The Dark Side Syrah Testalonga El Bandito 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:

Deep, Funky, Crunchy

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The Dark Side Syrah Testalonga El Bandito, deep, fresh, interesting. Craig Hawkins is developing his private vineyard holdings and his range of grape varieties. The Dark Side (suitably labelled in cool bottle!) is pure Syrah but not as you would expect in South Africa. Craig uses the wild yeasts and lees to add minerality and texture to a wine of poise and freshness.  The Dark Side Syrah Testalonga El Bandito has classic dark fruits and spice, what you expect from Syrah but its acidity and backbone add something extra. The wine is generally sold young and will take a little time to fully knit together in bottle but it already makes for interesting and easy drinking.

Is Vegan? Yes
Bottle Size 750ml
Production Method Natural, Organic
Producer Craig Hawkins Testalonga
Country South Africa
Region Swartland, SA
Vintage 2022
Wine Type Red Wine
Wine Style Full bodied
Grape Syrah/Shiraz
Terroir Granite, Gravel
Alcohol 12.5% ABV
Maturation Whole bunch, open top fermentation, aged in 500l barrel
Total Sulphur 18mg/l
Annual Production 0 - 5,000 bottles
Ageing Potential Certainly 5-8 years and will improve nicely over the next 24 months.
Food Matching Charcuterie, Red Meat

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.



Based on 1 review

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  1. Eric


    If you’re thinking about drinking it later, open it now.

    First open, I had a rant in my head about natural wine’s version of parkerization, because this was nothing but cherry juice from a pig trough.

    It develops though. Oolong tannins, flint, cherry gets tighter. Flowers bloom. Gets savoury, and that with the flowers finally backs up the northern rhone comparisons this seems to get.

    With the acidity, spice and genuine funk it turns out this literally does what it says on the tin; it’s darker coloured el bandito. Drink it with that in mind & it’s delicious.

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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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The Dark Side Syrah Testalonga El Bandito 2022