Creating Wines of Distinction

Ménage à Trois à la Creation

Ménage à Trois à la Creation!

Take a rich and robust Cabernet Sauvignon, introduce it to a fresh and fruity Merlot and spice it up with a feisty, peppery Petit Verdot. The result? Ooh la la, serious seduction in a glass!

Released in 2008, the 2006 Creation Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot was the first Bordeaux-style red blend to come from the Hemel-en-Aarde. Since then this splendid wine has never failed to impress wine critics and wine lovers alike. Among the latest accolades has been a whopping 90 points for the 2014 vintage at the 2016 RisCura Red Hot Wine Awards convened by Winemag.co.za. Tim Atkin, British Master of Wine and international wine judge, scored the 2014 vintage an impressive 91 points while the 2015 was allocated no less than 94 points by Jamie Goode, a renowned British author and a wine columnist with a PhD in plant biology.

And now Creation has just released its 2016 Bordeaux-style blend to coincide with International Cabernet Sauvignon Day on 31 August. The latest vintage features Cabernet Sauvignon in the lead role and lovers of this award-winning three-cultivar red can once again look forward to enjoying cellarmaster Jean-Claude (JC) Martin’s finest blending skills.

What is a Bordeaux Red Blend?

The appellation laws in Bordeaux permit only six red grape cultivars to be grown there, and a blend of any two or more of these is considered to be a Bordeaux blend. The permitted varieties are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Carménère. Each has its own desirable qualities, and the grapes are used in different proportions by different chateaux.

The Creation Bordeaux-style Blend

2016 marks the 10th vintage of this sought-after blend, the 2006 vintage was the first to be produced at Creation with only 12 000 bottles released. While a host of local accolades testifies to its quality, this superior wine has also captured the imagination of a growing number of Bordeaux experts. Among them the Salvis from Château Margaux who, upon visiting Creation, took a few bottles of the 2010 vintage back home. One of these was subsequently entered into a blind tasting which included several of the great wines from Pauillac and … Creation was among the top three!

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of a crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, which is almost certain to have occurred in the 1700s in Bordeaux. The most widely recognised of the noble red cultivars, it owes much of its reputation to its success in Bordeaux. Cabernet Sauvignon is now the most planted red cultivar in South Africa, used either in single varietal wines or in red blends. Cabernet Sauvignon is usually planted on warmer slopes with maximum sun exposure. It requires well-drained soils to encourage deep root systems and when planted to a superior site it produces highly structured wines with equally high acidity – both key factors in determining the ageing potential of the wine.

Merlot

First recorded by a Bordelaise official in the Libourne area in 1784, Merlot is descended from Cabernet Franc and the obscure but grandly named Magdeleine Noire des Charentes. This makes the frequent blending partners, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère, relatives. Merlot is widely regarded as one of the world’s most difficult cultivars to grow. Creation however is blessed with a number of factors contributing to the successful cultivation of the fickle Merlot. These include altitude, soil type and temperature to mention but a few.

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot predates the better known Cabernet Sauvignon in Bordeaux; it was mentioned as far back as the 16th century, however the exact origins are unknown. The name, roughly translated, means ‘the little green one’ – a reference no doubt to the small berries and late ripening that characterise this vine. Petit Verdot requires plenty of direct sunlight to develop colour and ripen physiologically. While it is rare to find Petit Verdot as an unblended varietal wine, some examples do exist. At Creation Petit Verdot makes up between 15% of the Bourdeaux-style blend.

Blending Magic

In blending the wine, cellarmaster JC Martin combines years of experience and instinct to create his magic – a process very much akin to that of a chef creating the perfect recipe. The balance created by blending makes for a beautifully structured wine. Merlot provides up-front mouth-feel and fruit, Cabernet Sauvignon occupies the back of the palate with a long, intense finish, while the fairly high percentage of Petit Verdot supports the mid-palate of the wine. “At Creation we joke that Merlot is the ‘flesh’, Cabernet Sauvignon the ‘brain’ or ‘savvy’ and Petit Verdot the ‘bone’, contributing great structure to our Bordeaux-style blend,” says JC.

The 2016 Creation Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot tempts with alluring aromas of blackberry and blackcurrant against a background of subtle oak. The palate is plush and richly textured with well-integrated tannins ensuring excellent maturation potential. A Bordeaux-style blend in the finest tradition – c’est magnifique! A superb pairing partner is chef Francois Hugo’s Smoked Kudu Loin with Paprika and Butterbean Purée, Bouquet of Fine Beans, Dehydrated King Oyster Mushroom, Red Onion Jus and Clover Leaves. Click here for the recipe and here to order the wine.

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