Cool climate South African Chardonnay from Ataraxia, Hemel-en-AardeCool climate South African Chardonnay from Ataraxia, Hemel-en-Aarde

Ataraxia, Chardonnay 2020

From Kevin Grant, one of only a handful of Chardonnay specialists in South Africa.

This Chardonnay has been known to top the charts in many South African Chardonnay tastings, and rightly so with its chiselled, focused style. It’s subtle yet intense, with hints of sun-warmed tropical fruits, gentle peach and vanilla. Fresh on entry with crisp acidity, subtle tropical notes and neatly integrated toasty oakiness.

94pts | Tim Atkin


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Located in the Hemel-en-Aarde on petrified sand dunes, Ataraxia was founded in 2004 by husband and wife team Kevin and Hanli Grant. A former Zoologist, Kevin spent years getting to know the intricacies of Hemel-en-Aarde’s terroir as head winemaker of Hamilton Russel. Ataraxia is a deeply personal project for Kevin. Along with some dear friends, he purchased 50 hectares of prime vineyard land in an exceptional landscape, known as ‘The Skyfields’. Nestled on this commanding rise beneath the soaring Babylons Toren mountain range, the vineyards are planted on some of the most spectacular terroir South Africa has to offer. It is a place where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay make their natural home, and where wines of incredible finesse, balance and depth are crafted, proudly holding their own in the international arena.

The name Ataraxia is “a term used to describe emotional tranquillity” explains Kevin. His approach to winemaking is minimalist and non-interventionist, geared to reflect a sense of place and expression of terroir. The Sauvignon Blanc favours minerality ahead of pure, pungent fruit, but still shows hints of passionfruit and citrus as well as green melon aromas. The Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented and is Old World in style. It has been known to top the charts in many a South African Chardonnay tasting, and rightly so. A chiselled, focused wine that effortlessly manages to be both subtle and intense, it whispers hints of sun-warmed tropical fruits, gentle peach and vanilla.

The Pinot Noir is all class, and priorities savoury characters over fruitiness, but coming through on the finish with lovely sweet red cherry and plum skins. Serenity rounds off this fantastic four, and what a treat it is! Kevin has made this wine to represent ‘the Pinotage family tree’, and his intention is to dispell the unfair taboo around South Africa’s own red grape variety, and to prove that Pinotage can be responsible for great wines. A blend of around 50% Pinotage, 25% Pinot Noir and 25% Cinsault, this is a complex, smoky, grown-up wine, bound to make the cynics think twice before judging Pinotage unworthy again.

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Pair with grilled lobster tails and herb butter.

1 review for Ataraxia, Chardonnay 2020

  1. Tim Atkin | 94pts

    “Fermented in 22% new wood without malolactic, this is consistently one of the Cape’s best Chardonnays, a wine that can rival a very good Côte de Beaune white Burgundy. Leesy, waxy and stylishly wooded with racy acidity and the concentration to age further in bottle. 2021-26”

    Tim Atkin 2021 SA Report

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