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TESTALONGA El Bandito ‘Hallelujah Chicken Run’ 2023



2017 was the last vintage we made of this wine. It is a tiny parcel (300 vines) we have been working with for a number of years. The name comes from one of my favourite musicians Thomas Mapfumo from Zimbabwe. When he started out making music and formed a band they all used to work in the chicken runs so their first band they called Hallelujah Chicken Run. The photo was taken by friend Kevin Short whilst on a photo shoot in Kenya, the boy symbolises how we feel about wine.

Bush vines planted in 2001, the soils have a higher clay content than a lot of the other parcels I get from which helps with water retention which is a good thing in the very dry years. Not a lot of suckering is done to promote leaf growth.

Hand harvested then whole bunch pressed into a 300L old French oak cask. Full malolactic fermentation is allowed to take place. No added yeast or acid. SO2 added a month before bottling, un-fined and with a light clarifying filtration.

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The wines of TESTALONGA defy convention in a lot of ways. Craig has never been accused of being “a follower” and these wines represent the avant-garde of South African wine. The fruit is farmed by Craig and his team using organic and biodynamic methods. Craig is proud of making natural wines, thus early picking, a lack of additions (minute amounts of SO2 are infrequently used) with no fining or filtration are all hallmarks of his approach. They have bought a farm in the Piketberg area in northern Swartland, and have started to plant vines as of 2018.







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