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This is a complex, smoky, grownup wine, bound to make the cynics think twice. Serenity seduces on an alluring fragrance of black fruit and spice with a hint of vanilla. Resulting in a ‘Pinot Noir on steroids” – more muscle and curves than the finesse of a true Pinot. A truly South African wine.
Established in 2004, Ataraxia is a boutique winery located in the scenic area of Walker Bay in South Africa. The idea for the winery was conceptualised when a couple purchased 50 hectares of vineyards along with their friends.
Greek for “a serene state of mind, free from worry and preoccupation”, Ataraxia lives up to the hype. Aptly called The Skyfields, Ataraxia Wines is perfectly positioned on a commanding rise in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde wine-growing area.
Hemel-en-Aarde is Afrikaans for “heaven and earth” and the claim is justified. Ataraxia’s estate sits on a particularly heavenly stretch of land beneath a lofty peak of the Babylon’s Tower mountain range. In addition to its unrelenting beauty, it is home to some of the most spectacular terroirs South Africa has to offer.
Walker Bay, located on the southern coast of the Western Cape, is one of the most picturesque wine growing regions anywhere in the world. The region is most famous for its premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, along with a very old-world style of Sauvignon Blanc competing with the best of the Loire Valley.
The proximity to the ocean means that the vineyards are subject to heavy maritime influence – the long and sunny summers are cooled by fresh ocean breezes. It is a prolonged growing season, allowing for full ripeness as well as freshness of acidity – the hallmarks of great wine.
The region’s most notable vineyards are located in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, running east-west from the coast. Soils in the region are largely local shale and sandstone, with clay subsoils allowing for crucial water retention.
The main town in the region, Hermanus, is famous for its whale watching and has helped turn Walker Bay into a major tourism area, to the benefit of its many wineries.