A refreshing end to the tasting are Craig’s pet-nats: the El Bandito ‘I Am The Ninja 2019’ and the El Bandito ‘I Wish I Was A Ninja 2019’. “They’re the greatest joy to make. They’re also the most technical,” he shares. 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. - Andrew Guard