Having recently regaled us with accounts of her explorations in Brittany, Burgundy and Switzerland, Creation’s Carolyn Martin now reports on her and husband JC’s wine and food experiences (14 to 17 August) in the buzzing metropolis of Jozi.
Up Close and Personal
Our trip started on a high note at The Nine Barrels where we did an ‘Up Close and Personal’ tasting. This unique establishment is part of the new redevelopment of Maboneng in Johannesburg and what made the tasting really rewarding is the fact that guests could have a one-on-one with JC, interacting and asking questions as the tasting progressed. Owner Anthony Reinhard has set up a fantastic wine bar where some of the best Cape wines are on offer together with a tapas type menu. Above the bar is an art gallery wittily named ‘AGOG’, which showcases the works of contemporary South African artists and where one can book a table for private dining. Above the gallery is a roof top whisky and gin bar where you can also order Creation wines by the glass or the bottle. The city views from here are marvellous and … rugby fans take note … The Nine Barrels is literally on the doorstep of the Ellis Park Stadium!
At Home at Pot Luck
Another highlight of Day One was a visit to Hallmark House in Maboneng which is where Luke Dale-Roberts has set up a pop-up version of The Pot Luck Club. As with the Cape Town establishment, Creation is listed in the bar as well as the restaurant and at the bar we bumped into one of our clients from Mozambique who had just bought two apartments in the building. This is certainly a hip and happening part of JHB, reminding me of the rejuvenation of London’s East End.
On Day Two we had a chance to visit some of our valued clients, including Norman Goodfellows, Thrupps Deli, Dry Dock Liquor and Riverside Liquors. We also popped in at the famous The Codfather and at Septimo, the latter a new MUST visit on Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City. The Vinimark tasting at Summer Place, Sandton was well attended and an example of the great feedback we received came from the authoritative sommelier, Miguel Chan. Referring to the Creation The Art of Chardonnay and The Art of Pinot Noir that he tasted, he commented: “It does not have to have ‘Grand Cru’ written on the label to taste like a Grand Cru in the glass.” Wow!
Combining Business with Pleasure
Wednesday saw us popping in at AtholPlace, a Relais & Châteaux establishment in Atholl, owned by Ed Zeeman and Anka Reijnen. What a wonderful set-up! General manager Allan Jones knows our wines from his Ellerman House days when he worked with sommelier Manny Cabello.
We then went to see our friend Byron Clark at the dynamic Life Grand Café. Truly incredible to see the growth and expansion of Gauteng in the area around the Mall of Africa and Waterfall City. It was 11 in the morning and the restaurants were buzzing!
Another client on our visiting list was Forti Grill and Bar on Time Square, Menlyn – an exciting new restaurant with beautiful rooftop views of Pretoria. We concluded our short visit to Pretoria with another Vinimark tasting which was also well attended and elicited more positive feedback on our wines.
(Please note that Nkulu Mkhwanazi will be taking care of Creation clients in Pretoria. Click here in case you would like him to get in touch either for a private tasting or waitron training. Creation will be hosting a private client event in Pretoria at the beginning of October – details to follow shortly.)
Never a Dull Moment!
On Thursday 17 August we had a very successful Master Class, showing Creation wines among international wines at the Reciprocal Wine Trading Company’s tasting facility. Eighteen top Johannesburg sommeliers participated and the feedback on the blind tasting was really fantastic. Head Sommelier of The Saxon, Lloyd Jusa, insisted categorically that he identified one of the wines (including the vintage) as he serves it by the glass on a daily basis. And he turned out to be spot on of course: it was indeed the 2016 Creation Pinot Noir! Taryn Nortje from Marble restaurant described the 2015 Creation Reserve Pinot Noir as follows: ‘it’s like porcelain, clean, fresh, silky and smooth’. Taryn Nortje was also good at picking out the climatic differences within the Louis Latour Grand Ardeche and the Creation Chardonnay.
It was a huge pleasure to have so many gifted tasters involved – including Charl Coetzee from Capeesh, Kobus van Zyl from Four Seasons, Newman Sigoga from Michelangelo and Cape Wine Master, Sheetal Munshaw – all of whom are great Creation ambassadors.
Visiting Steyn City Country Club to catch up with Mitch Gimmel and Michel Morand was another highlight. The club is very close to Lanseria Airport and the Cradle of Humankind. Creation wines are available, so if you’re playing a round of golf on one of the few evergreen golf courses in Africa, do enjoy a glass of Creation afterwards!
The Wine and Dine at AtholPlace that evening was most successful with chef Willie Malherbe’s pairings absolutely perfect. It was also good to chat to Rebecca Kabule, Kerryn Lancaster, Gavin Radolff and Nick Webster and the evening turned out to be a wonderful finale to our trip.