The new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa’s most interesting wineries

south africa

The new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa’s most interesting wineries

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

Caught up with Craig Hawkins to try the new releases from Testalonga, one of South Africa’s most interesting and bravest wineries. Craig and Carla left the safety of being based at Lammershoek (which was owned by her parents) and have moved to a remote but beautiful farm on the very edge of the Swartland. The winemaking pushes boundaries, with low alcohols and precise, intense but delicate flavours. The labels are also quite striking, and have got ever more colourful and artistic.

testalonga

These wines aren’t to everyone’s tastes, but I love them. Here are my brief notes on the 2015 releases.

Testalonga El Bandito Cortez 2015
Matchstick notes on the nose. Quite pure, linear and with lovely citrus and pear fruit. So delicious with fine acidity. 94/100

Testalonga El Bandito Skin Contact 2015
Grippy and detailed. Savoury, spicy and firm with high acid. Very fresh and fine. 93/100

Testalonga El Bandito ‘Sweet Cheeks’ 2015
This is Muscat Alexandria, 18 days on skins. So pretty and floral with lovely aromatics. Fresh, lemony and grapey with pithy edge to the palate. 92/100

Testalonga El Bandito Manualizza 2015
This is the Hungarian grape Harslevelu. Lovely acidity: fresh and lemony with pure, bright brit. Precise and lemony and linear. Lovely. 94/100

Testalonga El Bandito Manualizza Skin Contact 2015
Grippy with high acidity. Spicy, detailed, linear and fine with some peach and pear richness. Lovely. 94/100

Testalonga El Bandito I wish I was a Ninja Pet Nat 2015
This is a fizz made from Colombard. Amazing with lovely purity and bright, sweet lemony fruit. It’s off dry and smash able with lovely acidity. 93/100

Testalonga ‘King of Grapes’ Grenache 2015
Very tight and a bit reductive. Fresh and linear with nice cherry and raspberry fruit. So lean and linear. 93/100

Testalonga ‘The Dark Side’ Syrah 2015
Slightly rubbery, closed, taut, closed nose with leather and herbs complementing the nice raspberry and black cherry fruit. Fresh with high acidity. Savoury and fascinating. 93/100

There are also three wines that are a bit more affordable called ‘Baby Bandito’:

Baby Bandito Keep on Punching 2015
Pure, lemony and linear with nice weight. 91/100

Baby Bandito Stay Brave 2015
Skin contact Chenin. Textured and cloudy with a bit of grip, some spice and nice acidity. A super wine. 93/100

Baby Bandito Follow Your Dream 2015
This is a Carignan. Very fresh, pure and linear with bright cherry and raspberry fruit with lovely detail and precision. Very fresh with real grip. 92/100

Find these wines with wine-searcher.com

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