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Ataraxia Chardonnay 2007 vs. Oak Valley Chardonnay 2007

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Ageing gracefully.

Ataraxia Chardonnay 2007 – mostly from Hemel-en-Aarde and Elgin vineyards, fermented and matured for 10 months in French oak, a third new, abv 13.5%. Rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2009. Oak Valley Chardonnay 2007 –  from Elgin Vineyards, fermented and matured for nine months in French oak, 40% new, 13% abv . Rated  4½ Stars. Which is maturing better? A shoot-out over lunch yesterday to find out…

The Oak Valley was a brilliant yellow with a green tinge. The nose is shy but the palate shows pristine lime fruit, a hint of oatmeal and scintillating acidity. Pure and unadulterated rather than truly complex but very impressive. Score: 17/20.

The Atraxia a curious dull orange. Much more tertiary on nose and palate. Aromas and flavours of vanilla, caramel and almonds are what you notice first but there’s still a core of fruit there including lemon and peach. My sense was this wine which has provided so much drinking enjoyment since its release is now at its peak or even slightly past it. Score: 15.5/20.

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