Ask Carolyn Martin what her favourite red wine is and she answers without hesitation. Yes, it is Pinot Noir which she fondly refers to as ‘Prince Charming wandering through the forest picking wild strawberries’. And which she also dearly loves for its great pairing potential. Take for example the delectable combination of Poached Line Fish, Raspberry Curd, Beetroot Dust, Pickled Radish, Herb Oil and Creation Reserve Pinot Noir presently offered on the FynArts Story of Creation Menu.
With Pinot Noir Day around the corner (18 August), we thought we’d also check with Creation Cellarmaster Jean-Claude (JC) Martin. He confirmed that like his wife, his red wine of choice is … the Noble Prince. In spite of his deep admiration for Pinot he does however agree with many of his fellow winemakers: Pinot Noir (sometimes wistfully referred to as the ‘heartbreak grape’) can be tricky. He is only too familiar with the challenges faced when cultivating what can be a fickle grape – the first being the selection of suitable clones for the terroir. Before planting his Pinot at Creation he meticulously considered aspect, soil and row direction and selected only virus-free clones (Dijon 115 and 777) for their suitability to the terroir.
According to JC the rest is up to nature. Creation’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean (only 9 km away) and an elevation of 300 m above sea level, result in cool conditions, ideal for the slow ripening of Pinot Noir. Another plus factor is the estate’s 450-million-year-old clay derived Bokkeveld shale soils. Pinot Noir prefers a clay-type soil as it contributes to the structure of the wine. To which he adds: “Our soils also contain minerals beneficial to the pH levels of the wine and have good water retention which means that we seldom need to irrigate once the young vines have settled.”
His winemaking philosophy of ‘enhancing the beauty of nature’ finds expression in three eloquent Pinot Noir wines: Creation Pinot Noir, Creation Reserve Pinot Noir and the Creation Art of Pinot Noir. Ranging from intensely fragrant and beautifully earthy to excitingly complex and elegantly spicy, each wine has proved to be an international winner in its own right.
But what about the fourth Creation Pinot? Enter JC and Carolyn’s daughter, Emma, who at the age of only 11 wowed the world with her first Pinot Noir and now at the age of 17 has three vintages to her name. Greg Sherwood MW recently scored the 2018 Emma’s Pinot Noir a whopping 96/100, describing it as “an absolute gem” and “certainly one of the best Pinot Noirs produced in South Africa”.
Click here to read Greg Sherwood’s (MW) complete blog on Creation Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.