For me this is probably the Chenin that has the most complexity and longevity.
The vineyard, planted in 1972, is a special one as it has been farmed organically since 2001 and every year, good or bad, gives a tension we sometimes don’t find in our other wines [as much]. This, I think, is due to the high percentage of quartz in the soil.
The wine was fermented and aged in 500L old French foudre and a single 1500L stainless steel tank for six months, then blended together and placed back into wood and stainless steel. A complex nose showing dried herbs, pear, peach, apple and a hint of smoky reduction while the palate has lovely fruit purity and definition, electric acidity and a pithy finish. Beautifully poised and intense while being extraordinarily light-bodied. - Importer Note
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."
|Wine White Chenin Blanc