Hemel & Aarde Rd R320, Hermanus.
Creation wines is located on a 40 hectare farm in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge valley below the Babylon Toren Mountain. It is about an hour and a half drive from Cape Town and 20mins away from Hermanus. Whilst it might not be as close as some other Stellenbosch and Franchoek farms, it is definitely worth the trip.
The farm was started in 2002 by the married couple Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin on virgin land in an area of the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge that had never been planted to vines before. Now if you are one of those “wine purists” who believe the way Jan van Riebeeck made wine is the right and only way, then you are probably going to be disappointed here. As the name clearly alludes, Creation wines has a spirit of innovation and they love to do things that haven’t been done before – with great results I might add! They were the first farm in the Hemel-en-Aarde to grow and produce a Bordeaux-style blend, the first producer in the area with a Grenache vineyard and the first to bottle a single variety Grenache, a Viognier and a Semillon. These are types of grapes for those who may be wondering. A Grenache is a popular red wine grape variety. Viognier grape is a white wine variety similar to Chardonnay and the Semillon is another white wine variety and one of the most commonly found in South Africa.
Apart from the tasting room, Creation also has a restaurant that offers an array of wine pairing options which are true to their spirit of innovation. I’ve had many a wine pairing experiences and the one thing I’ve noticed is that the food is sometimes an afterthought. It’s just there to reference the flavour notes of the wine and is not always as considered and well prepared as the wine itself. This was not the case here. The Creation food is an experience on its own and the 8 course tapas pairing meal is a gastronomical spectacular. There is also a 3 course pairing option, as well as a Wine and chocolate pairing. The most amazing part is that the pairings are totally customisable to a variety of dietary requirements which is a very rare offering. Staying true to their principle of “what grows together goes together” it also means that the menu also evolves with the seasons.
If you genuinely love wine and are interested in new experiences, then Creation is for you. If you are just getting into wines and keen to learn, then Creation is for you. If you love food pairing of the best quality, then Creation is for you.
Creation is just an overall great experience. The restaurant is suitable for everyone from families with kids, to dates for the older peeps.
You need to really experience Creation properly so don’t go when you are in a rush. It’s still close enough from Cape Town to make a day outing from it, but arrive early so that you can take your time and give yourself enough time to recover before the drive back. If you want to make a weekend out of it, then it’s only 20mins from Hermanus so you can really maximise the day.
The operating hours are 10h00 – 17h00 everyday so you can decide for yourself what would work best for you. The day girlfriend and I arrived the weather was really cloudy with a tad bit of rain. It ended up being the perfect backdrop for the experience at our table by the window overlooking the vineyards and a fireplace inside the restaurant close by.
We spent a fair amount of the afternoon chatting to Carolyn and it’s no surprise that the experience at Creation is as amazing as it is because you feel the passion that she has for the farm, their vision and unique take on winemaking. The best part of this is that it’s not just true to Carolyn and JC, but most importantly they have been able to impart this to the whole staff collective as well, making the overall service at Creation second to none.
Our wine guru Stef who took us through the pairing was sensational and not only was she generous with the wine but her knowledge and delivery was superb! Not the usual rehearsed speeches you sometimes get at tastings. It was customised for us and she answered all the questions we had without fail.
Do yourself a favour and don’t take our word for it. Get your friends get into a car and head over to Creation Wines – You will not be disappointed.
The Creation Wines 8 Course Tapas Pairing menu
Not your average tapas pairing menu. We arrived hungry so I was initially reluctant to go for tapas but was assured by Stef that I wouldn’t leave with an empty stomach. I’m glad we listened! We would definitely recommend this, especially if you are visiting the farm for the first time. You get to experience the full range of wines and the tapas are not only filling in the end but they are also absolutely delicious.
For the amount of wine and food that you get it’s hard to believe that all of this only costs R270.
1. Creation Sauvignon Blanc 2015
- Paired with Calamari risotto, paw paw, pineapple, celery, radish, lemongrass and apple
2. Creation Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015
- Paired with Pear, green pepper, buttermilk and passion fruit
3. Creation Viognier 2016 (our personal favourite)
- Paired with Pickled seabass, poppadum, sweetcorn and coriander
BONUS TASTER: Creation Chardonnay 2015
4. Creation Pinot Noir 2015
- Paired with duck breast, beetroot, goat’s milk cheese, raspberry and wholegrain mustard
5. Creation Reserve Pinot Noir 2014
- Paired with Pork fillet, burnt caramel and sage, spinach and king oyster mushroom
6. Creation Merlot 2014
- Paired with Cauliflower, hazelnut, thyme and blue vein cheese
BONUS TASTER: Creation Reserve Merlot 2014
7. Creation Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pertit Verdot 2014
- Paired with Kudu, King oyster and shiitake mushrooms, blueberry and smoked paprika
8. Creation Syrah, Grenache 2015
- Paired with Lamb curry powder, rosemary, sun dried tomatoes and pomegranate
DESSERT: Creation Merlot 2014
A glass is a glass
One of the things we took away from the afternoon was a little bit of schooling around glassware and wines. Now we all know what a red wine glass looks like and what a white wine glass looks like. At least I thought we did.
One of the wines we particularly enjoyed was the 2015 Chardonnay. Now traditionally one would drink this in a normal white wine glass so it was surprising when Stef took us through a comparison of the wine using the normal glass as well as red wine glass.
As she put it, Chardonnay is one of the most misunderstood wines as it actually goes through a Malolactic fermentation process and aged in barrels giving it a much bigger story to tell than the more popular Sauvignon blanc which goes into steel tanks. Traditionally an oaky and smokey wine, most farms usually just make one type of Chardonnay and this is one of the reasons why it’s so misunderstood.
Tasting the Creation 2015 Chardonnay totally opened up a new perspective for us. The normal white wine glass we are used to is designed for high acidic wines. It’s made to let the wine go straight to the back of your throat because you don’t want that acidity lingering on your palatte. The wine is always going to taste the same as the first glass.
Red wines are decanted. The big Montrachet glasses allow it breathe. They open up and allow your nose to get up close and the wine moves much slower through your mouth. You take a sip and when you get back to it again, there will be a different experience because of the process that goes into making red wine. The molecules are always moving.
Chardonnay is made in a similar manner and so when you actually drink it in the bigger red wine glass you allow these molecules to move as well. Whilst you get the traditional citrus flavours, when you allow the wine to linger in your mouth you open up the butterscotch and honeycomb notes, giving it a richer flavour than you would get while drinking from a regular white wine glass! Consider yourself schooled.