ATARAXIA MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS
Western Cape, South Africa
Founded in 2004, Ataraxia can be considered a young winery but they have a strong focus and are on the way to doing some good things. They are situated in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, which is an extension of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, as the valley gains altitude and opens up. A brief history of winemaking in the Walker Bay area begins in the 1970s with Hamilton Russell, which is very close to the ocean and picks up the ocean’s influence on their vineyards. In the 1980s a few more wineries were founded, each time going further inland, and this trend continued into the new millennium with wineries like Ataraxia. Now there are three distinct appellations, as you progress further from the ocean you pass through Hemel-en-Aarde Valley into Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, and finally to Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Although distinct, they are close together so it takes very little time to drive from the one end of the valley to the other.
Conditions in Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge are a little different to those closer to the ocean. The influence of the ocean fades and the altitude increases, which results in a longer ripening period. Also, there is the ability to ripen other grapes, and Ataraxia makes a medium bodied red blend called Serenity. The exact composition of the Serenity has never been disclosed, so we are left guessing, but as the name implies, it is a subtle blend that speaks softly about its place of origin, rather than shouting loudly as one might imagine a fuller bodied fruit driven wine with lots of oak treatment might shout.
Ataraxia is very welcoming to visitors with its small but modern tasting room. Artwork adorns the walls and gives the tasting room a relaxing and fun atmosphere. The visitors’ center has the appearance of a small chapel situated in visually stunning vineyards. Ataraxia will likely always be a small winery, focusing on their chosen four wines that suit the terroir, a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and the red blend Ataraxia. Yet another reason to visit the coastal town of Hermanus.
See Ataraxia Mountain Vineyards wines we sell