As Clearview Estate approaches 30 years, there is no sign of slowing down. Proprietor Tim Turvey purchased 20 ha of land out at Te Awanga on the Hawke’s Bay coast in 1986 for $76,000 and set out establishing a vineyard and the buildings required to maintain it and make wine. Ironically, the site was the former Vidal #2 vineyard! Those who know Tim are cognizant of his boundless energy and enthusiasm, and it is easy to see how the wine venture has grown without let up. It has been all hands-on with Tim personally “driving in the nails and making the tanks”. With his first crops impending he learnt about winemaking, a self-teaching affair over 1988 and 1989. The first vintages yielded around 3 tonnes of fruit, but as typical of what happens at Clearview, it has grown. His partner Helma van den Beg insisted on having a restaurant, which was built in 1991, and this has become one of Hawke’s Bay’s favourite winery dining establishment, the restaurant not only serving very good food, but serving as an important branding tool. Tim and Clearview quickly became known for Chardonnay, and from the very start, these wines won top awards in wine shows and in magazine tastings. I remember as a retailer bemoaning the fact that our allocation of the ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay was only 3 bottles for the year, or 6 bottles if we were lucky!
Clearview still has the reputation as being a producer of top Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay, but now makes first-class Bordeaux-style wines, as well as a plethora of other varieties and styles. Tim recently purchased land from his neighbours in Te Awanga and extended his plantings by another 4+ hectares. This provides approximately 90% of his grape requirement, sourcing the rest from Gimblett Road in Hawke’s Bay, as well as Pinot Noir from Larry McKenna in Martinborough. The annual crush is around 200 tonnes, and Tim has had the help of a winemaker over the last 14 years, the first 16 doing it all himself. Barry Riwai was his first ‘right hand man’, and now the enthusiastic Matt Kirby has taken over that role, being with Tim for two vintages now. Clearview makes 28 different wines from 13 different varieties, so it is clear that the quantities of each wine are relatively small, rendering Clearview still a ‘boutique’ producer. Tim will be planting Riesling, strangely the one classic variety he has managed to omit over all the years. www.clearviewestate.co.nz
The irrepressible Tim Turvey – Clearview Estate
The irrepressible Tim Turvey – Clearview Estate
Degustation Dinner at Shed 5
Tim and Clearview are well-known in Wellington, but nowadays he visits the capital infrequently, as he has the very capable Lisa Clarke managing the sale and marketing here. So it was an extra incentive to attend a degustation dinner at Shed 5 restaurant on Queen’s Wharf, knowing that Tim Turvey was going to be in attendance. Shed 5 specialises in wine and food matched events under the guidance of long-serving manager Astrid Cottereau, and chef Geoff Ngan excels in producing wonderful cuisine. Every meal I’ve had there has been first-class. It was a memorable night, with Tim telling his story, tasting a diverse range of Hawke’s Bay wines that opened your eyes beyond Chardonnay, Bordeaux-varietals and Syrah. Clearview certainly masters a wide and diverse range of wines. And of course, the excellent food courses form the kitchen of Shed 5, delivered effortlessly and with a smile on all of the waiting staff. Following are my notes on the wines served and the food matches. I provide my scores on the wines and pricing ex-winery. www.shed5.co.nz
The Menu Card and Wine Matches
· Clearview ‘Black Reef’ Blush 2016 (17.0+/20) $19.00
An interesting and unusual wine to serve on arrival, this being weightier than most other rosé wines. But the size of the wine, as indicated by the darker colour indicated plenty of substance and red wine character to deliver plenty of flavour. Soft in texture, but with some fruit sweetness and acidity still to fill the mouth with sweet and savoury flavours. Described by Tim as a “rosé with balls”. Merlot and Malbec with a significant amount of Chambourcin, 12.5% alc. and 6.2 g/L RS. An amazingly popular wine with a production of over 3,000 cases annually!
Chevre mousse, cippolini onion, manuka honey, grissini, smoked paprika tuile:
· Clearview Te Awanga Gewurztraminer 2015 (17.5/20) $19.00
Pale coloured wine with aromas and flavours more in the root ginger spectrum than rose-petals and Turkish Delight, which do eventually become revealed. Plenty of body and richness at 14.1% lc. and 7.2 g/L RS, enough to counter any suggestion of bitterness. A lovely, easy and gentle match with the chevre mousse, with the savoury onion being enhanced and the paprika more noticeable with the wine. The richness of the wine integrating with the food elements, and the flavours settling beautifully.
Raw seafood salad, Kaipara oyster, Cloudy Bay diamond shell clam, Akaroa salmon, N.Z. blue fin tuna, seaweed salad, pickled radishes, wasabi caviar vinaigrette and avocado mousse:
· Clearview Te Awanga Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (17.0+/20) 19.00
On initial tasting, quite delicate and shy, quite tightly bound with riper fruit aromas and flavours, almost tropical fruits with a touch of herbs and green stonefruits. Quite shy, and the acidity quite restrained. No oak, 12.6% alc. and 4.51 g/L RS. With the seafood salad, quite sensational. All elements of the food were enlivened and enhanced with greater piquancy. The wine took on a life it didn’t show on its own. Here the wine expression became more detailed, and the food components had another dimension added. The food flavours were allowed to speak with great clarity. A wonderful match, one of the best of the meal.
Venison tartare, capers, gherkins, shallot, chive, radish, shaved macadamia, yolk, smoked puttanesca ketchup, olive oil ciabatta crostini
· Clearview ‘Cape Kidnappers’ Syrah 2015 (18.0/20) $25.00
Very dark, purple-red colour with intense and tightly bound ripe black fruit aromas and flavours. Lovely aromatics, with violet and black and blue florals, a hint of black pepper. On palate silky smooth with very fine-grained tannins, perfectly expressed with the fruit sweetness. I saw this as youthful and still to develop, but Tim could already see complexities emerging. This is second crop from the vines and the wine has 20% whole bunches and 10% new oak. There is a 2015 ‘Reserve’ Syrah in the works with 50-60% whole cluster, and a 2016 Syrah with 100% whole cluster. Watch this Syrah space! The venison tartare was an excellent dish with richness and texture, and subtle flavours all interacting – until the egg yolk was burst. The yolk brought together and held all the food components as one, but the wine just couldn’t cut through its palate coating nature.
Seared Tasmanian scallops, confit salmon, pancetta wrapped blue cod, warm truffle potato and broad bean salad, shallots, watercress, corn puree, black garlic and lemon aioli
· Clearview ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay 2014 (19.5/20) $36.00
This is Clearview ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay as we know it, and at its best. Light golden coloured and fully concentrated with dense aromas and flavours of ripe stonefruits, citrus fruits, mealy and nutty layers, creamy barrel-ferment unctuousness, with subtle notes of flint and minerals, smoke and toast. Excellent acid cut and balance, brightness and just enough textural structure. This is magnificent. 14.5% alc. and aged predominantly in new French oak barriques. The seafood course was about as rich and creamy as could be, without the integrity of the seafood components being hidden. But I found the wine almost too much and too full-on for the dish. Others revelled in the match. It was, however a very good match, though the wine to me was a meal in itself.
Savannah grass fed eye fillet, crayfish and fennel salad, ox tail tortellini, parsnip puree, horseradish cream, mustard cress, black truffle jus
· Clearview ‘Old Olive Block’ 2014 (19.0+/20) $36.00
A beautifully elegant, sumptuous and sweetly rich, supple wine that allows immediate accessibility and enjoyment, but clearly with a future of another 6-8+ years ahead. Black-red in colour, with ripe blackcurrant and cassis aromas and flavours, then hints of liquorice and black plums. The juiciness and very supple tannins forming the heart of the wine. Yet, this exudes sheer elegance. ‘Only’ 13.1% alc., 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 6% Malbec from Te Awanga and Gimblett fruit. The immediate match was with the oxtail tortellini. Perfect interaction, bringing out the richness, sweetness and touch of exotics in both, with game complexities. The fennel enhanced positively and the wine cassis more in relief. A fair match with the steak though the wine could have had more extract and tannin grip to work with the meat’s textures.
Pedro Ximinez and prune crème brulee, blood orange gel, citrus and lychee salad, orange and cardamom mousse, almond and vanilla Madeleine
· Clearview Late Harvest Chardonnay 2012 (18.0-/20) $36.00 (375 ml)
Deep golden-yellow colour. Full and soft with ripe stonefruit and tropical fruits, honey and marmalade. This has botrytis and varietal integrity. Some nutty oak and savoury secondary flavours, but the mouthfeel still refreshing and zesty from the acidity. Just beginning to show a touch of grip on the finish. Fermented and aged 18 months in French oak, 14.5% alc. and 80 g/L RS. The tell-tale secondary savouriness meant drink soon to me, but Tim assured me the acidity was the key to a good life ahead. With the dessert, the wine came alive when match citrus elements and mousse, the acidity proving to be the magical element. The wine flavours melded with the more savoury nuances of the food.. The PX and prune crème brulee, though delicious was a touch too heavy for the wine.
Blue cheese “cigar” – Gorgonzola dolce, quince, ginger snap
· Clearview ‘Sea Red’ NV (17.5/20) $36.00 (500 ml)
Black-red colour, this shows very ripe black fruit aromas and flavours. Raisins and boysenberries with spice notes. Fruit cake and layers of savoury dried fruit richness. Near unctuous, but cut by the fine alcohol line and soft tannin grip. Decadent with a savoury and spicy twist. The ripest red fruit, with some shrivelling, the wine based on Malbec, this being a 6 vintage blend. Lightly fortified to 17.5% alc., with 180 g/L RS. With the “cigar”, the wine’s sweetness and richness was boosted, and the blue cheese flavour became more mellow. An idiosyncratic match which found my favour.