito I am the Ninja 2021
‘Planted in 1961, dry land bush vines (un-trellised), farmed organically. This is a block we started working with in 2017. It is a 4-ha block of Chenin planted on the sandstone soils of the Piketberg foothills on the way to Redelinghuys. It’s our oldest block of Chenin vines on soils that lie adjacent to a river, this provides enough water throughout the growing season. The section of this block used for the wine is a small piece right next to the river that gives more neutral clean fruit flavours which is why we chose this part of the block for the wine.’ – Craig and Carla Hawkins, Testalonga

 

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