Testalonga - El Bandito I am the Ninja 2020 Pet Nat Chenin Blanc

$46.00
Sale price

Regular price $46.00

PERSONAL NOTE: This is our latest addition to the portfolio. We love Methode Ancestral wines and the texture they bring. We wanted this wine to be drier than the “I wish I was a Ninja” as we feel Chenin has more depth when it is drier . The photo was taken by our friend Martin Shambrock in London of his neighbour’s dog “Layla”. We love the photo and think it suits this wine perfectly, it serious but playful at the same time.

NAME OF ESTATE/DOMAINE: TESTALONGA                            

NAME OF VIGNERON: Craig Hawkins

VINTAGE: 2020

LOCATION: Bandits Kloof, Eendekuil, Piketberg, Swartland

CLIMATE: Dry Mediterranean

TERROIR: Decomposed Sand stone, flat, 95m above sea level.

VITICULTURE: Planted in 1961, dry land bush vines (un-trellised), farmed organically. This is a block we started working with in 2017. It is a 4-ha block of Chenin planted on the sandstone soils of the Piketberg foothills on the way to Redelinghuys. It’s our oldest block of Chenin vines on soils that lie adjacent to a river, this provides enough water throughout the growing season. The section of this block used for the wine is a small piece right next to the river that gives more neutral clean fruit flavours which is why we chose this part of the block for the wine.

GRAPE: 100% Chenin

YIELDS: 45hl/ha

VINIFICATION: Hand-harvested then fermented in fibreglass tank at a temperature of 8 degrees. It was racked 6 times during fermentation to remove the sediment. At a sugar of 35g/l it was bottled under crown cap where it was left to finish fermentation and build up a natural pressure of carbon dioxide. After 10 months the bottles were riddled and disgorged and topped with the same wine (from other decanted bottles) and crown capped again. No SO2 was ever added to the wine and neither was any settling or fining agent.

TECHNICAL:

Alc            11%
TA            8.3g/l
pH            3.12
RS             6.2g/l
VA            0.43g/l
fSO2         0ppm
tSO2         5ppm

Pressure: 620kpa

--------THE PRODUCER--------

Testalonga

Testalonga is headed by Craig Hawkins, South Africa’s nominated “Natural Wine King”. He, and his wife Carla (also a winemaker), are producing some of the most innovative wines in that country at the moment, sourcing most of their grapes from farmers with old vine plots scattered across the Swartland region North of Cape Town. Thanks to their loyal growers they are able to access a veriety of old-vine, organic grapes such as Cinsault, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Carignan and Harslevelu, amongst others.

 

--------THE GRAPE--------

Chenin Blanc 

is a versatile white grape varietal that is producing a wide range of white wines all around the world. Its origins are in the Loire Valley in NW France with South Africa's Western Cape the second home.

 

--------THE REGION--------

Swartland

Traditionally a grain-producing area, in summer the Swartland district is marked by green pockets of vineyards clambering up the foothills of the mountains (Piketberg, Porterville, Riebeek and Perdeberg) and along the banks of the Berg River. In the past, the region was planted mainly to bushvines but trellising is increasingly being adopted due to advances in management strategies and quality considerations.

The Swartland literally translated means ‘the black land’ and the area takes its name from the now endangered indigenous renosterbos (rhino bush) which once turned the landscape a dark colour at certain times of the year. The district was traditionally a source of robust, full-bodied red wines and high quality, fortified wines. The Swartland Independent Producers (SIP) is a coming together of a group of like-minded producers working to express a true sense of place in the wines of the Swartland. 

In recent times, some exciting award-winning wines have emerged, both red and white, and the area continues to produce top port-style wines. Increasing percentages of Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are being grown here, as well as Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. It has five designated wards:  Malmesbury, Paardeberg, Paardeberg-South, Riebeekberg and Riebeeksrivier. The district of Swartland borders Piketberg to the north, which is not dissimilar in both geography and climate.


The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid.  Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods.  They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.

Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.  

These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir. 

PERSONAL NOTE: This is our latest addition to the portfolio. We love Methode Ancestral wines and the texture they bring. We wanted this wine to be drier than the “I wish I was a Ninja” as we feel Chenin has more depth when it is drier . The photo was taken by our friend Martin Shambrock in London of his neighbour’s dog “Layla”. We love the photo and think it suits this wine perfectly, it serious but playful at the same time.

NAME OF ESTATE/DOMAINE: TESTALONGA                            

NAME OF VIGNERON: Craig Hawkins

VINTAGE: 2020

LOCATION: Bandits Kloof, Eendekuil, Piketberg, Swartland

CLIMATE: Dry Mediterranean

TERROIR: Decomposed Sand stone, flat, 95m above sea level.

VITICULTURE: Planted in 1961, dry land bush vines (un-trellised), farmed organically. This is a block we started working with in 2017. It is a 4-ha block of Chenin planted on the sandstone soils of the Piketberg foothills on the way to Redelinghuys. It’s our oldest block of Chenin vines on soils that lie adjacent to a river, this provides enough water throughout the growing season. The section of this block used for the wine is a small piece right next to the river that gives more neutral clean fruit flavours which is why we chose this part of the block for the wine.

GRAPE: 100% Chenin

YIELDS: 45hl/ha

VINIFICATION: Hand-harvested then fermented in fibreglass tank at a temperature of 8 degrees. It was racked 6 times during fermentation to remove the sediment. At a sugar of 35g/l it was bottled under crown cap where it was left to finish fermentation and build up a natural pressure of carbon dioxide. After 10 months the bottles were riddled and disgorged and topped with the same wine (from other decanted bottles) and crown capped again. No SO2 was ever added to the wine and neither was any settling or fining agent.

TECHNICAL:

Alc            11%
TA            8.3g/l
pH            3.12
RS             6.2g/l
VA            0.43g/l
fSO2         0ppm
tSO2         5ppm

Pressure: 620kpa

--------THE PRODUCER--------

Testalonga

Testalonga is headed by Craig Hawkins, South Africa’s nominated “Natural Wine King”. He, and his wife Carla (also a winemaker), are producing some of the most innovative wines in that country at the moment, sourcing most of their grapes from farmers with old vine plots scattered across the Swartland region North of Cape Town. Thanks to their loyal growers they are able to access a veriety of old-vine, organic grapes such as Cinsault, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Carignan and Harslevelu, amongst others.

 

--------THE GRAPE--------

Chenin Blanc 

is a versatile white grape varietal that is producing a wide range of white wines all around the world. Its origins are in the Loire Valley in NW France with South Africa's Western Cape the second home.

 

--------THE REGION--------

Swartland

Traditionally a grain-producing area, in summer the Swartland district is marked by green pockets of vineyards clambering up the foothills of the mountains (Piketberg, Porterville, Riebeek and Perdeberg) and along the banks of the Berg River. In the past, the region was planted mainly to bushvines but trellising is increasingly being adopted due to advances in management strategies and quality considerations.

The Swartland literally translated means ‘the black land’ and the area takes its name from the now endangered indigenous renosterbos (rhino bush) which once turned the landscape a dark colour at certain times of the year. The district was traditionally a source of robust, full-bodied red wines and high quality, fortified wines. The Swartland Independent Producers (SIP) is a coming together of a group of like-minded producers working to express a true sense of place in the wines of the Swartland. 

In recent times, some exciting award-winning wines have emerged, both red and white, and the area continues to produce top port-style wines. Increasing percentages of Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are being grown here, as well as Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. It has five designated wards:  Malmesbury, Paardeberg, Paardeberg-South, Riebeekberg and Riebeeksrivier. The district of Swartland borders Piketberg to the north, which is not dissimilar in both geography and climate.


The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid.  Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods.  They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.

Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.  

These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir.