Rossese is from Dolceacqua in Liguria, right next to the French boarder. The wine is 100% Rosseses, a red variety native to the steep slopes of the region. Winemaker Antonio Perrino is an impressive individual, not only does he have to deal with the low yielding vineyards of Rossese, but he also only producers 7 barrels of wine per year. This smaller than small, it's micro. It's dark fruits with floral and cocoa undertones and a fine tidy tannin that reaches to all parts of the palate along with it's long fruit profile. A well rounded and complex wine that also fits into the elegant category. A unique wine. (Note: not to be confused with the Testalonga from Swartland in South Africa) - Chris L
Craig Hawkins is a man who doesn't follow the crowd. He pushes the boundaries in his quest for purity and authenticity in his wines. So much so, in fact, that Testalonga has often been denied export classification by the South African wine authorities. His wines defy the 'normal' categories, breaking the conventions, and leading to a range of wines that are as delicious as they are interesting.
Testalonga was established in 2008, when Craig and his wife, Carla, returned home to Swartland after working various vintages around the world. One of the producers that had the biggest influence on them was Matassa - a natural producer based in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. So it was only fitting that on their return to South Africa, Craig and Carla began to make wines in a similar style.
Their first vintage was simply two barrels of skin-contact Chenin Blanc - the very first orange wine in South Africa! When applying for an export licence, there was no option for orange wine anywhere on the form, so Testalonga was denied. But Craig stuck to his guns, knowing that his wine was good. To reflect this belief, he started putting it on his labels. His wines are now emblazoned with messages - Stay Brave, Keep On Punching, Follow Your Dreams and Chin Up.
In 2015, Craig and Carla purchased land in the north of Swartland, and have planted 4 hectares, which they hope to grow in the future. The fruit for their wines is currently sourced from organic, dry-grown vineyards, working with growers who share the same ideals as them.
In the winery, Craig vinifies with no additions or manipulations whatsoever, using tiny amounts of sulphur only when necessary. They are natural wines, reflecting the site and fruit. "We try to improve every year and look for purity," says Craig. "We put a lot of effort into doing the right thing at the right time."
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