When Jean-Claude (JC) and Carolyn Martin acquired their 40ha piece of land deep in the Walker Bay wine region in 2002 they sought to work as one with the environment around them to produce wines that would leave a mark on South Africa and the world.
Eighteen years and countless awards later, JC, Carolyn and the Creation Wines family have brought their motto of ‘enhancing the beauty of nature’ to fruition. Carolyn encapsulates it best: “As a winemaker you need to realise the potential of the grapes. Therefore, less intervention in the cellar is more.”
Coming from wine pioneering stock spanning at least three generations and two continents, it is no surprise that this passionate duo has managed to turn wilderness land into thriving vineyards responsible for some of the most renowned wines in the country.
Situated 350m above sea level and just 9km from the Atlantic Ocean, the 450-million-year-old clay loam soils and decomposed Bokkeveld shale ensure proper drainage and water retention, while the cool winds add to the slow ripening of the grapes.
The terroir and climate work together in harmony to produce exquisitely flavourful grapes, particularly when it comes to Pinot Noir. “These are but a few factors contributing to the elegance of this premium wine,” Carolyn adds. Even so, their approach is to allow nature to take its course, with little interference in the vineyards. “Working in harmony with nature is common sense if one wishes to preserve the environment for future generations. Our estate has always been at the forefront of celebrating and preserving its pristine environment.”
Creation Wines provides a distinct selection of intriguing varieties and blends, yet most notable is their Art of Pinot Noir. This wine is a favourite for both JC and Carolyn and terroir-driven to encompass the true essence of the farm.
“We believe the Hemel-en-Aarde is the most exciting place to grow Pinot Noir in South Africa. In fact, it is known as the cradle of South African Pinot Noir,” says Carolyn. “I regard Pinot Noir as the ‘Prince of Reds’. It is a cultivar JC and I have worked with for almost a lifetime and we have a long-standing passion for it.”
It is this passion, as well as their sustainable approach to winemaking, that has led to the success of their Art of Pinot Noir 2018. Truly a work of art, this robust, magnificently coloured red wine lives up to its name.
“The grapes for the 2018 Art of Pinot Noir were selected from a small gem of a pocket, within a single vineyard block. The wine was 30% whole-bunch fermented to capture the freshness of the cool-climate grapes and a barrel selection delivering only 3,050 individually numbered bottles were released under the Art label,” Carolyn says of this winning wine.
As is signature with Pinot Noir wines, the Art of Pinot Noir 2018 boasts a medium body with vibrant red fruit flavours on the nose. Wild forest strawberries, cherries, dark rose petal, and dark berries all feature, while twelve months in the barrel contributes a delicate mix of earthiness and spice to balance out the sweeter fruit flavours. This elegant Pinot Noir does not leave the palate feeling fatigued, as is so often the experience when drinking heavier red wines.
The wine will match well with fish, goat’s milk cheese or red meats. There really is no right or wrong way to enjoy Pinot Noir!
However, if you are looking for the ultimate union, Carolyn has her own special pairing in mind: “I would suggest the freshest tuna sashimi caught in the canyon off Cape Point with some sesame seeds and soya sauce. Umami-rich foods pair well with Pinot Noir, as they echo the umami in the wine, making the wine shine!”
Encompassing the natural elements and promoting sustainable practices are what contribute to the sound success of Creation Wines. “In establishing his vineyards, JC – a qualified viticulturist and winemaker – meticulously considered soil, climate and aspect before selecting the cultivars best suited to the terroir. He also had the foresight to only plant virus-free clones and today Creation Wines is an important source of virus-free material for the wine industry,” Carolyn shares proudly.
With their immense knowledge and experience, JC and Carolyn have been able to pay tribute to one of the oldest wine grape varieties in the world. This has culminated in a heavenly wine and one of the Mosaic Top 5 Pinot Noir 2020 winners, an extraordinary accomplishment for the farm. “What makes us especially proud of this award is that the competition seeks to identify wines to serve as a benchmark for the development of distinctive South African Pinot Noir,” says Carolyn of their achievement.
“Creation Wines Art of Pinot Noir 2018 is an inspiring, elegant and multi-faceted wine offering intriguing complexity and depth. It is a truly fine Pinot Noir that is delicate and easy to drink. What more can I say?”
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