Let's Talk Wine; Time to Head South

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By JoAnn Actis-Grande


Posted Jan. 28, 2016 at 4:26 AM

I recently tasted through the portfolio of Mt. Beautiful wines. They are made in the Southern Hemisphere – where it happens to be summer right now!

The vineyards are located in North Canterbury, New Zealand, and the wines are as beautiful as their name.

New Zealand is a country that sits in the middle of the South Pacific, made up of two islands called the North Island and South Island. Both islands produce wine. The North Island is smaller and more populated than the South Island, which is filled with lakes, rivers, glaciers, mountains and volcanoes.

The country has 10 main wine regions. The cooler maritime climate conditions produce wines with very distinct characteristics. The Marlborough region basically put New Zealand on the map as a wine region with its renowned Sauvignon Blanc. White grape varietals dominate the landscapes, and the Rieslings are famous from Canterbury. New Zealand Pinot Noir is some of the best I have tasted.

The North Canterbury wine region can be found on the east coast on the South Island, not far from the Pacific Ocean. Mt. Beautiful wines are the expression of the wild, rugged and breathtakingly scenic region. Only seven miles from the Pacific Ocean, their benevolent namesake, Mt. Beautiful, protects the vineyards from harsh sea winds.

New Zealand native, Dr. David J. Teece, a well-known scholar, author, and entrepreneur, together with his wife Leigh, also accomplished, spent two years searching for the perfect place where they could pioneer an undiscovered region and fulfill their dream of bringing the best of New Zealand to the world. Today, the fruit of their mission is a selection of certified-sustainable, estate-grown, and distinctively restrained wines that let the pure terroir shine through. They also own a working sheep and beef farm surrounding their vineyards that is four times larger.

Mt. Beautiful wines are unique from most New Zealand wines by way of their location in up-and-coming North Canterbury, but they are also different in style. The wine style captures the essence of New Zealand while embracing a more restrained approach. Consulting winemaker Sam Weaver describes the winemaking style as clean wines with "drive" and length of flavor. They show abundant fruit, but “pull in the reins” to manage it with more balance. All of the wines carry the North Canterbury appellation and are 100 percent varietal.

The Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc exceeds expectations with floral aromas and tropical fruit flavors that sustain a smooth balance with each sip. The Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay are delicious, and the Pinot Noir offers violet aromas followed by vibrant berry fruit flavors.

Mt. Beautiful wines are affordable ($16 to $26), easy to drink and pair beautifully with seasonally fresh foods or opened for special occasions.

Look for them at your favorite wine retailer or shop online at www.mtbeautiful.co.nz

Cheers!

JoAnn Actis-Grande travels to many great wine regions all over the world writing about wine, travel, and curious lifestyles. She lives in Portsmouth and can be reached by email at j.actisgrande@gmail.com. Find more of her Let's Talk Wine columns online.

 

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