Inhale, exhale…enjoy a multi-sensory summer pairing at Creation

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RENOWNED for its cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Creation Wine celebrates its 21st anniversary in February. The first grapes were harvested in 2006, and the tasting room was completed in 2008. Glorious wines and exceptional food pairings have consistently earned Creation a place among the best vineyards in the world.

Ceaseless innovation is a way of life at Creation, as illustrated by the menus which reflect the seasons, and dictate regular visits. The summer flexitarian menu is titled Breathe and offers a completely plant-based option and the choice of mixing and matching courses, or chapters as they are called; there is also plant-based breakfast and à la carte, a young adults menu and even alcohol-free pairing. As spectacular as Creation wines are, there are still times and reasons for not partaking. No one is left out.

As an immersive sensory experience, various items are brought to the table to enhance flavours and aromas – a sprig of jasmine with the Viognier; passion fruit with the mojito shooter (non-alcoholic), cucumber gazpacho and lettuce cup with edamame hummus (which my friends will appreciate I dropped almost the entire thing down my front) and Sauvignon Blanc, followed by lime-scented hand wipes; the “shell phone” with the artichoke taco (or salmon), by which time I’d learned to eat over a napkin, with Sauvignon Blanc Semillon.

A piece of 590-million-year-old granite from the Chardonnay vineyard block accompanies the chicken pops (or cauliflower) with potato, kale and turmeric hummus, paired of course with Reserve Chardonnay. A spritz of rose geranium from a pretty atomiser precedes the tuna (or watermelon), avocado and edamame poke bowl which is served with the rosé, “pale petticoat pink with silver lining,” smiles creative director and co-owner Carolyn Martin. This is one of the few notes I took, as is usually the case with these wonderfully leisurely meals, with Carolyn, and winemaker JC Martin, who wanders in and out to talk eloquently about his wines between his duties in the cellar and vineyards.

The penultimate chapter is a choice between impala and mushroom, or just mushroom, with kohlrabi. The wine is Reserve Pinot Noir, a fitting culmination of the savoury dishes. To finish, there are summer berries with friand and sorbet, with a glass of Fine Cape Vintage, the velvet-clad bottle brought to the table to demonstrate texture.

Every element of the pairing menu is carefully considered, nothing is random. For example, in chapter one, Sauvignon Blanc thiols are the same as the passion fruit, stimulating your digestive juices and preparing you for your meal. After the immunity and digestion booster, tasting the Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, vibrant and uplifting sensation, increasing serotonin (feel good) levels. The sequence in which the dishes are eaten, as well as the raw ingredients, keep your blood sugar level low and your energy high for the rest of the meal.

The taco, with red onion, tomato, pickled cabbage, raw cabbage, coriander, charred lime, toasted sesame seeds, coconut yoghurt, gochujang and yuzu gets a squeeze of lime (along with passion fruit, another of my favourite scents which I just want to keep breathing in forever) to uplift the mood. The sea shell is to brings the ocean’s influence to the wine and the tasting room, creating a sense of place. Even though you can’t see it, it’s much closer than you’d think.

Some details that made an impact on me, showing I can still be surprised, pleasantly so: the menu has QR codes for the Story Of Creation, the summer music playlist that plays in the tasting room, and recipes for all the dishes. After I’d spilled my food, Carolyn told me they have Creation T-shirts for guests who have similar whoopsies; the soiled item is washed and dried and returned by the end of your meal. I couldn’t avail myself of this service as I was wearing a frock. And if you should knock over your Pinot Noir and splash it on yourself, a staff member will soon be at your elbow with a spray bottle of stain remover to save your garment from a stubborn red wine stain.

It’s this kind of thought and care that touches every aspect of what Creation does.

Creation’s Breathe summer menu can be enjoyed at R895 pp. Book now at [email protected], or call +27 28 212 1107 and specify your dietary requirements: standard, vegetarian, plant-based or pescatarian. For more information, click here.

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