Testalonga Keep On Punching 2018
Craig Hawkins the winemaker of Keep On Punching which is produced at Testalonga is in a good place. He and Carla are now ensconced in Bandits Kloof in Piketberg, the northern reaches of the Swartland; He finally has a dedicated winery with plenty of space and a steady supply of excellent grapes from well-farmed vineyards. After years of experimentation, he has developed a style that he is comfortable with, and with that he makes around 40,000 bottles, using a variety of grapes under two labels: Testalonga El Bandito and Baby Bandito. Craig has never been part of the mainstream, even in Swartland, but that is because he is not imitating anyone. He has a clear idea of what he wants to do, which is to make wines for his own satisfaction and to his own taste, rather than track the market. It is important to note that as his own taste has evolved so has the style of the wines. His independent and uncompromising approach has not always endeared him to South African authorities and he has been shunned by various critics and wine writers. Hence the name Testalonga El Bandito. Testalonga was the nickname of an old Italian guy who made his white wines like red wines. Craig asked him via a friend whether he could use the name for his labels and he laughed and gave his assent. Testalonga is also the name of a bandit from Sicily.
The Testalonga Keep On Punching Chenin vines were planted in 1972, a bush vine (un-trellised), farmed organically. This is a block they have worked with for some time (at previous jobs) and it always gives very small clusters that are full of concentration and high natural acidity. The soil is very exposed (lots of rocks) and this comes through in the wines backbone.
The Testalonga Keep On Punching is a pure wine, with a nice weight the wine has aromas of pear, apple and white peach plus potpourri and a touch of earthiness. On the palate, you’ll find a freshly opened box of Maldon sea salt, but it’s light and extremely flavourful and full of zipping and zing.
By The Bottle