Whilst I have a love-hate relationship with Franshhoek (love good food and fine wine but loathe the pretentious fake French facade and canned romantic ambience. And there’s that little issue of the Grande Provence fountain with my name on it…) so when we decided to head for the hills, I admit being more than a little dubious about the trip – even though it was a midweek getaway to the winelands *sigh* it’s not easy being a writer, you know…
After meandering the quaint streets, sampling coffee, chocolate, cheese and wine we returned to sit beside a simmering pool, sipping long glasses of chilled Plaisir de Merle Chardonnay to watch the sun set. Tough life in the country…
Waking to decidedly hungover weather forced us to ditch hiking and biking plans in favour of the car’s tin umbrella, we drove over the pass to soak up the magnificent mountain scenery. Storm clouds brooding like a marauding horde of emo teenagers who’ve had black banned from their wardrobe inspired an executive decision to roadtrip away the day. And I had just the place for in mind a languid, lazy lunch…
Driving through pretty patchworks of Overberg field, the tar ran out as we found ourselves on the dusty Hemel-en-Aarde ‘grof pad’, descending into blue crane and vine valley where Creation nestles. By far one of my favourite wine farms because it has it all: breath-taking views, stylish decor, passionate owners, skilled staff, elegant wines and mouth-watering food. Since they also source most of their produce locally, it’s a wine farm with heart, integrity and light carbon foot (grape?) print. More to love…
Massive sheet glass sliding doors allow you to appreciate uninterrupted vista’s of vine, mountain and water. Comfortable chairs invite you to kick back and relax as you sniff, sip and savour their range of heavenly nectar. Staff are top-notch and knowledgeable about both wine and food, making the entire experience enjoyable (and educational to boot). Two roads diverge when it comes to your fork: either indulge in a multi-course paired canapé/tapas menu or order à la carte. I’m lucky enough to have done both (not on the same day, mind you)
Tapa tasting can easily take over an hour on weekends: you quickly lose touch with town-time as unusual and utterly unique flavours tantalize your taste buds (like duck and sour cherry pie, bobotie spring rolls or chorizo espanadita) and are complimented by the perfect glass, creating an earthy match… made in heaven. A blissful way to wile away any day.
I ordered a slow roasted springbok pie so tender and infused with subtle game flavours I can safely say it’s worth driving an hour out of Cape Town for! And having already had the paired tapas experience, it was interesting to compare how the wines ‘behaved’ against a standard taste. I could wax lyrical about almost every bottle in the range given the depth and careful complexity that’s been cleverly crafted into each cultivar. But that would make this a very long post and ultimately, you’re better off experiencing it yourself on the farm, glass in hand. So then, my top 3:
Predominantly a red wine girl, when it comes to whites, it’s all about chardonnay. Creation’s 2011 is subtly wooded, sun-kissed honey to the nose with hints of spiced fruits (vanilla-pear) on the tongue. Think:
Young, vivacious blonde in a short, summer dress. Perfect to pack for a beach stroll – so beautifully light and balanced you could quaff the whole bottle before sunset.
I was literally blown away by the merlot, a worthy companion for the delectable venison pie. Earthy and lusciously complex: warm spices tickle the nose while dark chocolates and a hint of red berries tantalize the palate. A mysterious aroma of eucalyptus (taking me back to childhood winter comfort of Vick’s Medinite) developed, proof of the layered nature of this red. Think:
Mensa brunette in a strapless black evening gown. Take her to the opera or enjoy over a red meat meal (the wine not the woman).
Now, I’m not exactly the greatest syrah fan – I generally find them big, brash and a little tacky for my taste. But Creation’s mastery turns this cultivar into a serious and stylish affair with a gentle nose but feisty, full bodied maraschino cherry and white pepper palate. Think:
Fiery Irish lass with auburn hair and freckles. Take her game viewing on horseback in autumn and drink beside a blazing fire with biltong and Cuban cigar.
Other notables are their Pinot Noir and Bordeaux style blend (Merlot, Cab Sav and Petit Verdot). If you like whites, you’ll find their Sauvignon Blanc wonderfully refreshing. They also do a mean flat white, a boon for caffeine fiends like me.
Creation uses Riedel glasses to showcase their wines – and you’d be amazed what a difference clear cut crystal and an appropriately shaped vessel make to complex wines like these. Not only are these goblets beautiful to behold (yes, I’d love to own a set) but bouquets are fuller and flavours, more readily released. Much like a good perfume, Creation’s wines display a fine range notes which creates a remarkable synergy with these glasses, allowing the full bounty of nose, palate and mouth feel complexities to come to the fore. The mark of any master is the ability to achieve that fine balance – surely this is the true art of Creation?