El Bandito Cortez Chenin 2019 - Testalonga - Swartland, South Africa 75cl
GRAPE: CHENIN BLANC
COUNTRY: SOUTH AFRICA
BOTTLE SIZE: 75CL
THE WINEMAKER: TESTALONGA
A fascinating Chenin, rich, dry and mineral with aromas of wild honey and freshly baked bread. Deep and complex with a core of pear and orange peel, herbs, nuts and saltiness. Jura-like in style but distinctively New World.
What started off as a means of earning some cash for beer money seems to have got a little bit out of hand for Craig Hawkins. Having spent years travelling and working harvests with a who’s who of vignerons (Tom Lubbe of Matassa, Dirk Niepoort, Eben Sadie, etc) Craig and his wife Carla have now made a corner of Swartland their home where they produces some of the most sought after wines in world. Craig makes around 12 cuvees, using a variety of grapes under two labels: El Bandito and Baby Bandito. In the vineyard Craig is fiercely organic and flirting with biodynamic, while in the cellar he is as hands off as possible.
When he started his project Craig was very much in the left of left field. And this was not just because he was based in the wild west of Swartland where young growers who wanted to discover themselves gravitated. Craig has never been part of the mainstream, even in Swartland, but that is because he is not imitating anyone. He has a clear idea of what he wants to do, which is to make wines for his own satisfaction and to his own taste, rather than track the market. It is important to note that as his own taste has evolved so has the style of the wines. His independent and uncompromising approach has not always endeared him to South African authorities and he has been shunned by various critics and wine writers.
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