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Goedhuis, December 2021
A standout South African Chardonnay, produced from vines planted nearly 400 metres above sea-level in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The cooler climate and ancient glacial soils gives a wine with a Burgundian feel. For the 2020, winemaker Kevin employed a special winemaking technique he calls the Black Chardonnay method. This almost forgotten traditional Burgundian method involves generously aerating the juice before fermentation, which turns it dark as ebony. However, during fermentation the juice transforms to a glimmering, green-tinted yellow, the science being that the more oxygen the juice absorbs, the less oxygen is consumed by the wine, which then has much more resistance against premature oxidation (yellowing) during ageing. This is an elegant and incredibly engaging wine with pristine citrus fruit, crushed chalk and oyster shell alongside smoke and toast. The flavours are so finely chiselled on the palate by the framework of mineral acidity.
Located in the Hemel-en-Aaarde region (heaven on earth), this boutique winery was established in 2004 by Kevin and Hanli Grant. Together they craft high-quality, artisanal wines from a beautiful stretch of vines sandwiched between the Babylon’s Tower mountain range and the South Atlantic Ocean. The name Ataraxia is Greek for ‘tranquillity’ and, for winemaker Kevin, this is the feeling drinking a great wine should inspire. The cooler climate and ancient glacial soils give New World wines with a stylistic nod to the Old World.
The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is a ward within the Walker Bay district of South Africa. Meaning 'Heaven on Earth', this beautiful valley has the Cape's highest proprtion of Pinot Noir. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also flourish here thanks to the cooling influence of the Atalantic to the South and the Babylon mountains to the North. Ancient glacial soils make this region a geological wonder capable of producing hugely complex wines.