One of the most well-known wine-producing companies in South Africa, Ataraxia is at the heart of all that is good about South African wines, and its Chardonnay is rightly celebrated as an exceedingly pleasant and attractive wine. Based in Hemel-en-Aarde, Ataraxia can be found at the base of a mountain-range, and develops its wines using grapes grown from the local area. Ataraxia tries to locate its grapes from vineyards with unique or individual tastes, locations and viticulture, looking to create a wine which has a very definite sense of its origins. The company make a number of wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and the familiar Chardonnay. The grapes chosen to make the Ataraxia Chardonnay are grown near to Table Mountain, and reflect the rich red clay, shale and sandstone of the area. The grapes themselves are grown in a south-elevation vineyard, and then examined by hand to decide which will be used to make the Chardonnay.
Ataraxia Chardonnay has won a number of awards, including the Southern Hemisphere’s Tri Nation Wine Competition in 2008. This contest features wines from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, and there were 32 wines in the 2008 Chardonnay category. This clearly demonstrates why Ataraxia is considered to be one of the best wines produced in South Africa. Triumphing over a range of other Chardonnay wines from across the tri-nations region, the wine judges considered the 2007 Ataraxia Chardonnay the best over-all, and awarded it the prize. There were many well-known Chardonnay makes competing for this award, and so for a relatively small producer to win such an achievement demonstrates why this is one of the best Chardonnay wines in South Africa.
Not only has the Ataraxia Chardonnay won several awards, but it has also been highly praised by wine connoisseur guides, including the Platter’s Wine Guide. It awarded the same vintage, the 2007 Ataraxia Chardonnay, 5 stars, considering it to be already a delicious and intriguing wine, with the potential for even more taste and complexity to develop in the next 5 to 10 years. Although this vintage sold out almost as fast as it could be produced, there are several more years available.
The Ataraxia Chardonnay is matured in small oak barrels produced in France, giving it a deep and traditional flavour which remains light on the tongue. To this very subtle background is added a number of very rich fruit flavours, centred around a grapefruit flavour which helps the taste and texture to explode in the mouth. There are also other fruits included, such as peach and pear, as well as smoked hazel nuts. These flavours help to offset the strong mineral and acid tastes originating in tannin from the grapes themselves. The taste of the Ataraxia Chardonnay also includes the traditional flavours of the Chardonnay vine, adding a smooth, creamy taste which lasts all the way to the aftertaste.