“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time.”
Surely, a more befitting stanza for Sakkie Mouton doesn’t exist. Sakkie grew up on a wine farm about two miles from the small West Coast town of Vredendal. After a degree in viticulture and oenology from Elsenburg, he went on a five-year hemisphere hopping journey to work in cellars around the world. He jetted off to Sonoma to intern at Dry Creek, to Auckland to work at Babich, and to Oregon to get a feel for co-ops at the Carlton Winemakers Studio. After spending years furthering the stories of these famed wine regions, he was drawn back to the Cape with the burning conviction to tell the story of his home, the obscure, rural West Coast.
For Sakkie, that identity is all about what makes the West Coast “lekker.” Sakkie’s wines grow on decomposed sandstone vineyards a five-hour drive up the coast from Cape Town. This is a largely unknown land on the South African wine map; it’s a rugged, maritime terroir with stalwart vines and fierce, cool coastal winds that moderate the warm temperature. “In Koekenaap,” writes Greg Sherwood, MW, “the people are as hardy as the vines, but both are equally generous and expressive when handled correctly.”
Sakkie’s wines seem to ride along a cool Atlantic wave; low pHs are set against a broad, saline frame. The winemaking is straightforward – native yeast, a mix of stainless steel and old oak, no fining or filtering. The only addition is sulfur, which is a tool he wields intelligently. Sakkie’s “why” is telling the story of his home through wine, and it’s one that he is accomplishing with a mastery rarely seen so young. He’s without a doubt one of the Cape’s brightest rising stars.