The Hemel-en-Aarde area is renowned for producing some of the finest examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in South Africa, and is considered to be an important New World area for burgundies.

This affinity for the delicate Pinot Noir grape has prompted co-owner and cellarmaster JC Martin to produce three stylistically unique Pinot Noirs from the estate: the Estate and Reserve Pinot Noir ranges which have recently been awarded Top 100 status in South Africa, as well as the soon to be launched Art of Pinot Noir – just four barrels selected and hand-crafted by JC and made to age. Being celebrated as a Pinot Noir producing area, one of the most frequently commented upon features of the Creation range of premium estate wines is the wide array of other cultivars produced on our 40 hectare farm. This is possible thanks to a unique combination of factors which include elevation, proximity to the ocean, soil content and structure, and slope aspect.

IMG_0816 copy

Wine as expression of place is necessarily a core value when you set out to create wines of distinction, as Creation has done on the lofty Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge in Walker Bay, South Africa. Terroir is an oft-used term that is used to explain everything from the difference between old and new world wines to the difference between wines produced from grapes grown in much closer proximity. Indeed, terroir encompasses a wide variety of external influences on the growth pattern of the vine, from regional weather patterns (macro-climate), to the individual characteristics of vineyards on the same estate (meso-climate) – even right down to the climatic differences around individual bunches of grapes (micro-climate).

cr vineyards

As viticulturist and winemaker, Creation co-owner JC Martin selected specific clones of each cultivar for their suitability to each unique vineyard site when planting the virgin land in 2002. The 10 cultivars he chose are:

Sauvignon Blanc

Viognier

Semillon

Chardonnay

Pinot Noir

Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon

Petit Verdot

Syrah

Grenache

Another key factor in the success of these plantings is the use of quality virus free cuttings grafted onto ideal rootstock. Virus free vineyards produce healthier fruit, and the result of these carefully maintained vineyards is a range of wines that express not only their provenance, but are also true to their cultivar-specific characteristics. An appropriate example of this feature can be seen while enjoying the world-class facilities and wine pairing experiences in the tasting room at Creation – across the lawn and through the indigenous fynbos garden, just across the dam, two cultivars not traditionally associated with each other can be seen growing alongside each other in perfect harmony: Pinot Noir and Merlot.

Click here to order these wines now, or visit www.creationwines.com to explore the farm.

The Other Bordeaux-style Blend

By creation, August 20th, 2014, | No Comments »

With over 120 000 hectares under vine across the Gironde department, the area centred around the city of Bordeaux is the largest producer of wine in France.

The finest wines from this region are world famous for their elegance and ability to age gracefully for decades – and also their price. While the typical red Bordeaux-style blend is recognised by consumers and emulated by producers in most places where wine is grown around the world, Bordeaux is also home to a lesser known yet equally notable white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

The most famous examples of white Bordeaux blends are the sweet wines of Sauternes, which are dominated by Semillon, with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle used to a lesser extent. The dry white wines of Bordeaux are also allowed to contain Sauvignon gris, Ugni blanc, Colombard, Merlot blanc, Ondenc and Mauzac; however these cultivars represent a minute proportion of the total planting, and modern white Bordeaux tends to exclude most of them.

The style is fresh and very dry, with each of the components fulfilling a function within the blend: the Sauvignon Blanc has naturally high acidity and has a flavour profile of tropical fruit, citrus, minerality and grass. The Sauvignon Blanc provides the wine with its exuberant, fresh character, while the Semillon is essential to the structure and mouthfeel of the wine: Semillon has lower acidity, higher sugar and a unique lanolin character which provides excellent weight on the palate. Most examples of dry white Bordeaux are un-oaked, however the Semillon in premium examples responds well to oak, and can extend the bottle maturation potential considerably, supporting the wine once the initial freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc starts to fade, and developing attractive secondary and tertiary flavours for up to a decade after vintage.

2 Creation Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2014

At 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, The Creation white Bordeaux-style blend evokes memories of the Atlantic sea breeze, with a saline finish and subtle oak on the Semillon component rounding out the tropical fruit and freshness of the Sauvignon Blanc to provide depth and complexity. The savoury nature of the wine makes it ideal for pairing to food, especially where the meal mirrors the maritime personality of this terroir-expressive wine. Enjoy it with oysters, shellfish or any seafood, freshly caught and prepared.

For more info on ordering this wine visit here. 

Top 3 Natural Attractions Near Creation

By creation, August 13th, 2014, | No Comments »

Creation Wines is situated on the R320 wine route, just outside the scenic coastal resort town of Hermanus in Walker Bay, South Africa in a wine growing area known as the Hemel-en-Aarde. Many visitors to the area are drawn to the exceptionally high quality, cool climate wines produced by the handful of boutique producers that have established themselves in a wine region most well known for producing Pinot Noir.

Many travellers also visit Hermanus because of its famed reputation as the premier land-based whale watching site in the world, with the annual migration of the Southern Right whale into the warm waters of Walker Bay for the calving season. Hermanus, however, has many other wonderful natural features which guests can enjoy when visiting the region:

Fernkloof Nature Reserve

Declared a reserve by the Provincial Council in 1957, Fernkloof Nature Reserve comprises nearly 2000 hectares of pristine land bordering the town of Hermanus, along the Kleinrivier Mountain Range and even includes a major portion of the coastal cliff paths that abut the Indian Ocean. It forms an integral part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the six recognised Floral Kingdoms internationally – there is no other place on earth where such a wide variety of plats can be found in such close proximity to each other.

Fernkloof Fynbos

 

A multitude of hiking trails criss-cross the reserve, allowing hikers at any level to find a suitable trail and explore the more than 1600 species that have been identified as growing in the reserve – more than in the entire United Kingdom! With access being free of charge, this is certainly a highlight of any nature lover’s stay in Hermanus.  Aside from the magical fynbos the reserve is also known for its rich birdlife (over 130 species recorded) and the myriad of wildlife that inhabit it.

Grotto Beach

Granted Blue Flag status, Grotto Beach is a massive stretch of soft white sand between the ocean, the towering mountains and the Kleinrivier Lagoon – a dramatic and beautiful setting that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike – perfect for long walks, beach games, swimming and sun-tanning, it has generous parking areas and is serviced by a fantastic little restaurant called Dutchies, the perfect place to end a day at the beach with sundowners.

 

At 18km, the beach is large enough to accommodate everyone even on the busiest summer days, there is a park for children and the waves are perfect for body-boarders, and for those who own pets, the beach is dog friendly, as long as the dogs are on a leash and any and all waste matter is picked up by the owner. Lifeguards are on duty during peak season and there are numerous educational and charity initiatives to join such as Coastcare Working, coastal monitoring by schools and the Adopt-a-beach initiative.

Sea Kayaking

Water based activities are popular throughout the year, not just during the whale watching season, and there is no better way to experience the beauty and magic of the ocean than by getting up close in a sea kayak. Walker Bay Adventures offers tours around the bay with an experienced guide in state of the art kayaks who will help you to discover the ocean in a responsible manner.

IMG_1703

Operating within a marine reserve, the guides are not only experts in safety and ocean first aid, but are also aware of their responsibility to make as little impact (be it noise and environmental pollution or disturbing the delicate balance of the eco-system). The advanced equipment and stable kayaks mean that anyone can hop on, and stay on. On their tours, which usually last 2 hours, you will enjoy sightings of cape fur seals, penguins, cormorants and other sea birds and marine mammals.

To contact Herman from Walker Bay Adventures contact Herman De Vries on +27 (82) 739 0159, email wbadventures@hermanus.co.za or visit http://www.walkerbayadventures.co.za/ for more information.

Over the past six years the pioneering use of canapé pairings to present our food-friendly wines to guests in the Tasting Room has seen the development of a wide selection of pairing choices. The award-winning canapé pairing, however, remains the most popular option.

A quick survey among the Tasting Room team (who taste the pairings regularly) reveals a number of different opinions on their favourite pairing. For some the classic combination of shellfish and Creation Chardonnay in the prawn, avocado Ritz and vanilla citrus aioli canapé wins every time, while others prefer the delicate nuances of the goat’s-milk cheese panna cotta and beetroot with lentil salsa paired with the Creation Pinot Noir. When discussion turns to feedback from our guests, however, one match always seems to win hearts the first time around: the Creation Merlot paired with the cauliflower and gorgonzola soup with herbed sourdough croutons.

6

The magic in this pairing is the combination of a creamy white soup with a robust red wine – the Creation Merlot – which has spicy aromas and a palate rich in mocha and dark chocolate notes as well as a firm tannin structure. The earthy creaminess of the cauliflower and the warmth of the soup help to ground these tannins and round the mouthfeel perfectly, while the salty gorgonzola contrasts with and as a result lifts the bounty of dark berry fruits in the wine.

The effect on the perception of tannins in the wine before and after eating the soup is quite astonishing. The reaction that causes dryness in red wine (phenols (tannin) binding to proteins) is far less noticeable at higher temperatures and while it is not desirable to serve your wine too warm, raising the temperature on your palate with a piping hot soup will have a similar effect. This softening effect combined with the delicious flavours of the wine and the soup makes for a very memorable pairing.

The good news is that by ordering the Merlot online now [click here to order], and following the simple recipe from Chef Warwick Taylor [click here for the recipe], you can try this popular pairing in your own home. To book a wine pairing canapé experience in the Creation Tasting Room [click here],call (028) 212 1107 or email info@creationwines.com.

The Art of Winemaking: Terroir

By creation, August 1st, 2014, | No Comments »

The art of winemaking begins long before the first grapes are ever harvested or the first barrels ever filled. The art of winemaking begins with the land itself, the spirit of which lives in every bottle.

At Creation Wines, situated in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge Ward of Walker Bay, we consider it a privilege to have stumbled upon 40 hectares of virgin soils in 2002. Establishing a vineyard and winery from scratch was a daunting task. However, the blank canvas offered Swiss viticulturist, winemaker and co-owner JC Martin and his South African wife Carolyn, marketing director and co-owner, an exciting opportunity to craft quality wines in an idyllic setting while raising their young family in the nearby seaside town of Hermanus.

Part of the foundation of any successful wine estate is the suitability of its soils to the cultivation of vines, and more specifically the suitability of different cultivars to the climate, soil types, elevation, proximity to the ocean and other environmental factors which collectively give a vineyard site its ‘terroir’. The Hemel-en-Aarde area, comprising the Valley, Upper Valley and Ridge, is renowned for producing high quality Burgundies (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), two cultivars JC loves working with.

IMG_0124 copy

The area has however also been very successfully planted to a number of other cultivars, and the unique conditions on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge led JC to believe that conditions could support a diverse range of vines producing quality grapes, both red and white. This belief was confirmed by valuable local advice from viticultural consultant Johan Pienaar and JC’s father-in-law, Walter Finlayson, who had established many a vineyard in his time.

The elements of terroir are difficult to define, but two of the most crucial aspects when assessing a new vineyard site are the combination of macro-, meso-, and micro-climates and the composition and structure of the soil.

The results of soil studies indicate that Creation is situated on 450-million-year-old clay loam soils with decomposed Bokkeveld shale with diverse soil forms comprising different combinations of Tukulu, Oakleaf, Pinedene, Swartland, Estcourt and Klapmuts – overall of medium to high potential with clay rich sub-soils for adequate water retention and good organic content. The mineral content of the soil is essential for healthy canopy growth and development of healthy fruit, and water retention prevents water stress, which benefits the tannin structure of the wine.

Macro-climate refers to the climate of the region in which the vineyard is situated – in this case the temperate maritime climate of Walker Bay, an area receiving approximately 850 ml of rain annually – enough to support unirrigated farming in most cases. The meso-climate is the unique combination of factors such as elevation and slope aspect that set each vineyard site apart from others in the same macro-climate.

At Creation there is an array of slopes of varying degrees and with a variety of aspects that cover most points on the compass.The slope and aspect of a site is vital in relation to the angle of sunlight reaching the grape, number of sunlight hours received and prevailing winds. The farm is just 8 km from the Atlantic Ocean and its cooling breezes, nestled in the rolling foothills of the Babylonstoren Mountain, where the average temperature during the growing season rarely exceeds 30 degrees Celsius and the elevation of 290 m above sea level contributes to a cool night index of 12 degrees Celsius less than the midday temperature – a key influence on acid retention during ripening.

The micro-climate in turn refers to the climatic conditions surrounding individual bunches of grapes. This is most influenced by vine modification such as pruning and vine architecture and canopy management practices altering airflow and sunlight penetration.

The ethos of our winemaking team is to interfere as little as possible in the transition from grape to wine – to best express the sense of place that terroir bestows on a wine, and to do that they need the best possible grapes. With so many nuances, each contributing something unique to the growth pattern of the vine, the point of all this is really quite simple: top quality fruit is no accident.

There is an art to pairing specific cultivars with specific sites and Creation Wines is blessed with a unique confluence of climate and soil, resulting in healthy, balanced, perfectly ripe and full-flavoured grapes of outstanding quality; allowing us to create complex wines of rare balance, elegance, distinction and finesse.

Situated on the picturesque Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge near Hermanus, Creation Wines takes pleasure in inviting you to our little piece of paradise.

Our unique enclave is a sought-after wine destination where a warm welcome awaits young and old.

 

 

Ranging from our knowledgeable and attentive staff and our world-famous Wine and Food Pairing options to elegant touches such as our superior Riedel glassware – everything combines to offer our guests a truly memorable experience.

The following fun activities have been specially designed for wine lovers and those who appreciate the finer things in life.

CREATE YOUR OWN BLEND

DURATION: 90 MINUTES

COST: R350 PER PERSON

MINIMUM OF 6 PEOPLE

PLEASE BOOK AT LEAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE

Following a personalised cellar tour and barrel tasting, you’ll be introduced to the fine art of wine blending – with the emphasis on different styles such as a typical Bordeaux, Cape or Rhône blend. This enriching experience culminates in the exciting challenge of creating your own, individual blend.

 

EXPERIENCE THE PERFECT WINE AND FOOD PAIRING

DURATION: 35 – 60 MINUTES

COST: R125 PER PERSON

Discover the subtle secrets of flavour and texture and how the inherent qualities of wine and food can combine to create the ultimate taste sensation. To demonstrate the huge impact that food and wine has on each other, a delicious array of canapés, each specially prepared by Creation’s talented chefs to match a specific wine, are on offer.  

INDULGE IN OUR PARADOXICAL WINE AND CHOCOLATE PAIRING

DURATION: 20 – 30 MINUTES

COST:  R90 PER PERSON

Savour the spirit of Creation with Passion, Charisma, Resonance and Déjà Vu

Yes, the perennial debate surrounding the contentious pairing of wine and chocolate has inspired Creation to bring you our Paradoxical Wine and Chocolate Pairing. Velvety smooth chocolates for optimal mouth-feel … sensuous flavour profiling to offer you four fabulous matches. Irresistible? For sure!

SHARE IN OUR SECRET WINE AND FOOD PAIRING

DURATION: 60 MINUTES

COST: R250 PER PERSON INCLUDING WINE

And now for a truly unique experience: titillating, stimulating and guaranteed to pamper and surprise your palate. Only we can’t reveal the details, because it’s veiled in mystery! Imagine four scrumptious entrée-sized dishes paired with four superb Creation wines. Imagine an ever-changing ‘menu’, always presenting a delectable surprise. Booking is essential – and more we’re not prepared to say!

KIDS SURPRISE PAIRING

COST: R75

Specially designed so that children between the ages of 5 and 12 can experience the wonder of flavour profiling. The Kiddies Pairing includes juices, flavoured milks and a selection of healthy nibbles for experimentation.

 

Get home safely

COST: R100 PER PERSON
Simply contact Chris Niehaus – Bernadus Tours, tel 083 658 7848 – to book a return trip to Creation from Burgundy Restaurant, Central Hermanus.

 

 

Widely planted across the globe, Grenache is steadily gaining popularity in South Africa due not only to its predilection for warmer soils but also its incredible versatility. Used on its own it produces a lighter, fruitier style of red wine; however it is most often blended.

At Creation the fruitier, floral notes of the Grenache serve as the perfect foil for the denser structure and spicy flavours present in Syrah to produce our highly sought-after Rhône-style blend: the Syrah Grenache.  We like to describe this wine as a ‘sly chameleon’ thanks to its ability to change personality depending on the occasion – especially useful when pairing wine with food.

Genetically linked to two obscure grapes from the South of France (Dureza and Mondeuse Blanche) Syrah is native to the Rhône, and the cool climate style of Syrah produced on Creation’s 40 hectares perched high up on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge exhibits a restrained and elegant style with soft, expressive spices and an abundance of plum fruit. At 80% of the blend, this forms the base of the wine, lending it tannic structure and good colour, while retaining an inherent freshness due to its excellent natural acidity – another advantage of the more temperate climate on the Ridge.

Grenache on the other hand is slightly lower in tannin, colour and acidity; however it possesses a delicate floral personality that creates fantastic depth of flavour and exciting nuances when blended with the heavier Syrah. It is interesting to note that in blending the two cultivars, the result is greater than the sum of its parts: the combination of Syrah and Grenache enhances the savoury notes of the wine, coaxing out the much sought-after characteristic of umami in the form of ripe olive and tapenade flavours. In blending the wine, co-owner, viticulturist and winemaker JC Martin also combines years of experience and instinct to create the best balanced product possible – a process very much akin to that of a chef creating the perfect recipe.

As mentioned above, the versatile Creation Syrah Grenache pairs beautifully with a wide variety of foods. Among them the CONFIT DUCK LEG, CAPE MALAY AIOLI AND BUCHU-SCENTED SYRAH GRENACHE REDUCTION SERVED ON A LIGHTLY SPICED POPPADOM featured in our award-winning Wine and Canapé Pairing. Another sure winner with the newly released Creation Syrah Grenache 2013 is Chef Coco Reinarhz’s delectable SLOW ROASTED LAMB NECK AND BLACK OLIVE CANNELLONI. 

Click here to book a visit to our Tasting Room and try out these wonderful pairings.