Creation Wines, Hermanus, South Africa
I know pretty much nothing about wine. I can tell white from red, but it pretty much ends there. To be honest, I’ve always found this whole wine tasting business to be a bit intimidating. Something grown-ups do. I know what I like when I taste it, but explaining why I like it is another story. The chemistry escapes me. I suppose I’m palate-less.
And wine tastings for the palate-less are akin to fashion shows for the blind — why go through all that trouble when the someone else is going to pick out what you get anyway?
So it was with a wee bit of apprehension that I headed to something called Wine Pairing Canapés at Creation Wines in Hermanus, South Africa.
Creation Wines has been harvesting grapes on this site since 2006. Since then, owners JC and Carolyn Martin have expanded their core winery business to include a restaurant, food and wine tastings, chocolate and wine tastings, cellar tours, and even a vineyard safari on foot for those who want to learn more about the land. Their fancy eBook gives you the full story of Creation Wines.
And what pretty land it is.
But it’s the wine and canapés I’m here for dammit.
And while some of the food was just far too beautiful to eat (I mean…just LOOK at this thing below), I did manage to at least overcome that fear.
Now here’s the part where I make you hungry (and probably a little thirsty too.) The Wine Pairing Canapés menu included the following:
Pineapple and basil gazpacho with scallops (paired with Creation Sauvignon Blanc)
Sweet corn, ginger, apricot spring roll (paired with Creation Viognier)
Avocado, prawn and citrus, vanilla mayonnaise (paired with Creation Chardonnay)
Beetroot, goat’s-milk cheese panna cotta and lentil salsa (paired with Creation Pinot Noir)
Rare roast loin of Springbok with cranberries and sautéed mushrooms (paired with Creation Reserve Pinot Noir)
Cauliflower and gorgonzola soup with sourdough herbed croûtes (paired with Creation Merlot)
Asian five spice pulled pork wonton with prune and Darjeeling purée (paired with Creation Syrah)
Buchu scented duck confit with Malay aioli (paired with Creation Syrah Grenache)
All that for the ridiculous price of 125 Rand (about $11.50 US.)
I’d like to say I’ve now taken to using words like “oaky,” “bouquet,” and “unctuous,” but perhaps that’s a step or two down the road for me. I may have even tried to use some of those terms to describe my beer the other night (I don’t exactly run with the wine crowd), but that just resulted in a lot of stone-faced stares. At least I’m giving it that good old college try.
The thing is, you don’t have to be a wine connoisseur to take in a wine tasting. Isn’t that just the point? Getting your feet (and your palate) wet with something new? The wine waiter explains each wine to you, what to look for, and why it goes well with each canapé. And even if you walk away with zero appreciation (or zero new knowledge) of wine, the drive out there, the atmosphere at the winery, and the entire experience was well worth it. And I’d happily do it again.
Thanks for upping my wine game Creation Wines. Now I suppose I going to need a corkscrew.
Note: I was a guest of Creation Wines during my time in South Africa, but the opinions (and wine hangovers) are all my own.