Greg Miller opened Esk Valley’s newest restaurant this week and after visiting the Linden Estate winery grounds that the restaurant overlooks, we can see what took Greg with the spot. “I’ve been looking for a place of my own for the last few months and stumbled across it. It’s a treasure nestled in the heart of Esk Valley.” says Greg. Valley D Vine promises to be a destination where locals can go for a winery restaurant experience without the winery price tag. “We want to make wineries affordable in Hawke’s Bay.” says Greg. The name Valley D Vine represents both the Esk Valley area the restaurant overlooks and the divine beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Valley D Vine provides the perfect opportunity for Greg to share his passion of food with large groups. There is over 100 seats in total between inside, the outdoor BBQ area and the outdoor valley deck area. For those of you who have been to Linden Estate Winery before, you’ll notice quite a few changes. “We’ve landscaped a new platform where the best view of the valley is to extend the outdoor seating, the gazebo is getting new night lighting and we’re eventually add an art gallery next to the kitchen.” says Greg.
The Winemaker Trevor Shephard joins us briefly at Valley D Vine to talk about what’s happening with the vines overlooking the restaurant. “Esk Valley is mostly hill sites and provides a unique micro climate for the grapes. It’s noticeably different so we can grow all white and red varieties here. It’s not like any other winery.” says Trevor. For the wine buffs, Trevor tells me that they hand harvest and go for a super low cropping of 5 tonne a hectare. For the non-wine buffs, that means they’re trying to make the wine balance and harmonise in the vineyard naturally. I ask Trevor for his pick to try at Valley D Vine, “Our estate range is very very good, it will match a Hawke’s Bay reserve any day.”
In addition to the Linden range, you will also be able to choose wine by the glass from the full De Le Terre Winery range or Hawke’s Ridge. In terms of the dishes being served up, there’s a locals evening available every Thursday. Next week is braised beef cheek on potato puree, wilted greens and air dried tomato with bacon shallot jus. At $17.50 for a main, Valley D Vine has embraced the movement of affordable dining in Hawke’s Bay. “We’re extending affordability right through to our wedding packages. Where else can you get a wedding package for $50 per head including a three course meal.” says Greg.
I went for dinner at Valley D Vine on the Thursday locals evening to try a couple of dishes I’d been looking forward to. First up was the confit of pork, rolled with carraway seeds, fennel and coriander seeds on a base of roasted kumara and carrots. What you might miss in the photo is the sweet slice of pineapple nestled in between. The crackling was crispy and the pork super flavoursome having taken on some of the flavours of the duck fat it was roasted in. Alongside the pork, I tried one of the more competitive dishes in the Hawke’s Bay restaurant scene – the humble calamari. The calamari is tender, the seasoning flavours well balanced and the beautiful garden salad bounding with subtle
flavours. Definitely a good entree to start. With the selection of wine, there’s enough to keep you entertained, but if you’re feeling like something new, try the Tannat variety, a unique grape harvested by De Le Terre winery that has apparent ‘botox-like’ health benefits. It’s high level of tannins not found in other varieties that gives this wine it’s apparent cholesterol lowering properties I’m told. If you’re not swayed by the health aspects, enjoy this wine for it’s big rich taste and long finish.Esk Valley can seem far further out than it actually is. Although you will pass highway signs pointing to Taupo, the drive from Taradale is no further than the drive to Havelock North or Hastings at around 17 minutes to drive 17km’s. At $17.50 a main, that’s a distance even hyperlocal residents will be tempted to drive.
Valley D Vine is open Wednesday 10am till 4pm Thursday to Saturday 10am till close and Sunday 10am till 4pm.
- Valley D Vine opens its door offering an affordable winery restaurant experience @valleydvine.Tweet
- Greg Miller is now owner and head chef at Valley D Vine. Tweet
- BBQ parties, wild food festivals and top NZ musical talent are all promised for summer 2012. Tweet