Ataraxia • Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge • Kevin Grant
Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Painstaking fruit selection and skilled winemaking using reductive cellar techniques has resulted in our Sauvignon Blanc seamlessly incorporating the very best that the Old and New World styles have to offer. This wine favours individuality and minerality ahead of pure, pungent fruit, but still shows alluring tropical fruit, citrus and lemon grass aromas. These are effortlessly reflected on the palate and are complemented by a lively acidity which underpins a classy structure and succulent texture. A wine of substantial poise, length and charm.
Each vintage we are dealt a different climatic hand, one of the reasons why every new season is so eagerly anticipated on Ataraxia. The twist in the Harvest 2015 tail was an unusually early start to the vintage, a full 11 days earlier than the previous year. Initial intuition was that this was because of the “warm” and dry conditions experienced in the months before the pick. However, juice analysis at the settling tank, showed natural acid levels congruent with much cooler ripening temperatures. This led to the conclusion that the earlier harvest was due to the dry conditions not to hot temperatures, something borne out by the exceptionally healthy fruit arriving at the cellar door. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes delivered hugely on fruit flavours despite the shorter hang time. They have produced a wine that expresses itself through a compelling and intriguing palette of aromas and flavours. Hand picked and rushed to the cellar in batches up to 8th March, all our fruit was safely in by midmorning on each picking day, guaranteeing that the exciting fruit flavours of the grape were preserved and are reflected in this wine.
Ataraxia Chardonnay 2014
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
As has become the norm in crafting Ataraxia Chardonnay, a minimalist, non-interventionist winemaking approach, geared to reflect sense of place and expression of terroir, was adopted. This wine is 100% barrel fermented and carefully matured in specially selected small French oak barriques sourced exclusively from Burgundian coopers. Fortnightly batonnage was employed throughout the 9 month maturation period. The result is a Chardonnay that is New World in provenance but Old World in stylistic leaning. A chiselled, focussed wine that effortlessly manages to be both subtle and intense. The palate is penetrating and profound yet graceful and poised. A forceful mineral acidity is beautifully balanced by a subtle yet compelling intensity of fruit. Classic length, creaminess and intriguing complexity define this stylish, world-class Chardonnay.
This hand crafted wine is the product of some truly unique, extreme and radical vineyard sites situated exclusively in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge wine ward, close to the fishing village of Hermanus. Soils from these sites are derived from the Bokkeveld shale group, which are characteristically low-vigour, clay-rich and stony. Because of the cool maritime climate that exists here, the grapes have a long hang time which affords them the opportunity to fully complete their ripening journey. Picked early in the mornings during the third and fourth weeks of March 2014, the grapes were hastily transported to the cellar where uncomplicated yet sensitive winemaking ensured that the wine reflects this exciting terroir in an accurate, authentic and effortless way.
Ataraxia Serenity 2011
Blend: Shiraz Based
Despite an unusually challenging vintage, the Serenity 2011 has embraced these challenges with grace and aplomb. A finely scented, vibrant nose with dark berry fruit and intriguing mineral and spicy notes characterise this wine. Mouth-watering and deeply ripe and polished grape tannins are wrapped in an elegant structure that subtly occupies all corners of ones palate. Assertive, classic and lingering, it reflects the grasp of style and deft hand of its maker.
The fruit used to make this wine was sourced from radical and individual vineyards sites with one goal in mind – to have the confidence to “whisper” style through the true expression of these sites rather than “shout” brashness through winemaking excesses. This Shiraz-based wine is a seamless blend of three classic Rhone varietals and because the emphasis is more on style than cultivar make-up, the remaining two are unnamed. Cultivars are after all merely vehicles to express terroir and not the expression of a wine itself. Consequently this wine continues to define the style introduced by the maiden 2005 vintage which has been embraced by wine aficionados all over the world. The grapes were handpicked, sorted and crushed into open fermenters. Here they underwent cold maceration on their skins for seven days before completing fermentation and being pressed off to barrel where malolactic fermentation took place. Careful maturation in tightgrain French oak barriques, 26% of which were new, for a period of 18 months followed before the wine was bottled in December 2012. A further resting period of 36 months in bottle followed before deemed ready for release in December 2015.
Ataraxia Pinot Noir 2014
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
The wine has an intriguing luminous hue that reflects rather than absorbs light. The svelte nose offers up a fine blend of red cherries, pomegranate, delicate forest floor and a hint of spice and new oak. On the palate the wine is sensual and embracing, with a captivating mid-palate depth, lovely transparency and excellent focus on a suavely tannic finish.
Despite a challenging season characterised by high and untimely rainfall, winemakers who were on top of their game, coaxed and nurtured fine quality wines from their grapes. The harvest commenced two weeks later than normal, due to late, cold winter conditions and a cooler spring. High rainfall mid-November and in January meant being extra vigilant in applying stricter disease control measures to limit losses from mildew. The grapes were picked by hand into small crates, and then sorted, destemmed and gently crushed at the cellar. A 10 day pre-fermentation cold soak period in open fermenters was followed by a temperature-controlled ferment, peaking at 28°C for a total cuvaison of 22 days. Gentle punching down the cap was done twice a day during alcoholic fermentation. The wine was then pressed and racked to carefully selected French oak barrels, 21% of which were new and where 100% malolactic fermentation occurred. The wine was aged in barrels for 11 months before being bottled.
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