It’s a lazy summer’s evening in Seapoint and the fresh sea breeze greets us as we walk around a corner and past customer chatter that spills pleasantly out onto the sidewalk from Harvey’s Bar, Winchester Mansions. We enter at the hotel’s Ritzy main entrance and are ushered through to the courtyard where our evening is to be spent for the monthly Grapes, Gourmet and Gallery evening.
Open to the night sky, the cobbled square is surrounded by white arches that have cool green ivy winding up the walls and meticulously set tables patiently awaiting diners. We are offered a glass of wine — Creation’s Semillon 2010 — to sip on as we admire the work of artist Mary-Jane Morris who has been exhibited as the "Gallery" part of the evening.
Hailing from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge just outside Hermanus, Creation makes up another part of this evening – the "Grapes". Carolyn Martin, one of the owners of the farm, chats to us while we wait to have the evening opened by Winchester Mansions MD Nils Heckscher.
She speaks passionately about the farm and doesn’t hesitate to say that it’s been hard work since they first began in 2002. But investing in virgin land that’s well situated in a cool maritime climate and, most importantly, that’s free from viruses that compromise the quality of the grapes, has meant that her husband and winemaker JC Martin’s wines have excelled in the local and international market place.
At the 20th Veritas Awards ceremony which was held in October, Creation Wines walked away with not only a coveted double gold for its 2009 Creation Syrah Grenache, but also two gold medals for its 2008 Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and 2009 Merlot.
Most recently, winemakers JC and Christoph Kaser, partner and second winemaker at Creation, were commended by Wine magazine South Africa for their Merlot, and it was the 2009 vintage that Harvey’s Chef Jochen Riedel, together with Carolyn and Nils, chose to pair with the dessert – a gorgeous chocolate gateau garnished with hazelnut praline and a raspberry coulis. This was more than the proverbial cherry on top of the evening combining the third element, "Gourmet", so elegantly with the wine. In fact, the chef’s attentive hand meant that each Creation wine was thoughtfully paired with its dish.
All in all, we tasted six superb examples of the farm’s wine, but it was for the Pinot Noir 2010 in particular that we were there.
Characteristically lighter in colour, the varietal offers low tannin but high acidity. It’s a lighter red and so, more delicate. The Creation Pinot Noir 2010 is also fragrant – a bouquet of rich berry aroma with definite hints of vanilla essence greets the nose and once on your tongue, you’ll find this lighter wine has a robustness that comes from 10 months of barrel aging.
The wine was paired by Jochen with a duo of duck – a breast and leg parcel enhanced with lentils and a mushroom jus. The combination proved delightful, with the breast so delicately cooked and so well-matched to the wine’s vanilla tones that I was sad to see my plate empty.
Recommended retail price is R159 including VAT.