Barberry Garden

A wine corner in a crazy world


El Bandito I Wish I was a Ninja - 2023


3.90 / 5.0

South Africa » Western Cape » WO Swartland
white sparkling, dry
950 UAH
not available
Testalonga El Bandito I Wish I was a Ninja 2023


3.90 / 5.0750 ml@Garage · Matassa Blanc Vertical

I reviewed it just a few days ago. This time I served it blind, and it was curious to listen to people's thoughts and guesses. Yes, it's on the sweeter side (35g/L of residual sugar is no joke), but thanks to high acidity and lees influence, it creates an intriguing profile that lures and tricks people. Lovely stuff, especially if you don't mind sweet wines.

Wine #1 on Matassa Blanc Vertical event.

3.90 / 5.0750 ml@Kyiv

Oh, I needed this so much. Arguably the best way to start a Friday after a long week. This wine is a perfect match for leisure on the Dnipro bank. Easy to understand, generous, and expressive. Yes, it has 30g/l of residual sugar, but it's so balanced you don't even care—fresh, fruity, yeasty, and just delicious.


Craig & Carla Hawkins, without any doubt, are revolutionizing the South African wine industry. After long years of traveling around the world and making wines in known and established wineries (like Matassa and Niepoort Vinhos S.A.), Craig came to Swartland to work for Eben Sadie in 2006. Carla has been here since 1997.

Testalonga was established as a side-line in 2008. They produced 2 barrels of macerated Chenin Blanc. It is considered the first macerated wine in the whole of South Africa. They had to fight for the right to export their wines as regulators were against letting these wines out to the market. All those sediments and other traces of low intervention winemaking were quite suspicious back then. No surprises here, they figured that out. And today Craig and Carla are famous in the wine world.

In the 2015 they bough Bandits Kloof farm in the northern mountains of Swartland. Climate is similar to Sicilian, so they planted Frappato, Macabeo, Carignan, Mataro, Grenache and Garnacha Blanca.

Wines are not the only thing one can appreciate about Testalonga. Most of their bottles wear catchy labels of high-quality (e.g. paper and printing quality). It turns out Craig designs them all. He did art at school, but today he lacks time to paint. So he turned the labels into a canvas. Most of them are photos that friends or family have taken, which Craig then plays around to create various labels.

The Baby Bandito range was first released in 2015. All it requires is a proper label. And luckily, Craig found a perfect image in his brother's new house. The Baby Bandito photo is a picture his brother took of some street art in Cambodia. Craig just played around with it to make the little girl the focal point of the image, as she has a plaster on her finger. In addition, Craig overlaid it with quotes by Banksy - Keep on Punching, Stay Brave, Follow Your Dreams, and Chin Up.