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.
Whole cluster (also known as whole bunch) fermentation is used in Pinot Noir winemaking in varying degrees around the world. Before the invention of crusher destemmers, it was the original method of making wine – whole, intact bunches were tipped into vessels, stems and all, where fermentation occurs. This has a profound effect on the aroma, texture and tannin “feel” of the wine, the greater the percentage of whole bunch, the greater the effect on the wine. Increased uptake of phenolic compounds from the stems lends a subtlety to the wine, often highlighted by a brighter, vibrant fruit expression.
‘This wine possesses a heady yet curiously nervous aroma profile of bright red fruits, with a spicy, cinnamon, earthy undertone. The palate is focussed and delightfully poised, yet these elements of delicacy are couched in a structure of surprising depth, magnitude, and length.' Kevin Grant