Thursday, April 04, 2019

Harvest lunch at Creation, Hemel en Aarde

We love what we do and we love the people who help us to do what we do. John mentioned that it has been a bit quiet in the wine and food world and immediately we got some great invitations. The first was from Carolyn Martin at Creation wines to come and enjoy their Harvest Lunch. And a friend saw the invitation and offered their cottage for an overnight stay. So off we went to the beautiful Hemel and Aarde valley again, on a sunny but slightly chilly day. We seem to have an early Autumn
They have new sculptures by Nanette Ranger adorning the gardens and the restaurant/tasting rooms. We wrote of her work when we visited earlier this year. These two next to the entrance are enchanting
We arrived earlier than expected, at midday, as the N2 National road from Cape Town was surprisingly quick and were seated on the VIP table. They know how to spoil us
Autumnal vineyards and the Babilonstoren Mountain; Jean Claude Martin, the Cellarmaster/owner, said they would finish picking the following day. In fine weather, the terrace is a great place on which to enjoy everything the estate offers
Out on the terrace, where staff were moving umbrellas for shade
We were so well looked after by Jo-Ann Corbett, who explained all the dishes and the wine pairings we were to have with them. The Harvest Menu will change to the new Winter Menu at the beginning of May, so do get there to try this extravaganza of flavours and wine pairings if you can. It costs only R579 per person for 5 courses, with 8 paired wines. Because we write about their wine and food, we were treated to a few more - they do spoil us
The wine prices on an order form on the table
The Harvest menu
You begin with Chapter 1: the Sensory Tasting: Creation 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon. Before we tasted the wine, we were persuaded to smell the cut granadilla and the salt. We found both those flavours in the wine. Both wines have classic Sauvignon pyrazines on the nose, with green pepper, herbs and tropical guava and granadilla on the palate. On the blend, the Semillon shows with grass on the nose and a much rounder palate with wood notes. Both are crisp and have minerality echoing the salt
Time for the bread course and it comes with a salsa of cucumber, melon, tomato, onion and pineapple to go with the puri bread and a whipped cream and goat cheese to go with the wine bread
The breads come to the table in a small sack and are served warm. You stuff the hollow puri with the salsa and eat it in one. It is black, as it is made with carbon powder
It tasted of good flour and goes well with the salsa
The wine bread is made with the grape must from the Shiraz and has a lovely sourdough texture, with some added crunch. John decided to put both on his bread. The cream cheese was light and fluffy and the goat flavour was gentle
This lovely pine tree caught the eye of the photographer. Lots of different green textures
JC Martin came to sit and chat, even though he was still busy with harvest. He said that his lads could cope without him for a while. We chatted about the wine, the harvest, the valley, the climate and put the world to rights politically. We are very grateful for his time. Carolyn is in Europe on a sales trip
He introduced us to his new 2018 Cool Climate Chenin Blanc, from grapes grown on another farm. They will be making this regularly and we can see why. It is very good. It has a classic dusty Chenin nose and is full of zingy granadilla and cooked apple
We were brought a course off another menu, one of the Small Plate pairings because it went so well with the Sauvignon Semillon and also the Chenin. Jo-Ann said that when she eats it, she thinks she is eating fish and chips. And, indeed, it does have that affect on the palate. Sous Vide tender sole fillet in a crisp potato and herb crust (the chips), served with minty mushy peas. The added lightly pickled cucumber and onion, caper berries, and lemon mayonnaise are the deconstructed tartar sauce! Very clever Chef!
Chapter 2: Creation Celebration pairs the 2018 Rose, a blend of Grenache and Viognier - fruity and crisp, notes of cranberry and a little white peach - with a small cup of cucumber and mint soup
Beautifully plated, topped with a sorrel leaf or two and served cold
Chapter 3 is Creation Inspiration which pairs the 2017 Creation Reserve Chardonnay with a Pork Fillet. We were lucky, we could pair the pork with all three of Creation's Chardonnays. The 2017 Estate and Reserve and The Art of Chardonnay 2017. All are very good and all three work with the dish, but the Reserve was the best match. The Art is still very young and will be singing in a few years time
The Pork fillet is served with a celeriac purée, charred fennel strips, and apple served three ways: pickled in cubes, an apple espuma and a crisp apple chip. All the flavours echo the wines. It is a satisfying dish, served with the absolutely correct wine
Chapter 4 Creation Ovation pairs Creation Reserve Pinot Noir 2017 with the Duck dish
Again, we were treated to not one Pinot Noir but also the 2018 Estate and 2017 The Art of Pinot Noir
Liver Mousse on top of a tender pulled confit Duck leg, separated by a slice of lightly pickled beetroot, fresh raspberries, a Thyme jus and some sorrel. We can say without any hesitation that this is the best pairing of Pinot Noir and Duck we have ever had. It was sublime. And while the dish was rich and creamy and meaty, it did not take away the taste of the wonderful Pinots which remained on the palate. If only we could get the aroma and taste into the picture for you. The fresh raspberry lit up the Pinot Noir as did the jus and the rich mousse. It brought out the herbal notes in the wines, violets, intense raspberry and soft wood notes. All three sang
Another table trying to decide
The Small Plate Pairing Menu on offer that day, paired with wines
Chapter 5: Creation Generations. Now this was fun, a great learning experience and a superb way to challenge your palate. On the left, powdered licorice root, on the right, sumac, a sour berry grown in the Mediterranean that adds zing to food. We used to sell both at Main Ingredient so are familiar with them, but pairing them with these three wines was such fun. We think the licorice root adds something to the wines, sweetness and saltiness and depth. The sumac less so, but both certainly make you want more wine and more food. The syrah is dark, with pepper and cassis and spice and some cherry on the palate with savouriness and some dark wood. the Syrah Grenache takes much from the Grenache with ripeness and good wild plummy notes; umami flavours complement the food. The Sumac Grenache was an extra, so we could taste it and it has the same wildness, slightly sweeter than the first two, full on fruit with a zing of acidity and umami. All went very well with the next dish
They were served with Sous Vide Rabbit loin with a Parsley farce, dots of carrot purée, and beetroot purée, slices of summer truffle and a rich smoked paprika jus. And with this dish we also sampled the first vintage of the Creation blend of Roussanne (80%) and Viognier (20%) which is also a very good match for this dish. Peaches and sesame notes on the nose, and quince on the palate, lots of wildness with layers of interest and complexity. A winner. It washed away the beetroot, but highlighted all the good meaty flavours of the dish. Suddenly South Africa is showing some great Roussannes
Vines turning colour with the onset of Autumn
You can also enjoy a Dessert pairing
Chapter 6: Creation Dedication. Presented with the Port style wine, called Creation Fine Cape Vintage 2017 made from Shiraz
We liked and enjoyed this so much that we have made it our Wine of the Week
It is better than many of the young Ports we tasted in Portugal last year, which lacked depth and complexity. This has concentration of flavour, sweetness and spice balanced with rich plums and vanilla, black cherry, good fruit acids, richness, and warmth from the KWV brandy added. The perfect match for rich chocolate and dark berry desserts
This is served with a Black Tea and chocolate ganache, on a pear purée, covered in a blackberry and Hazelnut dust with thyme. Topped with a pear crisp, it is rich and does echo some of the flavours of the rich port style wine. Dangerously, they left the bottle with us; we resisted but not for long
And then another special - an extra dessert, with drama. A black chocolate sponge, fresh figs, a raspberry coulis and a speculaas ice cream. The dish is hidden below large slices of good dark chocolate and the warm coulis is poured on top, so the chocolate melts revealing the contents, a blend of hot and cold delights
We took a video so that you could be part of the theatre
Totally decadent and absolutely a match, made to go with the Cape Vintage
Happiness is being at Creation enjoying wine and food pairings
Chef Francois Hugo
A double Espresso and cookies for John. Lynne had a pot of excellent Green tea, a great digestif


Unknown said...

What a great blog of one of our favourite places! We enjoyed the autumn pairing menu a few weeks ago and loved it! Like you, especially blown away by the "duck and Pinot" pairing! Mich and Pete

Unknown said...

Great blog i truly liked the detailed presentation