For Clearview co-owner and winemaker Tim Turvey it matters little that pressing a small quantity of very special grapes can take half a day when there is a way of getting it done that takes barely an hour.

It could be dealt with using a hydraulic press in 50 or so minutes, while the "half a day" method uses a traditional basket press, which is literally hands-on.

"Ah it's the tradition ... a bit more romance to it," he said of the press he bought and installed back in 1988, and which has only been used for seven vintages since then.

But like the very special press, they were all very special vintages as only the finest grapes can reach the high standards for creating the now globally acclaimed Clearview Estate Basket Press line.


"The last one before this was the 2009 so it's been a while," Mr Turvey said.

The latest release is the 2013 Basket Press, which is a cabernet sauvignon dominant Bordeaux-style blend which went through the traditional pressing more than two-and-a-half years ago.

"It has to be an exceptional year for this and 2013 was."

Which was more than underlined after it finally made it to the market, having been fermented in small vats and then transferred to "the best new French oak barrels we can afford" for more than two years.

It has just been launched in Auckland at a two-day gathering of discerning wine consumers and VIP customers where it was declared sublime.

Even in pre-release tastings the Basket Press 2013 won the plaudits. It cleaned up in a double blind tasting by 25 of the region's leading winemakers picking up almost double the points of its nearest rivals.

"It was amazing," Mr Turvey said. "It blitzed everything else."

Mr Turvey said the uniquely pressed wine, of which fewer than 2000 bottles are produced, is "the pinnacle" for him and winemaker Matt Kirby.

The grapes are carefully selected and hand picked with some fruit removed to ensure a low cropping level.

They are then put through the basket press process which is a traditional form of winemaking which goes back hundreds of years.

The 2013 Clearview Estate Basket Press is a blend of 31.5 per cent cabernet sauvignon from their Gimblett Gravels vines, with 31.5 per cent merlot and cabernet franc and 5.5 per cent malbec from the Te Awanga vineyards.

Each bottle comes wrapped in a special hessian coat and while priced among the most expensive New Zealand wines demand is strong.

"It's all about tradition," Mr Turvey said, adding that yes, he'd put a couple away.