Pinot Noir. The Prince of Reds
The 18th of August is International Pinot Noir Day and at the trendsetting Creation Wines on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge this will once again be a highlight on their always buzzy and exciting calendar.
Pinot Noir is Cellarmaster Jean-Claude (JC) Martin’s favourite cultivar. He loves drinking it, he loves growing it and he loves making it! Small wonder there are no less than four award-winning Pinot Noirs in the Creation portfolio, the quality of which has inspired Greg Sherwood MD to write that Creation has ‘cracked the enigma code for great Pinot Noir in South Africa’!
So what is this enigma? According to JC a good Pinot Noir reflects the place where it is grown. “Pinot ideally needs to be grown under cooler conditions to prolong the ripening process. The close proximity of our vineyards 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 the grapes. The steady sea breezes coming off the cold Atlantic move up the valley and keep the vineyards healthy and happy.”
Another secret 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. And then the soils also contain minerals beneficial to the pH levels of the wine while good water retention means they seldom need to irrigate once the young vines have settled.
“After all is said and done the success of our Pinot Noir really rests on the quality of the grapes. We were blessed to have started with a virgin piece of land, a sheep farm, never planted to vines before. I was therefore able to carefully select Pinot Noir clones best suited to the terroir and on the right rootstock. Our Pinot Noir vines are now nearly 20 years old and as our vineyards mature so the quality of the grapes becomes better and better. To the point that since 2017 there has been very little intervention in the winemaking process. Today we merely enhance the beauty of nature.”
Creation co-owner Carolyn Martin describes Pinot Noir as an aristocrat, the Prince of Reds.
“Pinot Noir at its best is an elegant and multi-faceted wine offering intriguing complexity and depth. It has the texture and intensity one would typically expect from a heavily structured wine, yet a truly fine Pinot Noir is delicate and easy to drink. It doesn’t cause the palate fatigue sometimes experienced when drinking a heavy red wine. In fact, once you’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the finesse of a well-made Pinot Noir, it is hard to get excited about bolder wines.”
Carolyn, who is a wine and food pairing expert of note, regards Pinot as one of the most versatile wines to pair with food: “. . . from fish to venison to duck, goat’s-milk cheese to the tartness of fresh berries – our exquisitely fragrant Pinot is always a winner, whether at brunch, lunch or dinner.”
The highly acclaimed Creation Pinot Noir range includes:
Creation the Art of Pinot Noir (97 pts Tim Atkin MW)
Single-site specific and barrel selection – individually numbered bottles.
Utterly enchanting, a shiny pomegranate seed red. Complex velvety texture, spice and perfume. The Prince of Reds at his most charming.
Creation Emma’s Pinot Noir (95 pts Greg Sherwood MW)
A collaboration between Emma and JC Martin. Single-site specific and barrel selection.
A serious glassful of premium Pinot Noir.
Creation Reserve Pinot Noir (94 pts Tim Atkin MW)
Smooth yet complex with layers of dried fruit, hints of raspberry and piquant spice. Supple tannins ensure excellent maturation potential.
Creation Pinot Noir
A bevy of seductive red berries … the earthiness of shiitake mushroom. Sheer romance in a glass.