Our farm, Bandits Kloof, is now a blank canvas and can be quite a demanding place at times. It’s definitely a challenge in a positive way but is a bit “rough” at the moment. We have friendly nicknamed it “Dog town” as the animals (baboons, donkeys, cattle, dogs) are or seem to want to be in charge. The photo was taken by Carla on one of our walks, and the donkeys and cattle all seemed to be posing for the camera as if it was a photo shoot. The owner of the vineyard Carl Malherbe has 2h a of vineyard which when he brought the farm was abandoned, we worked together and are in the process of getting the 2 blocks back into production, Carl being a cattle auctioneer always jokingly asks when I’m going to put an Nguni on the label, so the photo just fitted. This wine is exclusively for Japan and RSA as only 300 bottles were made.
NAME OF ESTATE/DOMAINE: TESTALONGA
NAME OF VIGNERON: Craig & Carla Hawkins
CELLAR LOCATION: Bandits Kloof, Eendekuil, Piketberg, Swartland
CLIMATE: Dry Mediterranean
TERROIR: Decomposed Granite, East facing, 100m above sea level, from the Paardeberg.
Bush Vines planted in 1981 and organically farmed. This vineyard was previously “abandoned”, so it is the third year we have been “resurrecting” it. We pruned it and “skoffeled” (clean around the vine by hand) it and did not sucker it. 2020 even though we had more rain the vines still struggle along and don’t give a big yield, but the quality we are very happy with. 2020 Vintage was a good one for us as we had another relatively wet winter which led to a tricky start to the growing season with regards to disease pressure, once that was overcome the resulting grapes were healthy and of a good yield and balance.
GRAPE: 100% Chenin blanc
Hand-harvested then fermented after being 100% whole bunch pressed. Pressed into a 500L, old oak cask. No added yeast or acid. Full Malolactic fermentation takes place. SO2 was not added at any stage, un-fined, and a clarifying filtration was done.