At the onset of harvest this past week, our imaginative team donned garlands made of vine leaves and had a great deal of fun, re-enacting the myths of ancient Greece. The scene resembled a celebration in honour of Dionysus and a celebration it certainly was!
Need to brush up on your Greek mythology? Well, Dionysus of course is the god of the grape, harvest, winemaking and wine and also the patron god of the Greek Theatre. During harvest the ancient Greeks partook in the Dionysia, a festival held in Athens in honour of Dionysus. These festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek Theatre.
So with the Creation vineyards, laden with ripening grapes, setting the scene, let’s look at the protagonist: viticulturist and cellarmaster Jean-Claude (JC) Martin. Ever since the vines have come out of dormancy, JC has been walking his vineyards: thinking, planning and meditating – even on Christmas and New Year’s Day – to ensure optimum performance. Every detail has been examined, discussed and taken care of with his vineyard team – from bud break to flowering, fruit set to veraison and then harvesting. It is obvious that healthy vineyards produce healthy grapes and now that the time for picking has come (the harvest date of each row is of course crucial) it is only natural that the entire Creation team would rejoice.
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Herb and Wine Pairing Part 3
Making the Freshest Taste Fresher
In the third instalment of our series on herb and wine pairing Creation’s chef Warwick Taylor sets out to prove once more just how the elegance and finesse of our cool climate wines enhance the taste of fresh herbs when used in considered quantities.
Firstly a few words on the three herbs that he used for his recipe:
Oregano is related to the herb marjoram and is sometimes referred to as ‘wild marjoram’. Oregano has purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. It is a perennial, although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter. Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavour of its leaves, which can be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity.
The long, elliptic leaves of the wild garlic are accompanied by angular flowering stems with umbels of white flowers at the top. This perennial can reach up to 50 cm in height and often grows in large, dense colonies. Wild garlic is a wild relative of chives and originates from Europe and Asia. The pleasing taste combination of sweetness and astringency makes it a favourite in the kitchen, especially when added to risottos or omelettes and sauces to accompany meat and fish. The leaves can be eaten raw or lightly cooked depending on your preference.
This annual herb, which is native to India, has round, green and often pointed leaves and looks a lot like peppermint to which it is related. Basil is most commonly used fresh in cooked recipes and most of the time it is added at the last minute, as cooking destroys the flavour. Green basil features as a core ingredient in basil pesto and is delicious in green chicken curry. The flavour profile, being peppery and minty with a touch of sweetness, makes it a very versatile ingredient.
And now for chef Warwick’s irresistible pairing: Springbok Tartare with Oregano, Wild Garlic and Basil (click here for the recipe) with the 2014 Creation Syrah, Grenache. “When using herbs in a pairing with this blend, I always recommend choosing these three Mediterranean herbs,” says Warwick. “It is an umami driven blend, and the savoury qualities in these herbs bring out the fruitiness in the wine. The rich texture and slightly sweet tannin finish of the wine quite easily handle the robust, lingering flavours of the herbs.”
Highlights and Happenings on the Creation Calendar
From fun functions and sensational shows on the Creation Estate to maintaining a strong presence at prestigious wine events, we love to see you there! Here are some of the latest attractions.
30 January, 9h30 for 10h00: Perfectly Pinot @ Creation Wines
Eight premier Pinots each reflecting its individual terroir in Burgundy, Switzerland and South Africa, presented in a delectable brunch by co-owners JC and Carolyn Martin. Set against the scenic backdrop of Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, this event promises to be a Pinot Noir’s lover’s dream.
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30 January, 9h00 – 13h00: Hermanus Country Market, Hermanus Cricket Club
A small market with a lot of soul where good friends meet, hug and eat … You can look forward to an amazing array of fresh organic produce, homemade delicacies, artisan breads, probiotic yoghurts, handmade cheeses, home smoked fish, happy hen eggs, wheat-free bakes and local wines. For more information visit their Facebook page.
10 February, 17h30 – 21h00: Tuning the Vine
Returning for its fourth #Innercitywineroute adventure, Tuning the Vine continues to rock the city with wine. With the October, November and December events drawing some 4 000 on-foot wine tuners, this year’s Tuning the Vine will once again create some good wine experiences on the hippest streets of the City. For more details click here. Tickets available at Quicket online.
12 & 13 February: Cape Wine Auction, Klein Constantia Estate, Constantia
It is a rock star party, for an incredible cause. Amazing, money can’t buy, once-off Auction Lots granting access to the inner sanctum of South Africa’s top wine farms, are fiercely bid upon by an international audience over a spectacular lunch. For more information go to http://www.thecapewineauction. com/
27 February, 15h00 – 19h00: Constantia Fresh, Buitenverwachting Wine Farm
Over the past 7 years Constantia Fresh has become one of the most prestigious outdoor wine events in South Africa. The festival offers a refreshing change to the many wine events held in crowded halls and is tailor-made to ensure that guests not only enjoy the day, but that each leaves feeling invigorated and filled with a lust for life. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.constantiafresh. com/