Ataraxia, Chardonnay 2022
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.
Alcohol = 13.62 vol% Res Sugar = 3.4 g/l Total Acidity = 7.7 g/l pH = 3.22 Barrel Ageing = 10 months in 225L French oak barrels Wood Age = New 20% Cases produced: 1658 x 12 Bottled: December 2022 Release Date: December 2022
This vin de terroir is Ataraxia’s forward-looking BLACK Chardonnay. In our quest to express the soul of our terroir accurately and authentically (over trying to conjure an expression of the grape itself through winemaking alchemy), we first used this old, almost forgotten, traditional Burgundian method for the 2020 vintage, and have continued to do so ever since. Rather than pressing gently, the fruit was vigorously worked. It almost felt like an act of violence! Then, instead of denying the must (juice) oxygen, it was generously aerated. Black magic happened when juice as dark as ebony as it flowed from the press, was transformed into a shimmering, green- tinted yellow hue by the end of fermentation. The science behind this method is that the more oxygen the must absorbs, the less oxygen is consumed by the wine, which then has much more resistance against oxidative degradation (yellowing) during aging.
Spontaneous and complete barrel fermentation and subsequent ageing in specially selected French oak barrels sourced exclusively from Burgundian coopers, comprised part of a gentle, minimalist, non-interventionist winemaking approach employed after the “bludgeoning” that occurred at the press. In this way we have crafted an astonishing and arrestingly authentic wine interpretation of a terroir ideally suited to Chardonnay.
This soil-driven Chardonnay is New World in provenance but Old World in stylistic leaning. Athletic in structure, it effortlessly manages to be both subtle and intense. It is vibrant and spicy, with alluring creamy notes. An assertive mineral acidity beautifully balances a compelling intensity of fruit. There is a surprising touch of “grip” to the finish deftly rounded off with complex savoury, briny, and flinty notes. A stylish, world-class Chardonnay.
Pair with grilled lobster tails and herb butter.