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Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Testalonga El Banditotext
92POINTS
17/20

Testalonga El Bandito 2019

Swartland, Coastal Region, South AfricaFrom Craig and Carla Hawkins' family label Testalonga, aka South African's top tier of naturalist winemakers, El Bandito Skin is a skin contact chenin blanc, and was the first wine they ever made. They've dialled it in over the years, with less extraction and time on skins, into a seamless, harmonious orange. From Swartland's organically farmed Observatory Farm Vineyard, this dryland bush vine chenin (planted 1972) grows at the bottom of the slope's decomposed granite, where water is more abundant. After destemming, and 12 days on skin in 1500L open fermenters, this was pressed off into one 3000L foudre for native ferment and full MLF. Whiffs of meadow grass, hay, yellow apple, elderflower blossoms, and wildfire honey lead into a long, slender palate, sharpened with fine edges of apricot skin, and seasoned with ample mineral salts. The palate hums with a fine shimmer through to the lingering, saline finish. I last tasted this vintage in November 2019, and it's really come quite a way in bottle since then. Impressive.Tasted: 18 January 2021Tasted by: Treve RingPrices: BC 58.00 private wine shops Producer: TestalongaDistributors: Sur Lie
Juice Imports
The Living Vine
Grape: Chenin Blanc