After travelling extensively in Portugal and Austria learning his craft, Craig Hawkins returned to South Africa and became the winemaker at top Swartland estate Lammershoek. Craig now makes his own wines from various small, organic vineyard sites in Swartland and makes his wine naturally, with as little intervention as possible. Keep On Punching is Swartland Chenin, but not in the conventional sense. Stylistically this wine fits more closely with the Chenins of the Loire valley - the fruit is apple and pear with some nice zippy white peach.
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They are part of a revolutionary ground swell taking place in South African wine, where traditions are being challenged and brave new territory is being explored. The painfully small amount of wine that this duo produces gets snapped up in short order the world over. Known for their striking intensity and nervy energy, Craig and Carla's wines are on the cutting edge of the natural wine movement in their country. Perhaps the one variety that has generated the most attention for their label is their fascinating array of Chenin Blanc.
Dinner with Friends. Low Sulphur , Natural , Vegan Friendly. 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, 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.