2019 Testalonga Baby Bandito ‘Follow your Dreams’
Region: Bandits Kloof, Eendekuil & Piketberg < Swartland < South Africa
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming (uncertified); bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Craig Hawkins
Carla and Craig Hawkins are Testalonga, a husband and wife team who traveled and made wine all over the world settled down in Swartland, a climate similar to the south of France/Sicily, to grow Mediterranean grape varieties. Dubbed as the ‘Natural Wine King of South Africa’, Craig is paving the way for low intervention wines in his country. The self-designed artwork on the label of Baby Bandito ‘Follow your Dreams’ is inspired by street artist Banksy’s famous piece of the same name, while the peppy one liner is meant to give a word of encouragement -- perhaps to himself. For many years they were unable to export their wines because they lacked the “typicity” (read richness + high ABV) of other South African wines.
And that's why we love this wine, which is totally different than the big, rich Carignan of other regions (think Priorat) -- this is pure, joyful juice. It's full of aromatic red fruit (raspberry, sour cherry, tart pomegranate), sweet violets and herbal notes. The South African sun brings just enough ripeness, the young vines bring exuberance -- and as Craig notes, it’s acid that brings backbone to his wines. Definitely chill it down, then pour into a big glass and do as the bottle says -- follow your dreams (in this case, finish that big glass, and then go in for another). Because you DESERVE it baby, for making it this far in quarantine.