Testalonga El Bandito Skin Contact (Orange Wine) 2022

Please note: The image may not show the actual vintage available. Please check the product details for the actual vintage.

Perfect for:

The weekend

Looks, Smells, Tastes like:

Orange, Funky, Fun

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Testalonga El Bandito Skin contact, organic orange wine, elegant, fresh, fascinating. The skin contact from Craig Hawkins is evolving into a much more elegant style of orange wine. Less skin contact time and maturation leads to a fresher style, paler colour and a more elegant wine. The 2017 and 2018 have been delightfully light and sappy, notes of citrus fruits, red apple, and subtle herbs with just a sniff of classic Chenin Blanc honey. However, the 18 does have an unusual characteristic. In fact, I was in SA in February 2019 and we did a tasting with Craig of his wines. The wine displays a note of something which is very reminiscent of TCA (corky aroma, wet cardboard, musty) and many of the people round the table including some top sommeliers thought it was corked, myself included. In fact, Craig said that the wine has been tested for TCA a number of times and there is none present however it does display this strange aroma in the 2018 vintage which does smell like TCA. That’s natural wine for you, sometimes it doesn’t quite come out how you expect. Despite this, we think the wine is still excellent and very interesting. Leave it open for a couple of hours and then try it with stinky cheese and in our view it is still an excellent wine to drink.

Is Vegan? Yes
Bottle Size 750ml
Production Method Natural, Organic
Producer Craig Hawkins Testalonga
Country South Africa
Region Swartland, SA
Vintage 2022
Wine Type Orange Wine
Wine Style Full bodied
Grape Chenin Blanc
Terroir From Boschgassfontein, aka the old Observatory Vineyard, planted in early ‘70s. With soils consist of old decomposing granite interspersed with quartz.
Alcohol 12% abv
Maturation Fermented with 5 weeks skin contact and lots of lees stirring.
Total Sulphur 26mg/l
Annual Production 0 - 5,000 bottles
Ageing Potential Very good

Craig Hawkins is a young winemaker based in the Swartland, South Africa, where he makes delicious natural wines at his farm called Banditskloof.

Having travelled extensively throughout Europe, and then worked as wine maker for Lammershoek, he now makes makes a huge variety of different wines under his own Testalonga label and has his own vines at the beautifully named 'Banditsskloof' farm in Swartland.  These are beautiful, natural hand-crafted wines from low yielding organic vines.  Craig only uses wild ferments and nothing is added except a little SO2 at bottling in some but not all the wines and vintages.

Over the years, Craig has expanded his repertoire and now makes some 15 different Cuvee including some delicious Pet Nat sparklers.  His wines continue to promote natural freshness, balance and quality and increasingly, a more precise and refined style.  The superb El Bandito Skin Contact Chenin Blanc is a very different wine from 12 years ago when we first tasted it and much more elegant and easy drinking.



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  1. Molly


    This wine goes down a treat–it’s far and away one of my favourite orange wines.

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The Natural Wine Lexicon

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Natural Yeast Fermentation
  • Nothing Removed, Nothing Added
  • Hand Harvest
  • Unfined
  • Unfilitered
  • Low Sulphur
  • No Added Sulphur
Natural wine explained. Read more

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Testalonga El Bandito Skin Contact (Orange Wine) 2022