Testalonga - Baby Bandito 'Stay Brave' Chenin Blanc 2019

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"This Chenin Blanc is quite unlike any other Chenin from South Africa, or anywhere that I can think of at the moment. It spent just short of two weeks macerating in the skins which gives the wine a slight copper hue and an excellent intensity of aromatics on the nose. Classic Chenin Blanc flavours of yellow peach, baked apple, and nashi pear are on the nose. It opens up a bit more and gives a range of floral and baking spice notes such as honeysuckle and dried ginger. The palate is lovely and incredibly textural."


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


Testalonga is headed by Craig Hawkins, South Africa’s “Natural Wine King”. He, and his wife Carla, are producing some of the more innovative wines in the country at the moment sourcing most of their grapes from farmers with old vine plots scattered across Paardeberg Swartland. Thanks to their loyal growers they are able to get access to a great variety of grapes such as Grenache, Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Carignan and Harslevelu.


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

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is a versatile white grape varietal that is producing a wide range of white wines all around the world. Historically, and where it is planted most, is in the Loire Valley of northern France. Here it is famous in Anjou-Saumur particularly in Vouvray, where it is usually found as a sparkling or dry white wine.


--------THE REGION--------


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.


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