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Inside Cloudy Bay with Tim Heath

It may have put New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc firmly on the world wine map, but Cloudy Bay has so much more to offer. With winemaker Tim Heath at the helm the iconic winery continues to deliver quality styles while bringing wine lovers into its heart.

His arrival at Cloudy Bay in 2005 saw him join a legacy of winemaking with the winery’s world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc as well as a growing repertoire of quality grape varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris but he remains adamant that rather than trying to cater for new tastes or different palates the only motivating factor for him is to make wines that best reflect the quality of the region.

Tim says: “We’ve never tried to make wine to cater for a particular taste or for ‘wine fashion’ as such. We’ve always aimed to make what we think is an excellent expression of the places in which we grow our grapes.

“We’ve never sat down and written out a particular recipe – it’s always been about interpreting what’s in front of you and what’s hanging on the vine”.

As well as continuing Cloudy Bay’s key styles Tim’s keen to use his creative freedom to experiment in the vineyard: “We make a Riesling here – some of these productions are really small – we don’t make a lot of them but that’s fun, it allows us to take some liberty with what we’re doing and experiment with some extreme styles.

“There’s a real element of pioneering and innovation that runs through a lot of our wine making”.

The Cloudy Bay approach to making quality wines balances trying to keep an open mind in terms of what happens in the vineyard with the ability to make some brave choices: “We always respect the personality of each wine we make. There are certain things that each wine displays on a regular basis and that over time can become part of a wines’ identity. It’s important as a wine maker to respect those characters but it should never get to a point where you’re afraid to make changes.

“You have to keep things evolving.”

Cloudy Bay also maintains a key focus on connecting with its legions of fans – from its welcoming Cellar Door (located at the winery itself) offering a series of unique seasonal and personal tasting menus, one-off events and expertly led masterclasses, wine lovers can experience first-hand what makes Cloudy Bay so special.

“We offer exclusive events occasionally which give special access to the people behind Cloudy Bay – for example, the events we run in partnership with Platinum from American Express – in 2011 we had a tasting in the Moet Hennessey UK Offices in London which was a wonderful experience.

“We have another exciting Cloudy Bay tasting event in the pipeline for autumn 2012 which will be held for Platinum members at our new Moet Hennessey UK Offices.

“We also run a series of events each year – one of which is called Pinot at Cloudy Bay (now in its 13th year) where we celebrate Pinot Noir as a whole. We get about 20 different wines from all over the world and pull them apart and enjoy what makes Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir.

“Another event we have is called Forage, which encourages people to look around the region to see what else is going on other than wine.”

Read the second-part of Decanter’s interview with Tim Heath and find out more about Cloudy Bay and the Platinum Card® from American Express here.

Experience the Platinum Lifestyle

Make Your World More Special with the Platinum Card® from American Express

We know our Platinum members like to get the most out of life, that’s why we’ve curated an extensive range of benefits to enable them to live life to the full.

Through the Platinum Curated partnerships, members are able to take advantage of bespoke events ranging from pop-up restaurants bringing together some of Britain’s greatest Michelin-starred chefs to a soirée on craftsmanship with Montblanc.

Last year, Platinum members enjoyed a tutored-tasting session with Marlborough’s Cloudy Bay at the world famous Moet Hennessey UK Offices, London. This October, members have been invited once again to the Moet Hennessey UK Offices to join the winery’s chief winemaker, Tim Heath, for an exclusive sampling of the new Sauvignon Blanc 2012 varietal before it goes on general sale.

Our dedicated Platinum Concierge team is on hand 24/7 and is always ready to rise to the challenge, however big or small. Using their insider know-how the team help members discover some of the finest wines and greatest dining experiences out there, whether that’s securing tables at the most sought-after restaurants, providing access to exclusive culinary events or securing little added extras, such as a complimentary glass of Champagne on arrival or a complimentary dessert, when Platinum members dine out at over 50 leading UK restaurants.

To find out more about the wide range of travel, lifestyle and other benefits you could receive as a Platinum member click here.*

Existing Platinum members can learn more about the upcoming event at the Moet Hennessy UK Offices in London, and register their interest in attending by calling the Platinum Concierge team on the number on the back of your Card.

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Written by Decanter

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