In this popular series we feature selected sommeliers from top restaurants around the world. This week we welcome Pearl Oliver from Bombay Brasserie at Cape Town’s 5-star Taj Hotel. She started her career in the hospitality industry at the age of 19 and has since become a household name.
One of the reasons Creation is so special to me is the memory of my first visit to the farm. They were still working on the Hemel-en-Aarde Road and I was in my tiny car giving it a run for its money. Just as I started regretting driving up there, I reached my destination and the warmth of Carolyn and her team’s reception made the drive more than worthwhile. Today of course the roadworks are something of the past and the drive there is pure pleasure.
I’ve always had a preference for Rhône blends. They remind me of my dad: firm and steadfast yet gentle and understanding when needed. And when it comes to our chef Somnath Rakesh’s signature Lamb Shank, the Creation Syrah, Grenache is the perfect pairing.
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2016 Harvest Highlights
At Creation the 2016 harvest officially started on 21 January with the picking of our Pinot Noir and ended on 1 April with the last of our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes arriving at the cellar. We harvested 11 cultivars, which ripening at different times, certainly kept our harvest and cellar teams on their toes! All our grapes are hand-picked and transported in small crates to prevent damage. We work in an artisanal way and off-loading those small crates into the destemming machine requires huge effort, as does the punch downs on the tanks to gently extract the colour from the skins.
To keep the energy levels at a peak, a special harvest lunch was prepared by our culinary team each day, while in the evenings our braai master took over, treating the hard workers to scrumptious dinner. (These by the way were not just ordinary braais but ‘civilised affairs’ with superb wines – from around the world – tasted and discussed!)
Our guests in the Tasting Room also benefited from the happy days of harvest: every night our chefs collected fermenting grape juice from the cellar which they used to make either Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah or Pinot bread (‘mosbrood’) – what a delight!
But back to the actual harvest. Although we had slightly warmer and drier conditions than normal on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge from the end of November through to the middle of January, these conditions changed at the end of January as El Niño receded. South-westerly winds blowing in from the cold Atlantic cooled the land in the early afternoons, leading to a cool night index factor of 12 degrees less than at midday.
By early March 70% of the harvest was in, including all of the white cultivars and the Pinot Noir. As conditions cooled the intake slowed from two weeks ahead of schedule to around a week compared to last year. Creation’s red cultivars were picked seven to ten days earlier than last year.
All in all, we did well at Creation with leaf canopy management, our clay loam soils and cooling Atlantic breezes resulting in even, relatively slow ripening. We were blessed not to have suffered the heatwaves and drought conditions experienced in some other areas.
After so many years of dedication and hard work it is rewarding to see how our older vines have established themselves, progressively producing more complex wines. Right from the start it has been our intention to harness the full potential of our land in order to create site-specific wines reflecting our unique terroir and it is indeed this ‘sense of place’ that makes our wines so distinctive.
Creation in the News
Catch us in the April issue of Taste magazine where Carolyn Martin shares some of her favourite harvest memories. The magazine is available at Woolworths stores and for more information you can visit their website.
Click here to view the press clipping on our website.
Welcome to our Little Piece of Paradise
From our award-winning wines with scrumptious tapas to match to the spectacular views from our famous terrace, a visit to Creation is always memorable. Click here to make a reservation.
Here are a few comments recently made by our visitors:
We have visited a lot of vineyards in South Africa but this is our favourite. Get a taxi from Hermanus and enjoy the day there. A small but perfect menu or tapas with wine tasting. You need to book early to get in; it’s always busy but the service is still excellent. We took friends with us twice and they loved it. The views from the stoep are wonderful and it’s a lovely scenic road to get there. Can’t wait to go back. – J Hartshorn (TripAdvisor review)
Beautiful setting and welcoming hosts made this a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. The wines complemented each dish perfectly and glasses were kept topped up between courses. We also tried the cheese and charcuterie pairings which were equally good. –Mcmaidens (TripAdvisor review)
A superb experience with a wonderful setting that was laid back, informal and unpretentious. Grateful for the kids play area as it afforded us the opportunity to enjoy the final 4 courses of our tapas meal. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we would recommend it to any parent wishing to share a tasting experience with their children and yet having some indulgences of their own at the same time. ***** – Mike Richmond (e-feedback review)
9 April, 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 click here.
10 April, 14h00 – 17h00: Pinot Noir Tasting, Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Rd, Newlands Forming part of the Vineyard Hotel’s annual ‘Tastes’ calendar, this is a special festival for Pinot Noir aficionados, showcasing the wines of some of the best South African Pinot Noir producers. Guests are invited to sample an exciting variety, accompanied by canapés and live music. Cost: R215 per person and guests are encouraged to book early. To book: please email or call 021 657 4500.
13 April, 17h30 – 21h00: Tuning the Vine Returning for its fourth #Innercitywineroute adventure, Tuning the Vine continues to rock the city with wine. With last year’s events drawing some 4 000 on-foot wine tuners, this year’s Tuning the Vine has once again created some good wine experiences on the hippest streets of the City. For more details click here. Tickets available at Quicket online – or collect a ticket at one of the ticketing stations at 91 Loop and Orphanage Cocktail Emporium.
4 May, 19h00: Fine Wining presented by Creation Wines at HQ Restaurant, 100 Shortmarket St, Cape Town With summer coming to an end, HQ presents a winter series of ‘Fine Wining’. Perfect for those colder Cape Town evenings. Booking is essential, call 021 424 6373 or email to avoid disappointment.
14 April, 18h00 – 23h00: Conversations at Hyatt Regency, Johannesburg We are delighted to invite you to the Other Foundation’s third Conversations Johannesburg event for 2016. It will be hosted by Hyatt Regency Johannesburg in Rosebank. To learn more about the Hyatt Regency visit their website and see this perfect place to enjoy some great company, food and wine. Tickets are R190 and available on here. Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook to let others know you will be there.