Nature is the very inspiration that is Creation. Whatever our trials, our ethos of constant innovation and agility help us and our community to get back on track – to improve and to transform! Having planned a trip well in advance with our agents in Europe and our friends in hospitality in the Channel Islands, Daniela and I left our strong and resourceful team to manage the fallout of the floods in our region and to take care of our guests with their expertise and exceptional level of hospitality. Energy is life! Last week I reported on the first leg of our trip. Here’s a summary of some of our next adventures.
Channel Islands: Jersey, 5 – 7 October
Jersey may be an island, but it is inextricably linked to the rest of the world. We were fortunate to join the dots with a variety of press and private clients, enjoying a seven-course sensory wine and food pairing at Handpicked Grande Jersey Hotel’s AA 4-rosette Tassili Restaurant with Chef Nicolas Valmagna. What a wonderful group of accomplished people we met, locals known as ‘Jèrriais’ or ‘beans’, New Yorkers, Londoners and South Africans. Jersey is an unlikely global melting pot on a tranquil island. Besides enjoying an excellent wine and food pairing, we talked about sustainability, freshness, health, community support, and the impact of diversity and inclusion on innovation.
The UK: London and Kent, 9-10 October
It’s always wonderful to visit 67 Pall Mall where so many sommeliers are trained and which of course is an excellent 360-degree meeting point between the trade, buyers and consumers from around the world. We had a couple of insightful meetings on the future of fine wine in South Africa and while there, Jamie Goode’s book was delivered: a must read that starts by describing the challenges of science and viticulture, titled: The New Viticulture: the science of growing grapes for wine.
Another treat was visiting Chilston Park in Kent. We so enjoyed the old country house feel in its beautiful environment. The level of hospitality was outstanding with the team meticulously caring for us and our dietary requirements. Truly a home from home.
Incidentally, you will soon be able to enjoy our Creation wines in Handpicked Hotels.
Back in London we had a super lunch at Maison François with Amy Tyley and David Banford. This was followed by a private client tasting at High Timber. How we love this restaurant and Neleen Strauss, avid Springbok cheerleader and South African fine wine lover who rocks the city and proudly flies our flag. When in London make a reservation!
Norway: Oslo, 11-14 October
At last we had the opportunity to screen our videos on a proper full cinema screen! This happened at a tasting for 80 Golia Wine Club members and we were treated to a magnificent home-cooked dinner. Just what we needed with the shock of the Arctic winds that hit us on our arrival in Norway.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch our videos yet, here they are:
If you can read Norwegian, you may also find the article by Gunnhild Bjørnsti titled Et liv med vin interesting. (You’re bound to find out things about me that you never knew before!)
A true highlight of our visit was to be ‘tourists for a day’ with Geir Salvesen as our gracious guide. First stop was the remarkable Oslo Opera House with its massive roof which overlooks the whole of Oslo. From there we could see where the inspiration for Edvard Munch’s iconic The Scream originated on an evening stroll overlooking Oslo Fjord.
The Deichman Bjørvika must be the most dynamic modern library that I have ever visited. Filled with people of all ages studying and researching, the incredible thing is that it is completely open plan but the acoustics and design of the building create layer upon layer of privacy and quiet space.
The imposing Vigeland Sculpture Park comprises more than 200 sculptures in granite, bronze and wrought iron. Although installed mainly between 1940 and 1949, it represents Gustav Vigeland’s life work of over 40 years.
We also had a preview of Geir’s newly published book on Food, Wine and Health. Our friend, Dr Julienne Fenwick is quoted on the human biome, which of course is just as important as all the biomes for health on our planet. A healthy biome supports life.
Dinner at Nedre Foss Gård meant a magnificent 6-course menu hosted by Chef Chambre. The restaurant is located in a building dating back to 1220 when it was built as a water mill. Today it houses a restaurant, a private fine dining restaurant and a wine bar where you will find a wonderful selection of wines, including the Creation Chardonnay.
Also on our itinerary was a meeting with Vino where we learned all about their sustainability strategies. This was followed by a fabulous LaMarc tasting for restaurants and wine bars in and around Oslo, at Moestue group.
The Grand Café winemakers’ dinner at Karl Johans Gate was a fun event; however it was an adventure reaching the destination in the rain. Fortunately we got a lift with Malik Edo and his producer who had to deliver his new album there. Listen to Malik’s song ‘Oslo’ here. But back to the dinner. It was hosted for 150 wine lovers by 10 fine wine producers from around the world. Imagine how many Riedel glasses were used! We made many new friends and introduced Creation to what Jancis Robinson describes as ‘. . . Norway, the world’s most unlikely wine hotspot’.
The following day, Daniela and I had the pleasure of tasting at a wine fair in Via Village. Some 500 wine lovers attended and feasted on snacks from the best restaurants in Oslo. Such a stylish event, and we were very proud to present our fine Creation wines from the Hemel-en-Aarde to this discerning audience.
The next day Daniela flew back to South Africa while I set forth to Burgundy. More about that next week.
Carolyn Martin: Creation Wines