“Viognier serves as a fantastic foil to the fragrant, aromatic spices of traditional curried fish. My recipe highlights the freshness and minerality of the cool climate Creation Viognier 2013.” – Chef Tullishe le Roux, The Eatery
This February we celebrate Viognier with renowned local chef Tullishe from The Eatery in Hermanus sharing her ideal pairing.
Although little known in South Africa, Viognier is a cultivar which is becoming increasingly popular and production has escalated over recent years. Creation was the first farm in the Hemel-en-Aarde to plant this grape, which is believed to be an ancient variety first brought to Central and Western Europe from Croatia in Roman times. Genetically it is a cousin of Nebbiolo and closely related to the lesser known Piedmont grape, Freisa.
Viognier was hit particularly hard by the phylloxera epidemic that decimated Europe’s vineyards in the late 19th century. It was slow to recover due to the chaos and confusion of the two world wars that left many vineyards totally abandoned, and by 1965 only 30 acres remained in production in its traditional home in the Rhône Valley. It is the only cultivar permitted in the Condrieu Appellation, and up to 20% Viognier is permitted in the red wines of the Côte-Rôtie AOC (the benefit of Viognier is that it provides additional stability for the pigments in the Syrah with which it is blended, adding floral notes). In the rest of the Rhône it is often blended with traditional white Mediterranean varieties such as Roussanne, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc.
Stylistically, Viognier is often richer and lower in acidity than for instance Sauvignon Blanc, however differences in vinification can produce a range of styles, making it versatile. Chef Tullishe is animated in her admiration of the cultivar:
“Viognier flatters and she seduces. She’s a belly dancer, swathed in silk, voluptuous and mysterious, scented with exotic flowers. I love working with good quality Viognier such as the 2013 Creation Viognier. It is beautifully fruity yet refined on the nose with aromatic white peach and a rich, creamy character. The palate rewards with crisp minerality and well-integrated natural acidity.”
She adds: “Viognier was one of the first wines I learnt to identify blind, not because it is obvious or unsubtle, but because it is so unique.”
How did Tullishe arrive at her Creation Viognier-Curried Fish pairing? “I would like to think that it was genius and it came to me in my sleep, with a flash of light and angelic song. However it was almost solely driven by this very ‘Durban’ climate we are experiencing in the Western Cape at the moment.
“Right now everything I consume needs to be cold and in particular my wine! It is no secret that I have a ridiculous love affair with Viognier, and if I come back in another lifetime I want to come back as this varietal. She is exquisite, exotic and so forgiving.
“Pickled fish is something we have been retailing for a week or so at The Eatery as we all cast our minds to the next significant date on the calendar – Easter. Pickled fish is such a part of our Easter culture in the Western Cape and ticked all the boxes for me as it is slightly spicy, and we know Viognier is the goddess of spice!
“We struck gold, what a great pairing. The trick here is that the wine needs to be ice-cold and the fish needs to be of the white variety! Absolutely delighted that I can now put away the beer with my pickled fish dinner and open a bottle of Creation Viognier.”
Tullishe kindly agreed to share the recipe for her irresistible Pickled Fish with us. CLICK HERE.
THE AFRASIA BANK CAPE WINE AUCTION 2014
Creation is proud to participate in The AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction 2014. It is for a great cause and funds will be distributed to charities within the wine industry. Please read more about our lot at The Cape Wine Auction and help us raise funds to make a worthwhile contribution. Should you like to bid, online bidding is now live on the site The Cape Wine Auction.
If you are keen to join our table at this special event on 15 March, please get in touch with Dieter at Creation - email@example.com or 082 659 2318.
PINOT NOIR CELEBRATION AT CREATION
Did you miss out on the first Pinot Noir Celebration. Watch our video here, and be sure to join us at Creation next year.
STARTING A WINE CLUB: WHERE DO I BEGIN?
How to start a wine club? Who do I invite? You may already have a fair idea of who you would like to join you in establishing a wine club. Friends and family are the easiest place to start and wine tasting is a great after-hours team building social activity for work colleagues. Click here to read more.