Notwithstanding heroic individuals who from time to time amaze us, we’ve always thought that teams, partnerships and combinations are more interesting and rewarding.

What a stroke of luck then when TML was invited to share in one of most delicious wine, food and location match-ups possible on this planet.

Firstly take a step through the modest doorway into Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. Simple, elegant and wow!

This Magnificent Life

In the tall windows sits the sky and the world famous Bondi Beach. Step to the glass and look down on a broad bowl of ocean pushing itself and a line of surfers surging towards a long curve of golden sand.

This is surely one of the best-sited restaurants in the world. Yes, the menu matches in magnificence (SMH two hats) majoring of course on its seafood.

Location? Tick.

This Magnificent Life Clare Valley Eyre Peninsula
What a combination!

We are here for a presentation named ‘Clare with Fresh Eyre.’

The Clare Valley is Australia’s premium riesling district, a couple of hours north of South Australia’s capital city Adelaide.

Wines from here can hold their own against any in the world, including Germany. Same grape, slightly different styles. We are to try 18 of them, all fresh from the 2015 vintage.

This Magnificent Life Clare Valley Eyre Peninsula
Chilling down. Note Clare rieslings are all under screwcap for freshness and longevity.

Wine? Tick.

The Eyre Penninsula ,west of Adelaide, is a spectacular source of seafood. Below its low cliffs is the Southern Ocean rolling uninterrupted down to the Antarctic. John Susman of Fishtales at the Sydney Fishmarkets, who has organised today’s saltwater produce, describes the ‘marroir’ (briny equivalent of ‘terroir’) of Eyre with its upswelling purity of nutrients, mingled with freshwater rising through the seabed. He enthuses about the greatest range of any seaport in Australia.

Today he has chosen oysters, kingfish, Southern Bluefin tuna and calamari.

This Magnificent Life Clare Valley Eyre Peninsula
Pristine oysters. Meyer lemon and eschallot vinegar. Whipped prosecco vinaigrette, gold. Basil oil, sorbella tomato seeds and crispy onion.

Food? Tick.

With Pacific oysters from Coffin Bay presented three ways, we taste the first bracket: Claymore, Crabtree, Kilikanoon, Kirrihill, Mitchell and Mount Horrocks. These are all from the Watervale sub region where the richer red soil encourages a generosity of fruit with almost tropical notes, but finishing crisp. The match with the enhanced oysters is immaculate.


This Magnificent Life Clare Valley Eyre Peninsula
Marinated hiramasa kingfish, crisy rice, radish & kingfish caviar beside crudo hiramasa kingfish bruschetta, pickled kohlrabi & sorrel

Second course a Hiramasa kingfish bruschetta alongside marinated kingfish with its caviar. The wines are all from Polish Hill: Riesling Freak, Hill River, Paulett, Pikes, Shut the Gate and Wilson Vineyard. This subregion has less fertile soil forcing the vines to work harder. Here you expect more austerity, limey, flinty characters which can see these wines age 20 or 30 years.

Then comes sashimi tuna settled under a mussel cracker and baby calamari in cavatelli pasta and crispy ink.

Thi Magnificent Life Clare Valey
Mori Southern Bluefin tuna & mussel cracker, horseradish & beetroot

With these delights sit wines from other corners of the Clare north and south: Gaelic Cemetery, Jim Barry, Knappstein, Naked Run, Sevenhill and Taylors. Each a hallmarked Clare riesling but each with its subtleties and nuances.

Superb seafood and fine riesling overlooking the bountiful sea?

That is close to a perfect partnership.

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Ian MacTavish

Mr MacTavish is a celebrated writer and one of Australia's more respected Wine reviewers, appearing regularly in national magazines, in print and on line. So far, he has never been heard to say 'no' to a wee dram.

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