It’s hard not to fall in love with the gorgeous scenery surrounding Creation wine estate in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley. Throw in delicious cool-climate wines and a range of innovative tasting experiences, and you have a fine excuse for a wintry weekend away.
That’s what I did with my family recently, dropping our bags at the charming Babylon’s Tower Cottage on the high slopes of the valley. Fynbos walks at Bouchard Finlayson and superb Sauvignon Blanc at eye-catching Ataraxia wine estate were two of the Saturday morning highlights, but by lunchtime we had happily settled in at Creation Wines at the northern end of the valley.
Back in 2002 owners Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin converted old pasturelands into fields of flowering fynbos and rows of neatly trellised vines; the latter giving rise to their superb range of cool-climate wines. As with the rest of the valley, Creation’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are outstanding, particularly the “Art of…” limited-edition releases. They’re premium wines with a premium price, but even at a more affordable level Creation over-delivers on quality: the Rhône-style Syrah, delicate Pinot Noir and spicy Syrah-Grenache blend are all memorable.
Innovative creation wine tasting experience
Memorable too are the innovative tasting experiences on offer. No impersonal bar counter and cheap glasses here; rather expect an elegant tasting room with charming staff and top-notch stemware to match these top-tier wines. Take a seat indoors by the fire, or on the terrace with its charming valley views.
The Creation tasting room and restaurant share the same space, and visitors are encouraged to have a bite to eat while they discover the wines. The winery commissioned bespoke chocolates for the fascinating chocolate-and-wine pairings, while the cheese and charcuterie pairings offer up delicious local produce matched with four Creation wines.
Your best bet though is the tapas pairing, where each wine is matched to small plates ranging from Malay-spiced pickled tuna to slow-braised lamb. For light bites a range of cheese and charcuterie platters are offered. Kids aren’t left out of the foodie entertainment either, with a special menu for young ones and the chance to try the “kids pairing” menu. .
As the cold fronts rolls slowly into the Cape, the cosy cottages, fine food and wonderful wines make the Hemel-en-Aarde valley a perfect destination for a winter escape.
Babylon’s Tower Cottage
028 212 2308
028 212 1107
Words: Richard Holmes | Images: Supplied