“Established in 2004, Ataraxia is a boutique winery located in the scenic area of Walker Bay in South Africa. The idea for the winery was conceptualised when a couple purchased 50 hectares of vineyards along with their friends. These vineyards were located at an elevated level at the backdrop of Babylons Toren Mountain Range. Therefore, the soil quality and the climate of these vineyards were perfect for growing the choicest quality of grapes.
Kevin Grant, the pioneer winemaker and the founder (the husband in the couple that we mentioned earlier) believes in a minimalist winemaking approach that doesn’t intervene with nature in any way. His objective is to ensure that the grapes cultivated in his vineyards represent the true heritage and character of South Africa’s premium wine-growing area of Hemel-en-Aarde.
Though many wines are handcrafted here, three stand out because of the individualistic flavours and aromas they exhibit – Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Serenity. The Sauvignon Blanc varietals grown here are extremely pure and pungent, but they don’t compromise on their fruity accents and aromas.
The Chardonnay grapes are fermented in traditional French oak barrels, but using new methodologies and technology. The wines made with this varietal are intense, but subtle as well. The Serenity is made from an exclusive red blend of grapes that are grown only in South Africa.
The four popular wines made by Ataraxia are the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Chardonnay, 2016 Pinot Noir and 2017 Serenity.”
- Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc 2017: More Old World in style than New. Fragrant with good fruit and acidity but gentle and elegant. A pleasing Sauvignon Blanc. (16.5)
- Ataraxia Chardonnay 2017: 100% barrel fermented and matured in small French oak barriques for 10 months with fortnightly batonnage. Oak is pleasingly subtle. Good poise and length. (17) The wine was tasted alongside Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2017 which is more intense and richer with pronounced oak flavors but with a short and rather odd finish. (16.5)
- Ataraxia Pinot Noir 2016: Aged for 11 months in French oak barrels, 22% of which were new. Good Pinot character. Light with pronounced red fruit. (16.5). Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2017 in comparison is a bigger, richer and more extracted food wine. (17)
- Ataraxia Serenity 2017: A blend of Pinot Noir, Cinsault and cool-climate Pinotage fermented separately and aged in French oak for 11 months. Lighter than most Pinotage but with gentle, pleasing fruit flavors and modest acidity. (16.5)
(The wines, which are new to most of the tasters from the Harrogate Medical Wine Society, will be cellared and re-tasted in 12 months to assess evolution)
(Ataraxia Wines in South Africa were informed about this tasting. Julia Frischtak, Head of Marketing at Ataraxia wrote: “Very exciting that you are organizing an Ataraxia tasting.” Kevin Grant’s wife Hanli sent wine technical sheets and a Powerpoint presentation. She wished: “Good luck with your tasting.” Andrew Rutherford of Bancroft Wines – Ataraxia UK agents, was most supportive and provided the wines at trade price.)