Wine tasting with Creation Wines (South Africa)
When it comes to wine regions in South Africa I’m sure everyone can name a few. I myself have been to Stellenbosch, Groot Constantia and Franschhoek during my travels and tasted some amazing wines in some extraordinary settings. Sitting on a terrace overlooking the vineyards, bathed in sunshine and with a glass of something delicious in my hand how could life get any better? And so it was that when an opportunity came to go to a wine tasting event hosted by Creation Wines (Walker Bay region) in London there was no question as to my answer – yes!
A Little About Creation Wines
We were hosted by none other than Carolyn Martin, one half of the owners of Creation Wines, at the Disappearing Dining Club in Brick Lane. Carolyn and husband Jean-Claude established Creation Wines in the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde in the Walker Bay region in 2002. Our luncheon started off with a few facts about the vineyard and the region. One that I found the most fascinating is that the night time temperature is always exactly 12 deg lower than the daytime temp. This allows the vines to provide full-bodied and complex grapes, soothed by the winds from the Atlantic and giving a good length and depth of flavour.
Creation Wines Sauvignon Blanc
Our session began with a sauvignon blanc served alongside a ceviche of seabass with kohlrabi, capers and citrus. This is my favourite white wine so I was excited to get stuck in. With an aroma of herbs and lemon this wine was clean, fresh and perfectly complimented the ceviche. A pale straw colour typical of a sauvignon blanc, it has a lasting finish and was not overpowered by the seafood. The citrus flavours in the wine and the fish was a great marriage of flavours and a delicious start to our lunch.
Creation Wines Syrah/Grenache
Syrah is a dark skinned grape with tastes of red fruit, dark berries and a slight peppery and or aniseed flavour. The interpretation can differ quite a lot depending on which continent it is grown on and the climate. In the middle-range climates it is more medium to full-bodied and in the hotter climates it is definitely full-bodied. The Grenache fruit provides a softer flavour with berries and spice (oh, and a higher alcohol content!). These varietals are combined by Creation to come up with a very satisfying wine that is almost a meal in a glass. This required a dish with somewhat stronger flavours to compliment the robustness of this wine. Bring forth the snail and garlic risotto with lamb rump. I loved this dish although I was a bit disappointed that the snails were not whole, I do love a bit of snail. The wine definitely stood its ground with the punchy flavours of the dish and had a slightly sweet aftertaste which was very pleasing.
Creation Wines Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir can be a tricky grape to grow. This is because of the tight clusters it forms on the vine allowing for all sorts of catastrophes like rot to set in. With that in mind they need to be carefully cultivated and something I was surprised to learn about Creation is that they keep a VERY close eye on their fruit. Not that surprising you may think for a wine maker but what is different is that Carolyn, Jean-Claude and their crew are inspecting every single cluster every few days individually pruning by hand. This attention to detail provided us with an excellent wine flavoured with red berry fruits and a slightly sweet edge of vanilla. Medium-bodied, the berry flavours sat well with our dessert – a blackberry and apple crumble. I would happily drink this wine on it’s own too.
Creation Wines Viognier
Carolyn likes to mix it up I see and keep us on our toes. Although it wasn’t on the tasting menu she treated us to a new wine for me. A quick bit of Googling to see what I was about to try and voile! Step up to the plate the Creation Wines Viognier. With a delightful, clear gold colour this was very easy on the palate, slight peach aroma with a creamy finish on the tongue. A note when buying a viognier – this wine should ideally be drunk when it’s young. The first 3 years are considered the best and after that it loses a bit of its floral bouquet and can be a bit dull.
Creation Wines Chardonnay
I have to say here that chardonnay is not my favourite wine, it’s too dry for me so I will bow down to my fellow drinkers to tell me what they thought. With a slight hint of green colouring to the wine there are the aromas of peach and pears in the bouquet with vanilla and subtle spices in flavour, full-bodied with an aftertaste that lasts. This was accompanied by a cheeseboard of Somerset Brie and homemade plum chutney. I will be honest now and say I dived into the cheeseboard first. I can’t help it, I love cheese. I did try the wine and whilst I wouldn’t choose to drink a chardonnay by itself when consumed in conjunction with the cheese and chutney I can see why my fellow tasters loved it. It did go well together.
A big thank you to Carolyn Martin and Creation Wines for hosting an excellent event. I have broadened my repertoire of wines and tasted some delicious foods too. I will definitely be on the lookout for more Creation Wines to add to my cellar as at the time of writing this I have drunk the contents of our fabulous goody bag already! Next time I go to South Africa I will be making a beeline for the Walker Bay region and stopping in for one of their tasting sessions. If YOU are ever in SA make sure to visit them too, with over 60.000 visitors a year at their on-site tastings I’m not the only one who is now a fan of this vineyard. Salut!