South African Adventure – The Story of Creation

No, not that Creation, but rather the winery in Hermanus known as Creation. This place must be doing something right as it was extremely busy with people waiting under the umbrellas outside in the wind to get in to have their food and wine pairings. Known for their art of food and wine pairing and the use of Reidel glassware, Creation has made a name for itself on the South Africa wine scene.

Located in the Hemel en Arrde ridge, in the Walker Bay appellation, this little slice of paradise called Creation, was founded by JC and Carolyn Martin. Aptly named, Hemel en Arrde is Afrikaans for ‘Heaven on Earth’. JC Martin hails from Switzerland where it was always his dream to become a winemaker. Carolyn grew up in the wine industry in South Africa where her father, Walter Finlayson, put both Blaauwklippen, then Glen Carlou on the wine map. Their dream became a reality with much hard work and dedication, turning a piece of property with no running water or cell service initially, to a world class facility where visitors come in droves. The scenery is gorgeous, the staff friendly and well-trained, and the wines are meticulously made by JC to reflect the terroir of this world class winery, only 15 minutes from the seaside resort of Hermanus.

You can pick any food pairing from the menu, one, two, four or however many you want really! Or, like myself you can choose the Story of Creation. This was an eight wine pairing, with seven different food dishes, all carefully and thoughtfully prepared. The menu put it like this: and now for an exciting and truly unique 7-course adventure artfully paired with award-winning Creation wines, each of these small plate dishes serves to highlight the food-friendly, versatile nature of a specific cultivar or blend – bringing pleasure to the palate and joy to the table. Professionally presented by our knowledgeable hosts, each course or chapter also reveals the passion of the Creation team.

Creation Sauvignon2017/Creation Sauvignon/2016 Semillon – to start the taste buds flowing, this dish of leeks, granola, passion fruit (what looks like the egg in the nest) paired with both the Sauvignon, which had guava, pineapple, and only a hint of that green grassy note. Guava with guava…it was a pairing that certainly worked; and the Sauvignon/Sem brought flavours of tropical fruit along with that rich lanolin mouth feel of the Sauvignon Blanc. I loved this dish!

Creation Viognier 2017– paired with the pickled fish hake with curry and apricot, the spice of the fish didn’t seem nearly so spicy after a sip of the fresh apricot, floral, mouth filling Viognier. An excellent pairing.

Creation Chardonnay 2017– two salmon ravioli with roasted pumpkin, toasted with cinnamon and chai tea on the plate with a creamy, rich sauce that went with the creamy, peach/pear and round butter oak and toast of the Chardonnay. This wine was well balanced and served to offset the flavours on the plate superbly!

Creation Reserve Pinot Noir 2016 – Perhaps my favourite wine of the pairing, although not my favourite dish aside from the eye pleasing colour. Goats milk cheese, beetroot, raspberry coulis, pomegranate, radish, pistachio and Pinot noir salt served to enhance the look and flavour of the smoked duck breast. A little sweet, and a little savoury. Too bad I didn’t like the duck more!

Creation Reserve Merlot 2015 – a cream based cauliflower soup with walnut, Gorgonzola, onion and blueberries! This high antioxidant fruit not only brought flavour, but texture and a curiosity factor also! I was to sip the wine, have a sip of the soup, then taste the wine again. A true pairing exercise that left the wine with smoothed out tannins and alcohol after the soup. The Merlot was laced with berries, nuts, cedar, cigar box and cloves. My favourite flavour combination of the day!

Creation Syrah/Grenache 2016 – it stands to reason this full bodied wine would be paired with the braised lamb shank, with curry powder, rosemary, sun dried tomatoes, pomegranate and baby marrow; full of umami flavours with not only the meat but the vegetables and pickled flavours on the plate also. The wine brought juicy red fruits along with signature white pepper, black olive and plum. A great South African version of a Rhone classic!

Creation Reserve Chardonnay 2016 – a richer, heavier more dense Chardonnay with the use of new oak and flavours of honey and baked apple, lent itself well to the Boerenkaas cheese and fynbos honey. Fynbos grows all over wild here in South Africa and it’s a protected plant. You’re not allowed to dig it up to plant vineyards, for example. Sheep like to munch on it and you can taste it in their meat! It reminds me of a wild tumbleweed and all those sagey, wild grass smells of the Canadian Prairies! I’ll take various cheeses with various jams and honeys for dessert any day!

After Seven Chapters I learned much about this wine and why this winery is so busy! All of the pottery dishes were beautifully used throughout the pairing exercise. Food served on a beautiful plate only enhances the flavours and aromas of a dish.

Should you find yourself in the beautiful seaside town of Hermanus, take a trip to Creation wines and indulge yourself in the Story of Creation! A pleasurable experience and one that you will soon not forget. For R395.00, it’s great value! For my Canadian friends, all this food and wine for about $45! Of course, when with good people, food and wine always tastes better! Gesondheid!

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