Testalonga new releases

Craig and Carla Hawkins, operating out of the Swartland, are arguably South Africa’s leading proponents of “natural wine”. The 2017 vintage has served them well, just about all the wines having a particular clearness and delicacy about them. Tasting notes and ratings as follows: Testalonga I Wish I Was A Ninja 2017 Approximate retail price: […]

November 8, 2017
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Testalonga El Bandito Skin Contact Chenin Blanc 2016

Craig Hawkins, co-owner with wife Carla of Swartland-based Testalonga, says 2016 was particularly dry, the resulting challenge being to manage the big tannins on both white wines and reds. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows: Testalonga Baby Bandito Keep on Punching 2016 Wine Cellar price: R130 From a 1974 Chenin Blanc […]

November 15, 2016
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Testalonga Baby Bandito Follow Your Dreams 2015

Craig Hawkins, the maverick winemaker behind the Testalonga label, detests having his wines scored and in the case of his two new “Baby Bandito” wines, it’s easy to sympathise because while they are not necessarily the most complex out there, their vitality and sheer refreshment value are enchanting. Tasting notes AND scores below because they […]

February 12, 2016
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Testalonga El Bandito Lords of Dogtown Chenin Blanc 2015

Lords of Dogtown 2015 is a new Chenin Blanc from Craig Hawkins of Testalonga which for now is only available in South Africa and Japan. The first vintage from a previously derelict Swartland vineyard, it was whole-bunch pressed before maturation in old oak. It’s got great aromatics: citrus, peach and apricot, dried herbs and ginger. […]

January 27, 2016
by Christian
with 0 Comments

Tim James: On the relative nature of natural wine

There are some things which we are sometimes tempted to think of as absolutes but are better appreciated as relative – as existing on or as a continuum. Ripeness, for example. It’s not only the writers of gushing back-labels who believe in the concept of “perfect ripeness”; many winemakers and critics seem to think of […]

January 18, 2016
by Tim James
with 0 Comments

Testalonga El Bandito King of Grapes 2015

Can Craig and Carla Hawkins be contained? Subsequent to their departure from Lammershoek, the Testalonga range of wines has grown to 11 and they remain some of the most rock ‘n roll stuff around. The 2015 vintage of King of Grapes (Wine Cellar price: R230 a bottle) is exquisite. From Grenache, it shows red fruit, spice […]

December 23, 2015
by Christian
with 0 Comments

David Cope: Interview with Craig Hawkins

Craig Hawkins has made a name for himself as the biggest advocate of natural wine in South Africa. Together with significant other Carla Kretzel, he’s recently left Swartland winery Lammershoek to pursue his Testalonga brand of wines full time. Here’s a quick catch-up with the man behind some of the most interesting wines made in […]

February 13, 2015
by David Cope
with 0 Comments

Testalonga El Bandito 2014

Craig Hawkins pretty much eschews the label “natural wines” for the stuff he makes under the Testalonga El Bandito label as he feels that the term is too mired in controversy but he’s South Africa’s leading proponent of the “nothing added, nothing taken away” approach to winemaking and the results are compelling. “I want my […]

December 4, 2014
by Christian Eedes
with 3 Comments
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Wine magazine was published from October 1993 until September 2011 & now lives on in digital form as Winemag.co.za. We cover everything to do with SA fine wine.