At the very top of the Hemel en Aarde (Heaven on Earth) wine district lies a young vineyard that encapsulates all that this unique valley is about. This is a tale of the old and new wine worlds coming together to create something extraordinary.
Hemel en Aarde is the youngest wine districts in South Africa, with the current appellations only established in 2006. Here, one of the flagship varietals is Pinot Noir – a true old world style wine that flourishes in this valley, blessed with cool winds from the Atlantic ocean just below. Hemel en Aarde is putting South Africa on the Pinot map, if you ask me. Perhaps this could be the setting for the sequel to Sideways? It sure has all the vital ingredients; spectacular views, world class wine and a touch of romance!
Hemel en Aarde is where a South African wine princess and the heir of a Swiss-French wine dynasty, Carolyn (nee Finlayson) and Jean-Claude Martin, staked a claim and started growing vines on virgin soil. It couldn’t be more romantic if you made it up!
Despite their pedigree, very few though they would make it, and more than one comment about “crazy French people and bullish wine makers’ daughters” were made. But today, the comments about Carolyn and JC are quite different. With awards like Veritas Double Gold and consistently achieving more than 4 stars in the acclaimed Platter Guide, they have shown the world that Creation Wines really is a match made in heaven (realised on earth!).
Apart from award winning wines, Carolyn and JC also run one of the most popular restaurants in the area. They serve uncomplicated but delicious dishes made with what the valley offers; from fresh fruit and vegetables to free range pork and freshly caught fish. My favourite is definitely their creative (pun most definitely intended) tapas and wine-pairing lunches. The kitchen serves up lovely little morsels that pair perfectly with JC’s wines, and look like works of art. The staff are knowledgeable, and will walk you through the tasting experience expertly (without making anyone feel inadequate; a very hard skill indeed in the often uppity wine business).
What I love about Creation, apart from their fantastic wines and amazing food, is the personal touch. Carolyn is in the restaurant most days, helping with service and chatting to guests. The wine making is also truly personal, and JC is one of the few wine makers in the area that is also the vineyard’s viticulturist. Carolyn and JC’s story is certainly a romantic one, but it is also one of hard work and dedication. I’m no sommelier, but to me these are the final ingredients that make their wines truly stand out on the competitive South African wine stage!
More information: http://www.creationwines.com