2021 Testalonga El Bandito I wish I was the Ninja Pét-Nat11826
WINEMAKER: Craig & Carla Hawkins
REGION: Swartland, SA
Naturally sparkling, the grapes were fermented in fibreglass tanks and racked a number of times during fermentation to remove the sediment. They were then bottled under crown cap and left to finish fermentation to build up a natural pressure of carbon dioxide. After 10 months the bottles were riddled, disgorged and topped with the same wine (from other decanted bottles) and crown capped again.
The differences between the Ninjas are the cultivars; I Am The Ninja is made with Chenin (planted in 1961), while I Wish I Was A Ninja is Colombard (planted in 1998). They were also bottled at different residual sugars. The pet-nats are all about the tension between the acid and sugar, and Craig pulls that line tight. They’re not just a joy to make, but also to drink.
During the apartheid, the South African wine industry was completely dominated by one organization, which controlled everything from production to price. Modern day renegades, Craig & Carla Hawkins, established Testalonga in 2008 and shook the industry to its core. Settling in Swartland, they started with two barrels of macerated chenin - the first 'orange' wine made in South Africa. The deeply conservative authorities often rejected their wines for export for not exhibiting 'typicity' of South African wine.