Andrew Guard

2019 Baby Bandito 'Stay Brave' Chenin Blanc (Skin Contact)

“Planted in 1981, this is a 1.5ha block, which was abandoned in 2014, we approached the farmer and asked if we could try and revive it. The vineyard gives a very specific, salty character to the wines, maybe not as intense as those from the heart of the Paardeberg but there is a definite salinity, which we love.” A very pretty nose with top notes of flowers, herbs, ginger and other spice before lemon and orange. The palate displays lovely fruit expression to go with bright acidity and just a touch of phenolic grip – light and energetic. Irresistible  

Great South African wine is quite a recent phenomenon. During the apartheid, the wine industry was completely dominated by one organization, which controlled everything from production to price, so it is only since the early 1990s that independent wine producers have emerged. 

Craig Hawkins is one of the most influential and certainly the most exciting winemakers of, not only South Africa, but the the New World. Producing wine in the Swartland in South Africa, he has helped to change the image of South African wine.

Craig's Testalonga wines often have such complexity, derived from his winemaking methods, that the authorities don’t know how to deal with it – he is denied export certification on an annual basis due to his wines lacking ‘typicity’. Well from my portfolio he joins Thierry Puzelat, Didier Barral and Francois Cotat in that regard, all brilliant winemakers who refuse to bow to convention in their quest for excellence and authenticity.