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The Grenache vineyard at Creation represents a pioneering first planting of this cultivar in the Hemel-en-Aarde. It contributes to the Creation Syrah Grenache, the Estate’s highly sought-after Rhône-style blend which was recently among the winners of the prestigious SA Top 100 Wine Challenge.

Originating in a temperate Mediterranean climate, the Creation Grenache benefits from the unique combination of a cool night index of 12 degrees less than the daytime temperature and a long, sunny ripening season. This results in a fresh, fruity but not overripe style of Grenache.

History

According to research Grenache first appeared in the Aragon region of Northern Spain around the 15th Century, although there are claims that it was brought there from Sardinia where it is known as ‘Cannonau’. Grenache is a resilient vine and has flourished over the centuries to become one of the most planted internationally, acquiring over 50 synonyms along the way! Today almost half of the world’s Grenache vineyards are located in France, concentrated in the southern climes where the cultivar contributes to the red wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the rosés of Tavel in the southern Rhône. It is also widely planted in the prolific Languedoc-Roussillon region.

Creation was the first to plant Grenache in the Hemel-en-Aarde. Here is a lovely example.
Creation was the first to plant Grenache in the Hemel-en-Aarde. Here is a lovely example.

Viticulture

At Creation the Grenache thrives on 450-million-year-old clay and Bokkeveld shale soils. This later ripening cultivar is planted with a north-south row direction, an orientation allowing for ample sunlight penetration to ensure optimal physiological ripeness. Running parallel to, but split above and below the single block of Syrah, the two Grenache blocks benefit from the same gentle slope and west-facing aspect – resulting in excellent drainage and more sunlight as required by red cultivars. The thick, waxy, shiny green foliage is particularly resilient to the occasional strong winds and the vine itself fairly resistant to most diseases.

Carolyn and Jean-Claude strolling through the Grenache vineyard which was harvested just over a month ago.
Carolyn and Jean-Claude strolling through the Grenache vineyard which was harvested in March.

Vinification

Grenache is a thinner skinned variety than its traditional blending partner Syrah, and often exhibits more fruity and floral notes which are preserved by using a combination of 25% new French oak and 75% second and third fill barrels for 14 months. The use of some new oak helps with colour retention, but too much new oak could overwhelm the fruity and floral notes.

Jean-Claude tasting the single variety Grenache from the barrel.
Jean-Claude tasting the single variety Grenache from the barrel.

Flavour Profile and Food Pairing

At Creation the fruit driven style of the Grenache serves as the perfect foil for the denser structure and spicy flavours present in the Syrah. We like to describe our Syrah Grenache blend as a ‘sly chameleon’ due to its ability to change personality depending on the occasion. This is especially useful when pairing it with food. The blend is dark purple in colour, almost black, with flashes of deep crimson. Alluring aromas of ripe black olive are elegantly complemented by whiffs of pepper, following through on the palate which is full-bodied with intense flavours of plum, black pepper, tapenade and umami. Supple tannins and well-integrated acidity contribute to the appeal.

The natural acidity and resulting freshness and poise make the Syrah Grenache a versatile pairing wine, even when faced with the tricky flavours of a Cape Malay curry, or if you can’t decide which wine would be best with duck or pork. The inherent savoury notes associated with the umami flavour also contribute to this food friendly character, making the Syrah Grenache an essential item in the cellar of the wine pairing enthusiast.

Our chef’s Spicy Chorizo Minestrone (see image below) is the perfect match for this wine and ideal for the chilly winter nights ahead! Click here for the recipe.

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Another Creation Innovation

Good news for red wine lovers is the fact that we’ll soon be launching a pure, single variety Grenache reflecting the finest attributes of its terroir. The 2015 Creation Reserve Grenache comprises only four barrels and according to cellarmaster JC Martin it has a flavour profile of dark rose petal, cranberry and pomegranate with hints of Turkish Delight, cinnamon and anise.

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