Remember that time that I went to Capitol for a Serisen wine dinner that cost $85 and was fricking amazing? Well it turns out that there’s something similar happening every month at Cellar-Vate, but for only $35! Holy crap! So, in order to investigate this phenomenon for you, my dear reader, my fearless dining companion Karen and I subjected ourselves to six courses of food matched with Clearview wines last night. Oh the humanity.

It’s such a hardship to sit down to dine with new people just waiting to become your friends, Rachel from Cellarvate who took the time to explain her menu selections, and two people from the winery to chat to. Food was served on communal plates, and while it wasn’t huge amounts of anything, even Karen and I, who do like our food a lot, left satisfied. You need to go to Cellar Vate on Molesworth and ask them to put you on their mailing list so you can come along to the next diner. The menu after the jump.

Clearview Estate Semillon 07 – Artichoke and green bean salad, chive and lime vinaigrette There isn’t a huge amount of Semillon available by itself (not mixed with Sav), but with wines this nice, there really should be. People said that the food really brought out the citrus flavours in the wine, but I was too busy being happy eating artichokes that weren’t all briney like hearts normally are.

Clearview Estate Gewürztraminer 07 – Tasting spoon of seared scallop, asian vinegar with feijoa essence The Clearview reps were a little hesitant about how the feijoa would sit with the wine, but it turned out to be brilliant match, but the consensus was that there was a little too much vinegar, which didn’t reflect well on the wine. I’m normally a big gewurzt fan, but this was a tiny bit too mild for my liking. Don’t get me wrong though, it was still very drinkable, but I like my gewurzt to have a bit more ooomph.

Clearview Estate Beachhead Chardonnay 07 – White fish and potato cake in oatmeal crumb, preserved lemon, tartare This was the second-best match of the night, and oh my god it was divine. The fishcakes were fluffy and full of life, rather than the chewy things you might have had at Thai restaurants, and the wine was lightly oaked, and oh so sublime. Mmmmmm.

Clearview Estate Reserve Cabernet Franc 06 – Peppered lamb fillet (medium rare), blackberry jus Some argued that the lamb was a little too peppery, and that it could have been a little pinker, but the blackberry sauce was outstanding, so much so that each piece of lamb had to be double-dipped into it. The Cabernet Franc was scrumptious too, really really smooth for a 2006, and without any puckery tannins. I went to the bathroom at this stage, and when I came back there was more wine in my glass, which tasted completely different without the food, so I thought we’d moved on to the merlot. But no, it was just a different nuance to the Cabernet Franc. Splendid.

Clearview Estate Merlot Franc 06 – Venison pastie, onion-tomato chutney Nom nom nom. Filo pastries filled with minced venison? Yes please. I thought the wine match was absolutely perfect too, although some questioned the sweetness of the chutney. Some people talk too much, I think. I wish I could have had a thousand more pastries.

Clearview Estate Sea Red dessert wine 06 – Chilli chocolate Oh. My. God. Oh. My. God. Karen tried saying something about this, but I held up my hand in her direction (I had my eyes closed) and told her to leave me alone with my mouth. Oh my god. Seriously, wow. Just, wow. The Sea Red was a rich rich sweeter wine, fortified with brandy up to 17.5% alcohol, and it was ever so slightly salty. The chilli chocolate from Shoc was also rich and smooth and with just a little bit of a kick. The two together in your mouth was like the most awesome thing I’ve had in there all year, and I’ve had a lot of good things in my mouth this year. Again, wow, just wow. This will be what the McLeods are eating for Xmas this year, even if the Sea Red is $37 for a half bottle. See you at the next dinner!