Making tiny batches under multiple different labels, Craig and Carla Hawkins of Testalonga in the Swartland are unlikely to become household names any time soon but the world would be an infinitely duller place if they didn’t do what they do.
Vintage 2018 has just been released consisting of 15 separate bottlings, bottles available locally in the case of the El Bandito Mangaliza (from Hárslevelű) and the El Bandito Queen of Spades (from Tinta Amarela) just 24.
Two wines I liked very much and which you may actually come across are as follows:
El Bandito Cortez 2018
From a 1972 Chenin Blanc vineyard. An element of struck match before herbs and hay, pear, white peach and lime on the nose. This precedes a palate that is super-light yet super-concentrated with thrilling acidity and a finish that is long and pithy. Alcohol: 11.5%.
Editor’s rating: 95/100.
El Bandito Skin 2018
Approximate retail price: R295
From a 1972 Chenin Blanc vineyard. Eight days of skin contact. A compelling nose of dried flowers, herbs, citrus and stone fruit to go with a certain grapiness. Great fruit concentration, bright acidity and some nice phenolic grip, the finish long and savoury. Alcohol: 10.5%.
Editor’s rating: 93/100.
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