From Creation’s famous cool climate terroir on the lofty Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge comes a range of wines tempting the nose and enticing the palate with irresistible pairing potential. To ring in the New Year, Creation pairing guru Carolyn Martin is introducing a fascinating series on herb and wine pairing which once again proves just how the elegance and finesse of our cool climate wines enhance the taste of fresh herbs when used in considered quantities.
Carolyn’s love for and knowledge of herbs date back to her legendary grandmother Eleanor’s garden on the farm Hartenberg near Stellenbosch. While living in Switzerland during the early 2000s, she established her own herb garden in the old castle’s stonewalled garden at Cressier, Neuchâtel where herbs of all descriptions, including curry plants and even absinthe thrived.
Her enthusiasm for herb and wine pairing was rekindled on a recent trip to Denmark where she shared in a memorable pairing at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Studio in Copenhagen. A highlight was a dish described as ‘Marinated Beetroot with Bleeding Danish Wild Blackberries, Lovage and other Green Herbs’. It was paired with the 2014 Creation Art of Chardonnay and the result was sensational.
On her return from Denmark Carolyn commissioned Creation’s gardener, Meindert Poerink, to design and plant the estate’s very own kitchen garden. It now boasts an exciting variety of herbs. “At Creation we have always believed that what grows together goes together. Now that our herb garden is coming into its own it is just such a pleasure to match the fruit from our vineyards with the produce of our garden,” says Carolyn, adding that the intensity of garden-fresh herbs simply cannot be matched by pre-packed produce.
Among her favourites are chervil with the Creation Sauvignon Blanc, basil with the Creation Chardonnay and rosemary with the Creation Syrah, Grenache blend. For the complete Creation’s herb & wine pairing chart, click here.
What is a Herb?
To quote two definitions:
- Any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavouring, food, medicine, or perfume.
- Any seed-bearing plant that does not have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering.
But did you know that the banana plant is the world’s largest herb?
Happiness is Your Own Herb Garden
We’ve asked another guru (our gardener, Meindert Poerink) how to establish a herb garden.
According to Meindert your herb garden can be almost any shape and size and does not necessarily have to be in an open and sunny position. There are herbs that will thrive in shade and even in heavy wet ground if planted and cared for correctly. The most popular type of herb garden is a small bed or border that is within easy reach of your kitchen.
And then of course you can also upcycle a wine barrel or two, like we did!
Simply cut the barrel/s in half and drill a few holes in the bottom through which you then add irrigation pipes before the barrels are filled. Install atomizers to irrigate the herbs twice a day – in the early morning and late afternoon for a few minutes.
Place a layer of gravel at the bottom of the barrel. This is of utter importance for good drainage, because most herbs do not like to grow in wet soil. Mix organic potting soil and compost in a ratio of 1:1; put simply, one bag of compost with one bag of potting soil.
Mix organic fertiliser such as Vita Boost with the compost and potting soil mixture and place the mixture in the wine barrel. Put a little bit of bone meal (another organic fertiliser) in every herb’s planting hole and water thoroughly after planting.
Additional Hints and Tips for a Successful Herb Garden
- Herbs need to be watered as soon as the soil has slightly dried up (this is why our irrigation system goes active twice a day).
- Cut herbs that start to bloom, this encourages new growth.
- Plant marigolds in between the herbs as an instant insect repellent.
- For ongoing care, add Vita Boost every 6 weeks in small quantities. This encourages strong growth and ensures healthy herbs.
- Remember, the more you harvest the more you encourage fresh growing herbs.
Join us for the following few weeks on our herb and wine journey where many interesting themes are in store. Expect a Creation wine and herb pairing once a week, complete with a full recipe.