Serenity Now!

Ataraxia 2016 Serenity – Hemel en Aarde, South Africa

This has got everything that I like in wine. It’s got spice. It’s got Pinotscity. It’s got earthiness, development (despite its age) and balls. Within its delightful structure lies freshness, elegance and ripe juicy fruit.

Having the parentage and the progeny (Pinotage being the lovechild of Pinot Noir and Cinsault) in the same blend is really kinda exciting and, in this case, really well executed. You get all the goodness of Pinotage ripe-red-fruitiness with the heightened sense of newly formed mountainous earth coming from the Pinot Noir. Then, to give it a bit of slap and groove, it’s got Cinsault as the thick-thumbed baseline that bridges the bones of the beat with the melody.

The strut and rhythm of this wine draws parallel to soul and funk roots, but with more contemporary young delicious style. I think of Stevie Wonder as the melodic, classic and autumnal Pinot Noir. Bootsy Collins is the, often best in a supporting role, Cinsault and the Pinotage is the their offspring represented in my mind as Jamiroquai. There’s no more fitting comparison to the feel-good grooves provided by Jay Kay and his band of professional funkmasters to a good example of Pinotage. Electrifying and sexy, this fitting and worthy homage to the most South African of grapes has got its own style and savoie-faire that warrants foot stompin’, hip swingin’, head noddin’ praise.

A little note on Pinotage.
Pinotage is the most notable grape to be born out of South Africa and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. It’s very much it’s own thing. And while it’s not my favourite based on its tendency to be jammy, flaccid, overly alcoholic, rubbery and generally uninteresting, there are some great examples. Möreson makes some pretty good ones (MKM and The Widow Maker), but they’ve got the oldest vines on the planet to work with. So while most of them can come across like a cheap soulless knockoff of Soul as a practice – see Maroon 5 – the best examples have quite a bit to offer – see Jamiroquai. As an element in this blend, I think it’s beautiful.

Serenity is deeply rooted with classic elements, while, at the same time, is blooming with the perkiness of a hopeful child excited by the future. Youth isn’t wasted on the tender age of this bottle. I love it as a wine and an idea. It’s a triumph of a gamble by the winemaker. Well done Kevin Grant. It’s a meditation of innovation. My fingers are crossed for future vintages!


Drink well and Better,

J Corey Evans

Your Friendly Neighbourhood Sommelier