Craig and Carla Hawkins have been at the forefront of natural wine making in South Africa since the first wine was produced in 2008. Starting with the El Bandito skin contact Chenin Blanc, the range has since grown over the eleven vintages to 12 wines encompassing a range of cultivars and production methods.
In 2018 Craig and Carla planted their first grapes on Bandits Kloof, the farm they purchased in 2015 near Piketberg after leaving Lammershoek. They are still sourcing most of the grapes for their wines from various parcels around Swartland.
Due to the small production of each and every wine, coupled with the drought of the past years, most of the wines produced by Hawkins is rather hard to come by. We have put together a selection of wines to make sure as many people as possible get a chance to experience these wines.
Some of the wines will be available for purchase separately, but most will only be available as part of this mixed selection. The selection includes one bottle of each of the following wines.
Baby Bandito Keep on Punching Chenin Blanc 2019
Baby Bandito Stay Brave Skin Contact Chenin Blanc 2019
El Bandito Cortez Chenin Blanc 2019
El Bandito Skin Chenin Blanc 2019
El Bandito Monkey Gone To Heaven 2019
I Wish I Was A Ninja Colombard 2019 (Method Ancestral Bubbly)
Each selection will be accompanied by more detailed information about each wine. This selection we feel would give good insight into the different styles and wines Craig and Carla works with.
Out of stock
It is with immense pleasure that we can offer the 2019 vintage wines from Craig and Carla Hawkins of Bandits Kloof. The TESTALONGA wines in some ways have come a long way since the first vintage, and in other ways they remain steadfastly true to the principles upon which the project was established 12 years ago. In our opinion they are the leaders in natural wine production in South Africa. The wines are much more well-renowned in Europe than here, and are perennial favourites among top sommeliers in particular.
Craig and Carla seek purity, precision and brightness in their wines and only work with vineyards that can produce high-quality grapes (with relatively low pH) ensuring that there is minimal need for intervention in the cellar. A herbicide- and pesticide-free approach in the vineyard is essential to their goals. They work with cover crops rather than chemical fertilisers in the winter to ensure moisture retention and general soil health in the dry Swartland climate. Expressing vineyard is key, so all the wines are a single variety from a single site.
In the cellar there is no yeast, enzymes or acid added. The whites are whole-bunch pressed and then fermented in either stainless steel, foudre or small oak. The skin ferment white wines are destemmed and then fermented on skins for 7-14 days in wrapped open top fermenters before being pressed to old wood. The reds are fermented whole-bunch and usually pressed after 3-4 days. A minuscule amount of SO2 may be added before bottling.