Donald Ackerman is an advocate who couldn’t resist trying his hand at making some wine on a garagiste scale. Opting to work with Elim Sauvignon Blanc, he describes his 2013 as a “miserable failure” but undaunted, tried again in 2014 with the help of local winery Strandveld.
The wine was matured in a single new oak barrel for 11 months and this shows. Ackerman, however, relates that he was unable to source well-kept, seasoned oak and therefore decided to build up his own inventory. The wine also wasn’t meant to spend quite so long in barrel but the logistical challenges of small-scale winemaking, meant that bottling was pushed out.
While the oak may be a little too obtrusive on nose and palate, Ackerman evidently got to work with some pretty nice grapes. There’s grapefruit, white peach, yellow apple and dried herbs on the nose while if you look past the vanilla on the palate, there’s a good core of fruit.
Ackerman relates that it’s “very, very expensive” and that “there’s definitely no fincancial incentive” to make wine on such a small scale, input costs including renting cellar space and winemaking equipment and materials, lab analysis, packaging, cellaring and distribution. The retail price is therefore R250 a bottle.