June 15, 2021

The creation of the perfect pairing

Creation wine estate experience

THE CREATION OF THE PERFECT PAIRING

It’s the rich aroma of coffee that awakes me. The smell of salt lifting from the sea calms me. The fragrance of food is something that truly inspires me. After appreciating the setting, and the plating of my food, I always take a moment to value the aroma of a dish. Imagine my joy when an entire food-and-wine pairing is devoted to the perfume of wine – and inspired by my first-choice wine varietal, the fragrant Pinot Noir.

“Pinot Noir does not exist. It’s a ghost.” Domaine de la Romanée Conti

Arriving early at the legendary Creation wine estate in the breathtaking Hemel-en-Aarde Valley meant that we had time to drink in the mesmerizing view. It also meant that introductions with owner Carolyn Martin and head chef Eleanor Collage were over fresh, sweet-smelling Swiss croissants and quince jelly, which is served with their brunch tastings. Spoiler alert – rather than sharing every nuance of the day, I will mention only a few highlights of a carefully curated food-and-wine adventure…

AROMAS OF TROPICAL FRUIT AND ELEGANT ELDERFLOWER

The initial interlude was a marriage of ginger and Sauvignon Blanc, which we nosed before and after sipping the fragrant infusion, our olfactory senses elevated and more appreciative of the fruity notes thereafter.

IT MAY BE HARD TO GROW, BUT IT IS TRULY MAGICAL WHEN DONE RIGHT

A Cape Malay dhal soup, piquant yet delicate, was prepared with a touch of chilli, red split peas, sundried tomatoes and leaf masala. This delectable dish was served on a ceramic plate, pressed into a Pinot Noir leaf from the Creation vineyard, crafted by local Potter’s Gallery in nearby Kleinmond – the first indication of how loyal they are to the valley and surrounds, always supporting local wherever possible. A sprinkling of Pinot Noir salt and a very yummy, Swiss celery rosti made up the trio. Allow me to stop here and take a breather to wax lyrical about Creation’s Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir is elegant, soothing, velvety textured and versatile, and it elevates one’s senses with its gently intoxicating scent of red berries and vanilla.

Creation wine estate

What grows together, goes together – Creation’s Chardonnay is well defined by a cool ocean breeze, and the line-caught hake with flavours of dashi, kombu and bonita flakes balanced ideally with sweet garlic chips. Pineapple sage too pairs perfectly with Chardonnay, and as much attention is paid to origin of ingredients, this pretty herb was displayed on the plate.

winter experiences in winelands

RED BERRY VANILLA AND WOOD SPICE AROMAS – CREATION SYRAH, GRENACHE 2019

The Springbok loin wrapped in streaky bacon teamed exquisitely with a deeply-layered beef jus, with shimeji and king oyster mushrooms. In the time that chef Eleanor has been at Creation, she has obviously inspired a team to share her creativity. Chef Jean-Albert Steyn, a gentle giant, came out the kitchen to divulge the secrets of preparing the jus – beef bones are browned for 30 minutes before adding vegetables, cooked for 24 to 36 hours (yes, proof that time is a vital ingredient), strained and cooked again.

Chef Charl van Wyk, a creative genius, is all about technique and brilliant ideas, inspired by Japanese and Asian flavours. He popped out to talk about the three-bean duck cassoulet, paired with Creation’s award-winning Pinot Noirs.

wine pairing experiences

AN ABUNDANT FRESH FRUIT AND FLORAL BOUQUET

Carolyn’s passion and knowledge was evident and invigorating, well demonstrated when she explained that every wine has a unique flower. Sweet violet is the flower of Pinot Noir, the apple blossom of Chardonnay and the delicate peach blossom of Viognier. The Creation Viognier is all about freshness, “It conjures up the image of Prince Charming walking through the forest, picking wild strawberries,” stated Carolyn.

This stimulated an animated conversation about the aromas of ginger (which elevates senses), violet leaves (soothing) and vetiver (tranquil) was interrupted by the serving of the macadamia nut crepe, topped with a carrot flower and mandarin. The dairy-free milk tart filling showcases the philosophy of the menu – eloquently explained by head chef Eleanor, “It is gluten-free and 80% plant-based,” she said. Carolyn expanded on their philosophy, “Aromatics are all about wellness. If you feel good when you leave, you want to come back. We support local and the community.”

THE SCENT OF DRIED APRICOT AND PEACH, AND BANKSIA ROSE

Each touch point of the experience was memorable, as the intricacies of the perfume of wine, and ingredients, were exposed. Our last tasting was of the Creation Fine Cape Vintage, the freshness and depth of flavour made from Syrah, fortified with KWV brandy, served with a Von Geusau Port truffle and cocoa bratzeli.

Creation wine experience

An enticing board of honey and almond cakes, macarons and chocolates appeared, with a personalized message. Yet another indication of the warm, hospitable essence of this estate. The ultimate take-away from Creation, in addition to the culinary and connoisseur’s experience, is one of genuine, warm and enduring hospitality.

the perfect ending
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