IN a corner of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley near Hermanus, in the shadow of the Babylonstoren mountain, lies the little gem that is Creation Wines.
Swiss winemaker JC Martin bought the virgin 22-hectare parcel of land in the Walker Bay maritime wine region in 2002 and set out to produce a small portfolio of quality-over- quantity wines.
Although the Hemel-en-Aarde area is best known for chardonnay and pinot noir that do so well in its sea-breezy cool climate, Martin wanted to expand and produce really strong blends too, the estate's marketer Phillip Marais told guests at a food and wine pairing evening at Ginger at the Beach Hotel recently.
Presenting a selection of the estate's range of 10 wines, Marais said: "When you visit Creation, you will always take something away, even if just memories."
We tasted the floral sauvignon blanc, with crisp acidity balancing the intense fruit – the "best medicine for hot summer days".
Ginger's chef complemented the Chardonnay with a lemon-cured slice of Norwegian salmon, its citrus and soya dressing perfectly balancing the golden, complex wine. It's full-bodied and a great food wine with some minerality, vanilla and spice balancing out the ripe fruit. The Viognier sells out every year and it's easy to see why. It's unwooded, so not too heavy and, Marais says, so the "white peaches don't turn into dried apricots!"
He says it's a good "I'm sorry" wine, its rose petal aromas like giving a bouquet of flowers. Elegant and delicious, its creaminess is the perfect partner to spicy food. Moving on to the reds, the pinot noir, served lightly chilled, is a great summer red. Its earthy truffle and mushroom cut through the richness of confit duck and complemented its beetroot sauce. The Syrah Grenache blend is just outstanding – ready to enjoy now or age five to six years. It delivers olive and black pepper aromas with plummy, smoky-spicy flavours – pairing well with Ginger's roast sirloin and would also be a great partner for a spicy tomato bredie.
The merlot, cab sauv, petit verdot blend made a rather unusual – but delicious – pairing with a dark chocolate fondant dessert. This is a stunning Bordeaux blend with generous berries, black fruit and smoky oak. Marais says it's the estate's best yet, and will age really well.
You'll find Creation wines mostly in restaurants and at Preston's Summerstrand and Main Road, Walmer. Ginger host regular food and wine pairing evenings – contact them to find out about the next one.