Testalonga, El Bandito 'Cortez' 2021
Deeply layered with classic orchard fruit flavours and minerality. Great concentration.
Craig Hawkins is a young winemaker based in the Swartland, producing some of the most exciting wines in South Africa at the moment. Low yields, wild ferments and low sulphur levels allow excellent expression of place. El Bandito Cortez is naturally fermented Chenin Blanc sourced from organically farmed, low yielding vineyards. Beautifully bright with yellow fruits, honey and white florals alongside crisp acidity and richness of texture. The palate is deeply layered with classic orchard fruit flavours and minerality. So full of life and moreish complexity.
Region/Country: Swartland, South Africa
Grape/s: Chenin Blanc
Production Method: Sustainable farming. Skin contact, natural fermentation with wild yeasts. Bottled unfined and unfiltered after maturation in large, old oak
Style: Skin contact orange wine. Pithy texture and crisp acidity. Exotic fruits and spices
Pairing Suggestion: Vegetable dishes, seafood, savoury cheeses
Variety: Chenin Blanc
Profile: Chenin Blanc is one of the great white varieties, responsible for many of the outstanding, long-lived wines of the Loire Valley. Chenin has naturally high acidity, and a range of honeyed citrus and orchard fruit flavours. It is produced in a wide range of styles, from dry and austere, to firm and powerful, through to lusciously sweet due to botrytis. Most Chenin is produced similar to top quality German whites, with fermentation in stainless steel or large old oak, no oak ageing and no malolactic fermentation. It is also the major variety for Loire Valley sparkling wines.
Classic Regions: Savennières, Quarts de Chaume, Vouvray (France), South Africa
In 2008, after many years making wine all over the globe Craig and Carla Hawkins started Testalonga in Swartland, South Africa. Their first wine was a skin contact Chenin and from there they have introduced new vineyards of mostly old vines of Grenache, Muscat, Carignan, Harslevelu and Syrah. All of the fruit comes from dry farmed, organic sites. The wines are made with as little manipulation as possible - in good years its as simple as picking, pressing, waiting, watching and bottling with nothing added at any stage.