On the 3rd of November, I was invited by the House of Pinotage to attend their monthly Sunday wine gathering with sommelier Asive Manzi. The wine of the day was Ataraxia by Kevin Grant.
Ataraxia is a Greek word for ‘a serene state of mind, free from worry and preoccupation’. This was the perfect selection for a Sunday lunch. Notably, this wine was symbolic for Asive as it was his first House of Pinotage after he had open-heart surgery – about a month ago. As we arrived, we were greeted by a glass of a perfectly chilled MCC.
Asive is an Eastern Cape-born sommelier and is an amazing storyteller. He opened the tasting by sharing his gratitude for life and then went on to facilitate a conversation on wine. He effortlessly told us childhood stories while telling us about the wines. One of my favourite moments was when he said the Chardonnay reminded him of cow dung from his rural village in Umtata. He is extremely articulate in wine production, from history, different winemakers, and how-to experience wine in its entirety.
With House of Pinotage, Asive has created a safe space where even the amateur wine enthusiast can be curious about wine. The attendees were eager to get to know one another and have conversations about any-and-everything.
The one thing that stuck with me is the conversations that I had about wine and getting to know the people there. Notably, the conversation about ‘wine legs’ which was a new concept for me also enticed me to engage more with my wine going forward.
My favourite wines were Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc has fresh cut grass with asparagus notes on the palate fresh acidity and crisp. The Pinot Noir is a 2017 light-bodied red wine with red fruit characters. The other wines we had were the 2017 Serenity red blend and Chardonnay. All these wines retail from between R125 and R325.
I was expecting more people, but to my surprise, it was an intimate space with less than 12 people attending. I must also add that he had an excellent playlist for a Sunday afternoon. My favourite new age RnB artists played softly in the background as he gave us an in-depth tasting of the Ataraxia wines.
The tasting is R200pp and this gets you at least six tastings of premium local wines and also some board snacks. After all the formalities of the tasting ended, we enjoyed some of our favourite wines from the tasting again.
Since the tasting starts at 12pm, I would suggest getting a quick breakfast before attending.
Check out their @HouseofPinotage on Instagram to look out for when the next tasting will be hosted.