Testalonga El Bandito Queen of Spades Tinta Amarela 2019 / 2022

Type: Red
Country: South Africa
Region: Swartland
Grape Variety: 100% Tinta Amarela
Viticulture: Natural Wine | Biodynamic | Organic Farming

Climate: Dry Mediterranean climate
Terroir: Vines grow on decomposed granite. Vineyard is east-facing at 150m above sea level, from the Abbotsdale or Paardeberg region
Winemaking: Hand-harvested, 100% whole bunch fermented for 15 days in open tank, where it was then pressed and aged in one 300l French barrel. No yeast added, ambient fermentation. 100% malolactic fermentation (mlf bacteria not added). Unfined, light clarifying filtration

Color: Intense red
Nose: Aromas of rose, blackberries, blueberries and earthy notes
Palate: Supple but pulpy mouthfeel with gentle tannins that make it easy to drink, long herbal finish

About the Winery:
The wines of Testalonga defy convention in a lot of ways. Craig and Carla Hawkins have never been accused of being “followers” and their wines represent the avant-garde of South African wine.

The Testalonga wines in some ways have come a long way since the first vintage, and in other ways, they remain steadfastly true to the principles upon which the project was established 12 years ago. In our opinion, they are the leaders in natural wine production in South Africa.

Craig and Carla seek purity, precision and brightness in their wines and only work with vineyards that can produce high-quality grapes (with relatively low pH) ensuring that there is minimal need for intervention in the cellar. A herbicide- and pesticide-free approach in the vineyard is essential to their goals. They work with cover crops rather than chemical fertilisers in the winter to ensure moisture retention and general soil health in the dry Swartland climate. Expressing vineyard is key, so all the wines are a single variety from a single site.

In the cellar, there is no yeast, enzymes or acid added. The whites are whole-bunch pressed and then fermented in either stainless steel, Foudre or small oak. The skin fermented white wines are destemmed and then fermented on skins for 7-14 days in wrapped open-top fermenters before being pressed to old wood. The reds are fermented whole-bunch and usually pressed after 3-4 days. A minuscule amount of SO2 may be added before bottling.