El Bandito Skins 2018 — Chenin Blanc
A Wine That
defines elegant orange wine. This is orange wine with good posture, dressed in silk. It's subtle and full of nuances - from red apple skin, to nutmeg and honey, to wild thyme and dried hay, this has everything that fine Chenin Blanc has going for it. Its gentle chamomile notes will linger with you for what feels like eternity. It's a wine that improves with some air, so reach for the decanter (or a vase will suffice!)
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- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Testalonga
Where and How?
From the Observatory vineyard in the Paardeberg in the Swartland, this is old vine Chenin Blanc planted in 1972 on decomposed granite and quartz soils. Craig has rented this vineyard for many years and farms it organically.
This is similar to the very first El Bandito wine, made back in 2008 - here you can see Carla photographed in the wine press. Today, the idea behind the wine hasn't changed, but the technique has been fine tuned. The grapes were destemmed and fermented naturally together with the skins in open tanks for eight days. The wine was then pressed into large old oak barrels for ageing. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Craig grew up in East South Africa, near Durban, in an area where there are very few vineyards. His childhood dream was to become a game ranger and to work in conservation. It was only after school that he was introduced to the notion of viticulture, through his brother Neil. At school, the only subject Craig had got straight As in was art (the sciences lingered at Bs), so he was sold on the artistic nature of farming, winemaking and label design.
He embarked upon a mission to define Swartlandish terroir, his own way. Through Eben Sadie, he met Rémy Pedreno (Roc d'Anglade), Dirk Niepoort & Dorli Muhr, and Tom Lubbe, all of whom have helped him sculpt his own path. While sleeping in a tent at Roc d'Anglade, Rémy handed him a bottle of Ligurian skin-contact Vermentino made by Antonio Perrino. It was a wine that would change everything, and a wine that would lead to the first South African skin contact wine.
Today, you can find Craig and Carla Hawkins in the true Swartland wilderness – 100km north of the hub of the Paardeberg, in an area called Piketberg on their new farm, Bandits Kloof. This is rural Africa; not many human beings are here, but rather wildlife exists in abundance. Together with 84 other farms, they are working on a project with the Cape Leopard Trust, to track the movement of leopards and to investigate their interaction with farm animals. Thus, Craig has unwittingly fulfilled his childhood dream synonymously with farming vines and making wine.