Creation Wine in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

Part 2 of Stellenbosch Visio‘s exclusive discovery of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley’s vinous treasures…

The temptation is to be swept away by the mind-boggling array of offerings at Creation, a stupendous example of wine-tourism imagination. An assortment of plates filled with creative cuisine are eaten between glugs of wines selected from a long list that matches the delectable morsels. The general buzz and hive of activity at Creation is complemented by majestic scenery. From the farm’s position upon the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, the whole valley opens before it, bordered by mountains high and blue.

Creation’s cellarmaster Jean-Claude Martin in a creative mood.

It was these vistas that grabbed the attention of co-owners JC and Carolyn Martin. With their solid background as descendants of winepioneering families in Switzerland (where JC hails from) and South Africa (Carolyn is a Finlayson), they recognised the tremendous potential of the 40ha of rolling land high up on the ridge. The farm had never been planted to vines before, giving them the freedom to be the creators of their own dream. 

Visiting Creation is loads of fun, especially when JC and Carolyn are around. Carolyn often hauls her husband away from the barrel cellar to regale and educate guests who show more than a passing interest in the extensive range of wines. The joy the Martins derive from interacting with wine lovers resulted in the farm being rated one of the top 50 World’s Best Vineyards to visit and earned it the Best Cellar Door experience in the South African wine industry. Creation has also won this year’s Wine and Food Tourism Award for Innovation. 

Its award-winning wines include Merlot, Grenache and Syrah, but seeing this is Hemel-en-Aarde, it is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that warrant most of the attention and interest.

Right at the top are the Art of Pinot Noir and Art of Chardonnay, both single-vineyard wines showcasing the best of what the very able JC can do with site-specific grapes. The Pinot Noir is dazzling, offering power and muscle along balletic swirls of harmoniously integrated dark fruit, cherry and cured Cuban tobacco. It’s a magnificent example of why Pinot Noir is such an evocative and spell-binding grape. 

Gerhard Smith, Creation’s accomplished wine maker.

Art of Chardonnay offers a lemon-curd moreishness, the flavours of green almond, honeycomb and grapefruit peel harnessed in a refined, creamy texture to provide a lengthy experience of world-class Chardonnay.

The Reserve range of the same varieties are no less in their brilliance, the Pinot Noir especially showing this project of the Martins as being one of the best in South Africa, both in terms of great wine and one-of-a-kind visitor experience.

When visiting the estate, please allow enough time to view the Metamorphosis exhibition, a collaboration between Creation and sculptor Janko de Beer, who shares Carolyn and JC’s spirit of innovation and transforms objects found in nature into art. 

In the restaurant, the FynArts Story of Creation menu co-ordinates each dish with art and music and delivers a total sensory experience of light and elegance.

Those heading out to Creation this summer had better make a reservation, as this place attracts visitors from far and wide – and for good reason.

Co-owners Jean-Claude (JC) and Carolyn Martin are steeped in wine-making tradition.