This unique white wine is sourced from a tiny patch of Vermentino vines grown on orange sandy soils in Koekenaap planted in 2017, and which are located only 15 kilometres from the cold Atlantic Ocean up the barren West Coast. The unwaveringly maritime and saline characteristics of this dry coastal terroir up the West Coast has become almost synonymous as Sakkie Mouton’s signature style and these particular Vermentino grapes are located no more than 600 metres away from his old vine Crayfish Chenin Blanc vineyard with its decomposed sandstone soils with pockets of limestone which lend great minerality and low pH’s to the finished wines.
After tasting a few tank samples with Sakkie Mouton at the Cape Wine Trade Fair in Cape Town in October 2022, it was inevitable that the excitement would build until he released his second Vermentino vintage. More importantly, after Cape Wine, I made the five hour trek up the West Coast with Sakkie after the trade fair to go and visit not only his famous Revenge of the Crayfish Chenin Blanc vineyard, but also the two long rows of Vermentino that were planted originally as an experimental grape.
The 2022 Sand Erf was harvested in two separate parcels, with the first parcel getting 12 hours on the skins before pressing, and the second parcel getting whole brunch pressed. After pressing, both parcels were blended together. After a one month fermentation, the wine was racked into one 300 litre barrel for ageing for four months with regular stirring of the lees.
The wine was bottled as Wine of Origin Koekenaap, unfiltered and unfined, with just the smallest addition of sulphur. While the one parcel only saw 12 hours of skin contact, Sakkie feels this factor has had a significantly positive influence on the finished wine, helping it to portray a slightly fuller, fleshier, more textural expression in the glass.
Sakkie Mouton Family Wines Sand Erf Vermentino 2022, WO Koekenaap, 11.93% Abv.
1.4g/l RS | 6.9g/l TA | 3.4pH
This white wine is classic Wes Kus misfit Sakkie Mouton at his best. The nose is packed full of youthful cream soda and rock candy aromatics before notes of peach kernals, crunchy green pear, white blossom and lime peel emerge to spar with the ever-present layers of maritime salinity, dried kelp, nori seaweed and rock salt complexity. The extra time on the skins lends the palate just that little extra fleshy, glycerol weight and roundness in the mouth to balance the intense briney rock salt salinity. The palate remains rapier fresh and precise but just that little bit broader and more architecturally layered, revealing a delicious green apple freshness and white peach and dried herb nuances on the long, generous finish. This is a wine that speaks of a specific maritime terroir and its harsh corresponding wind-swept coastal environment. In Koekenaap, the people are as hardy as the vines, but both are equally generous and expressive when handled correctly. A beautiful follow-up release that grows in confidence like Sakkie’s very own winemaking prowess. Drink this wine on release with wild Wes Kus oysters or fresh line fish or else watch it unfurl extra layers of complexity over the coming 3 to 5+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 96+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)