What I Drank Last Night
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Ataraxia Chardonnay 2007

Go wide for a better ride.

Go wide for a better ride.

When the recent Big 5 Tasting which saw five local wine producers go head to head with top French doppelgängers took place, there was no Chardonnay module. The question was put to organiser Jörg Pfützner of Fine Wine Events why this was, and he proffered that South Africa didn’t have anything to touch Burgundy.

While I’m sure Pfützner’s correct when it comes to Burgundy’s very best sites like Montrachet (all 8.01ha of it), an impromptu tasting last night of three local wines up against the village Mersault Clos de Mazeray from the sexy Domaine Jacques Prieur suggested that we’re not complete no-hopers when it comes to the variety.

The locals in the mix were Ataraxia 2007, Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2008 and Uva Mira Single Vineyard 2009, while the Clos de Mazeray was from the 2005 vintage. The Hamilton Russell was flash like a Ferrari illegally parked on the Camps Bay beachfront, the Uva Mira was all Hummer muscle car and the Clos de Mazeray was a pimp-your-ride Renault Clio Sport. The Ataraxia was the star of the show, Aston Martin elegance but having originally sold for a second-hand Volkswagen Golf price.

Comments

  1. So we opened the Ataraxia CWG 2007 last night! What a characterful wine. The first impression blew my hair back. Kentucky Bourbon and banana! It took me a while to place the aroma and I had to pull out a bottle of bourbon to confirm my thoughts. I left it open for about an hour before I poured the first round of glasses. In the glass it had a rich honey glow. The second round of aromas revealed the wine’s sunny side. “Pina Colodas on a beach in Hawaii” was the one comment from our American friends. I picked up a lot of fresh, zesty lemon aromas. On the third serving it changed character yet again. This time round, I had hay and an undertone of honey and also a little bit yeastiness somewhere in there. In the mouth it did not change much throughout the tasting. It had a confident presence in the mouth and a lingering finish with a nice lightly sweet, fresh finish. Interestingly, I expected to taste some more acidity but the acidity was kept nicely in check. The wood was very mellow. I’m speculating, but maybe the wood gave the interesting Kentucky Bourbon I picked initially. We had this with a lightly smoked chicken with a honey couscous and almond stuffing. It was a fantastic match. The sweetness and the smokiness of the chicken and the nuttiness of the almonds, echoed some elements in the wine beautifully!

  2. Christian says:

    Hi, Ryan. Finding a meaningful way to converse about wine is always tricky so glad you like the motoring analogy. Look forward to feedback on the CWG bottling of the Ataraxia.

  3. Ryan Moore says:

    I have a CWG 2007 Ataraxia Chardonnay in my cellar begging me to open it sometime this week. I am now more motivated and I hope to add my report soon! I just need to find some appreciative friend and decent food to accompany it. I live in China, so a decent bottle of wine really gets me all excited and I hate it if everything is not perfect when I open it. I like your comparison with cars. It comes sort of natural doesn’t it? I mean I am sure you can recall the many “VW Polo’s’ and “BMW 3′ series”! Nothing wrong with them, but not really memorable. These run of the mill “cars” are necessary because they make us appreciate the Aston Martins all the more.

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