Wednesday June 20, 2018
Mt. Beautiful Winery made it to the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival this year. Our Western Regional Sales Manager Tiffany Tonnerre had a fantastic time sharing tastes of Mt. Beautiful with trade, media and consumers alike.
Mt. Beautiful Winery made it to the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival this year. Our Western Regional Sales Manager Tiffany Tonnerre had a fantastic time sharing tastes of Mt. Beautiful with trade, media and consumers alike.
Decanter, Tastings Team - June 1, 2018
"Great Value Wines For the Weekend Under £20
Calling all Chardonnay lovers – this weekend we bring you a collection of single varietal and blended examples from around the world. Including expertly rated wines from France, Australia, Chile and United Kingdom."
Our 2016 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay was selected as one of the ten featured!
"Lovely fruit concentration on the nose leads to a lingering palate full of stone fruit and moreish complexity. Good crispness and it will evolve with time, despite the touch of heat on the finish." 91 Points
Musings By the Glass, Seth Buckley - May 23, 2018
"The Pineapple-Kiwi Combination: Maui Food and Wine Festival Plays Host to Mt. Beautiful Winery
A pineapple-kiwi convergence may sound like the commencement of a smoothie expedition. In this post, however, it is a far more delightful (and a touch inebriating) sojourn to the shores of Maui with one of New Zealand’s great wineries. A tropical vinous adventure packed with sunshine, wine and, most assuredly, a modicum of frivolity.
Okay, I admit, this post isn’t entirely new. I would characterize it more as an amended and restated post -- new and improved! -- from an earlier bargain Pinot Noir featuring Mt. Beautiful Winery. That post is no longer active so I was patiently perusing other opportunities to revisit this tremendous winery and recommend a few tasty food pairings for its wines that are available locally in Honolulu. I discovered the perfect occasion in the Winery’s event travel itinerary...
The Kiwis are coming, the Kiwis are coming! The Island of Maui plays host to Mt. Beautiful Winery, among other notable vineyards, at the Kapalua Food and Wine Festival on June 7-10. A chance to highlight one of my favorite New Zealand wineries and a Maui food and wine festival all in one post? I will cheerfully take that deal.
Kapalua Food and Wine Festival
The Kapalua Food and Wine Festival, entering its 37th year (!), is a paradisaical epicurean destination event definitely worth [inebriated] exploration. Master chefs and prestigious vineyards collide in an accord of flavor and vibrancy that is certain to impress any palate. Hosted by the Kapalua Resort, luxury and style meet for the ultimate food and wine experience.
From grand tastings to more intimate cooking demonstrations, a diverse and talented array of chefs are on hand to ensure that the senses are mystified and satiated. But dazzlement with the event's culinary curiosities is only half the fun. The winemakers journeying to Maui are eager to share their wine and stories, and spread a little wisdom concerning viticultural lessons they have learned along the way.
Regional and varietal-specific seminars are specially designed to satisfy the very wonkish of tendencies. Wine geeks rejoice! All of the seminars provide extraordinarily useful information that is made pertinent through the tasting experience. Inebriated sensory analysis: the best method of education. This year the seminars are exciting and diverse, ranging from the sand and fog of Santa Maria Valley in a regional spotlight, to an examination of Cabernet Franc, undoubtedly one of my favorite red grape varietals. In Hawaii, these experiences are rarely available, so be sure to mark your calendars and take advantage of the oenophile convergence in Kapalua.
For locals, there are few events in Hawaii that showcase world-class wines and epicurean talent on this scale, and we should ardently take advantage when they are presented. For tourists, this is most certainly a destination event around which you should plan your next vacation. Incredible food and tasty vinous beverages in a tropical setting? Sounds like a festival made in paradise that is not to be missed. Will I be seeing you in June?
Mt. Beautiful Winery
One of the preeminent factors favoring a Maui pilgrimage to the food and wine festival is intimate access to world-class wineries. This year, amongst the numerous prodigious vineyards, Mt. Beautiful Winery takes a well-deserved rotation in the spotlight.
Mt. Beautiful Winery is wonkish heaven. It’s founder, David Teece, is [obviously] an oenophile, but he doubles as a professor of Global Business and Economics at the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and has authored over 30 books. For me, trained in global business law and economics, I have discovered a new vinous exemplar. Hail to the geeks.
Mt. Beautiful also makes it easy to feel good about yourself while sipping your refreshing inebriating beverage. Committed to sustainable farming methods, holistic vineyard management and alternative bottle closure methods (which bottle closure lore I explored in this post), Mt. Beautiful ensures that its practices assist in safeguarding the picturesque landscape famous to New Zealand. The world needs more wineries like Mt. Beautiful (and regions like New Zealand) that wholeheartedly embrace and emphasize the importance of sustainable viticultural practices. Well, since we are on the topic of New Zealand ...
The Real Reviews, Bob Campbell MW - May 22, 2018
North Canterbury Photo Credit NZWG
"The Hillsides and Plains of North Canterbury
I define the North Canterbury wine region as the northern part of Canterbury from Amberley north. That embraces the North Canterbury capital, Waipara, as well as Waikari (home to Bell Hill and Pyramid Valley), Cheviot (Mt Beautiful) and Kaikoura (Esses).
Waipara’s wine producers worked hard to gain recognition for Waipara as a subregion of Canterbury a decade or two ago. It’s ironic that a growing number now prefer to be recognised as North Canterbury producers rather than Waipara. Pronunciation difficulties in export markets and confusion with Wairarapa have been cited as reasons for the change.
Every wine region needs a hero producer or two. Waipara has Pegasus Bay and Greystone, both moderately large winemakers with a strong quality focus. However, the wider North Canterbury region embraces the even more heroic producers Bell Hill and Pyramid Valley, both only a 15-minute drive in a westerly direction from Waipara.
NZ Winegrowers show the producing vineyard area of Waipara in 2018 as 1,257 hectares (ha), or about 3.5% of the national vineyard area. Sauvignon blanc is the leading variety with 355 ha, slightly ahead of pinot noir (341 ha) and Riesling (254 ha). Pinot gris is the fourth most planted variety (183 ha).
Waipara is nine kilometres from the coast but is protected from cooling sea breezes by the Teviotdale Hills. The region experiences dry, hot summers and drought conditions that made it unsuitable for viticulture and marginal for grazing unto the Glenmark irrigation scheme was established in the early 1980s. Hot, dry northwest winds reduce vine vigour and contribute to grape ripeness and concentration.
Some years ago I was invited to a wine tasting by Waipara’s wine producers. The organisers had divided the wines into two types: hillside and plains. Wines made from grapes grown on the free-draining gravel were ripe, vibrant and slightly lighter than the more robust wines from richer clay-laced hillside soils some of which contain limestone deposits.
When asked some years ago where I would choose to establish a vineyard in New Zealand if I was brave enough to do so, I chose Waipara because I thought that cost of viable vineyard land was undervalued and that the region offered great potential. The price of land and the reputation of Waipara wines has risen significantly since then but the region is still my first choice. I’d head for the hills or follow the lead of Bell Hill and Pyramid Valley and grow chardonnay and pinot noir in the limestone-rich soils around Waikari."
The Globe and Mail, Beppi Crosariol - May 16, 2018
"Why New Zealand Wines Are Worth Searching Out
Spellbinding sauvignon blanc secured New Zealand’s place on the world wine map back in the 1980s. But how’s this for irony: The island nation has since gone missing. Nobody can seem to find it, cartographically speaking. Cast your eyes to the south and east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and all you see is crystal-blue Pacific Ocean.
I’m only half-joking. New Zealand’s omission from no shortage of less-than-authoritative world maps has become a source of amusement and frustration to many in the country – the equivalent of a map of Canada without Newfoundland or Prince Edward Island. It’s also the theme of a hilarious short video featuring New Zealand’s awesome Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. (Yes, I’ll be serving up a wine angle shortly, so bear with me through the political content.)
Produced for Tourism New Zealand, the video went viral earlier this month and stars Kiwi comedian-writer Rhys Darby, best known for playing the band manager in the Flight of the Conchords TV series. In the role of a dim-witted investigator, Darby phones an amused Ardern, who plays herself, promising her he’ll get to the bottom of the mapmaking conspiracy.
“We’re quite a fiddly-looking-shaped country,” he tells her on the phone, “a bit like a half-eaten lamb chop. Perhaps people are just leaving us off thinking we’re a mistake.” Well, that’s his runner-up theory, offered at the end. His main suspicion actually comes with some digging.
Darby pores over the evidence, including maps from Starbucks, IKEA, a Spanish in-flight magazine and an English Rugby World Cup promo, among others. Embarrassingly for Canada, Vancouver makes a cameo as Darby tacks up a real photo on his bulletin board of the giant (and clearly New Zealand-free) metal globe outside the city’s International Village mall.
Finally, Darby turns his suspicions to his country’s constant rival, Australia. A quick internet search reveals that Australian tourist numbers have been on the rise, presumably thanks to New Zealand’s airbrushed disappearance. And, yes, another important sector is under threat. “Our wine!” Darby says to himself while gazing at an abbreviated world wine map. “Sacre Bleu! Sneaky Frenchies.”
He phones in his brainstorm to Ardern, whom he amusingly refers to as “Your Highness.” Australia wants New Zealand’s tourists, he declares. England clearly wants to get rid of the mighty All Blacks rugby team once and for all. “And the wine industry – they can’t beat our pinot or sav!”
The tourism campaign has its own Twitter hashtag: #getnzonthemap, which captures the self-effacing humour so pervasive in that gorgeous, tiny country of 4.7 million. I’m not sure about every point in Darby’s conspiracy theory, but I am certain the French, and most other wine-producing nations, ought to be nervous about the consistent quality of New Zealand wine. It may not yet compete with France or Italy in the high-stakes game of trophy wines or quirky, old-vine curiosities (its industry is mere decades old), but I’d say unequivocally that no country yields more consistent quality from producer to producer and vintage to vintage. Any world wine map that would leave out New Zealand gets a big fail in my geography course.
Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir 2015, New Zealand
SCORE: 93 PRICE: $37.95
The winery sits in the shadow of its namesake, a peak north of Christchurch in North Canterbury on New Zealand’s South Island. It’s also distinguished for the high intellectual standing of its founder, David Teece, a Kiwi who lives in California, where he is a professor in global business at the University of California, Berkeley. He’s also the author of more than 30 books and was named by international professional-services company Accenture as one of the world’s top-50 business intellectuals. More importantly, he makes superb wine, such as this concentrated, creamy and flawless pinot. Voluptuous for pinot noir, yet remarkably unsweet, it delivers ripe berry fruit infused with hints of coffee, baking spice and cedar. In Burgundy, you’d have to pay $150 for this sort of pleasure. Alas, quantities are extremely limited. Available in select Ontario Vintages stores."
2018 marks the second year Mt. Beautiful has sponsored Backcountry Discovery Routes ("BDR"). (See the 2017 sponsorship post here)
BDR is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization whose mission is to establish and preserve off-highway routes for dual-sport and adventure motorcycle travel. They work with land managers, state tourism departments and rural communities to keep backcountry roads accessible to motorcyclists.
Being an adventure rider himself and someone who values access to off highway routes, it was a no brainer for Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins to once again support the Backcountry Discovery Routes mission via a wine sponsorship.
Robert Watkins, CEO of Mt. Beautiful
In addition to extending a year round discount to BDR members for wine purchases made from the online shopping cart, Mt. Beautiful sponsors the "happy hours" and Winemaker Dinner at BDR's annual fundraiser. Each year the fundraiser is hosted at a different location within the United States. This year it was located just outside Zion National Park in Utah.
In attendance were roughly 80 male and female adventure-hungry motorcyclists ready to explore the scenic byways and off highway roads in the area. Needless to say, there were plenty of routes to explore!
The routes varied in length from 100 miles to close to 250 miles, traversing incredibly scenic areas such as the rim of the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park to name a couple.
Prior to heading out on a ride, each rider would consult with BDR's Director of Route Development, Rob Watt, to discuss the routes and load up tracks in their GPS units. Riding in a group was highly encouraged, and many were able to find their riding partners over dinner or breakfast.
Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins and Marketing Manager Suzanna Mannion participated in this year's fundraiser, trailering their dual sport bikes from Northern California to Utah. There were others in attendance who drove even farther; some hailing all the way from Maine and even the southern tip of Florida!
Robert and Suzanna were there to represent the wines of course, but also to have some fun riding their dual sport bikes, as it's a shared passion of theirs.
Keep scrolling to view additional photos from this event.
To learn more about BDR or find out ways you can support them, visit BDR's website at ridebdr.com.
Suzanna Mannion, Mt. Beautiful's Marketing Manager (who may or may not have received a lot of flack for wearing her sun hat during the lunch break on the trail).
Rob Watt - BDR's Director of Route Development (bio)
Group shot of those who have attended all five BDR spring fundraisers.
Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc had never been to Zion National Park before, so Suzanna took a bottle for a ride on her 2001 Honda XRL.
Fundraiser participants seated around the campfire swapping stories about rides they want on that day, rides they plan on doing the following day and brainstorming ways to further the BDR mission.
Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir was a hit at each evening's happy hour and at the Winemaker Dinner, served alongside two other Mt. Beautiful wines.
Here is Bill Whitacre raffling off a Klim helmet. He is a BDR supporter who masterfully administers their silent auction during the fundraiser weekend. In half an hour's time, they raised over $80,000!
L to R: Tracy Jeffries, Suzanna Mannion and Inna Thorn holding up the "Ride Right" campaign sign.
TR, a BDR supporter / rider and paramedic, offered an hour discussion about what he packs in his emergency medical kit as well as how to use each item.
SipNZwine.com - May 4, 2018
We love that Sip New Zealand Wine featured us in their "Sip Sav in Style this #SauvBlanc Day" post!
Fosters.com, JoAnn Actis-Grande - May 3, 2018
"Tomorrow, May 4, is International Sauvignon Blanc Day! Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape produced all over the world and rising in popularity as more and more wine lovers enjoy wines that are lower in alcohol and easy to drink.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape prefers living in cooler climates where they bud late, but ripen faster than other grapes. The wine is usually dry, always refreshing, and produces a variety of styles, textures, and flavors - depending on where it’s grown. The majority of Sauvignon Blanc comes from France, in the famous Bordeaux and Loire Valley. Lately California and New Zealand have been taking the lead in planting new vineyards. Other popular regions are Italy, Chile and South Africa.
In Bordeaux, Sauvignon Blanc is a fresh, light and elegant wine. Here, the grape is often blended with Semillon, another French white wine grape, producing outstanding Sauternes – one of the finest sweet wines in the world. The Loire, especially in the center of the valley, is where the Sauvignon grape originated and shows some of its best qualities with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. The area’s limestone, clay and flint soil conditions add a unique taste to the wine.
California’s Sauvignon Blanc stands out with many of their grapes growing in warmer parts of the state, especially in the Napa Valley. Fortunately, the fog and high temperature fluctuations cool down the vineyards enough to sustain the vines. The wines tend to have a herbaceous and often grassy quality.
In New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted grape. The first vines were planted in the early ’70s in the Marlborough region. In just a short time, with its vibrant fruit flavors and high acid levels, the wine became a number one seller for the country and put New Zealand on the map as a world-class growing region. Over in Italy, Sauvignon Blanc shines in the Northeastern part of the country in Friuli, Alto Adige and Collio. The Sauvignon Blanc wines from these areas display excellent fruit and varietal characteristics.
Sauvignon has distinctive aromas of grapefruit, gooseberries and herbs. The flavors of passion fruit, melon, guava, and white peach, along with great acidity and minerality make Sauvignon Blanc the ideal choice to pair with creamy cheeses, salads, shellfish, poultry, and it’s the perfect porch wine."
Mt. Beautiful's 2016 Sauvignon Blanc was one of four Sauv Blancx featured in this article!
Cindy Rynning, Grape Experiences - March 23, 2018
When days become longer and winds have lost their bitter chill, I anticipate the spring season in all its glory. Trust me, I’m ready to ditch that down coat and don a light-weight jacket! (I’m in Chicago, you know!) I’m also primed to switch my food and wine pairings. Hearty soups and stews, sauce-laden casseroles, or rich pasta dishes with a glass or two of bold, red wine are perfect choices for snowy days or cold nights. But now? I’m making the transition to food and wines that herald a new season. You?
One of my cookbooks, The Vineyard Cookbook by Barbara Scott-Goodman (click the image at the end of this article to purchase), offers a bounty of recipes that are just as flavorful as they are a snap to create. I found a wonderful recipe for Spinach and Arugula Salad with Warm Mushrooms, Olives, and Pancetta that appeared to be a tasty change from the lasagna the family enjoyed a few nights before. I wasn’t disappointed (and neither were my guests).
Mouthwatering flavors offering layers of texture in every bite. The blend of pancetta, mushrooms, garlic, olives, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and greens prompted more than a few “Ahhhhh!” moments from the crowd…as did the wine. I chose a delicious Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir 2015 ($15) (sent as a sample) from the vineyards of Mt. Beautiful in North Canterbury, New Zealand. Somehow, I knew that the delectable flavors of both the salad and the wine wouldn’t eclipse the other, that they would be complementary. I was right.
Generous aromas of luscious red fruit, blueberries, blackberries, violets, and vanilla were a dazzling entry. On the palate, I discovered elegant and sophisticated notes of zesty spice, red and black fruit, and a touch of earth, all framed with bright acidity and gentle tannic structure. The lingering finish was incredibly satisfying. Aged for ten months in French oak barrels, the Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir 2015 is from a vintage year that, by all accounts, was sterling in New Zealand.
A food and wine pairing to help transition your palate from one season to another? This duo may be exactly what you’re looking for!
Spinach and Arugula Salad with Warm Mushrooms, Olives, and Pancetta:
6 slices of Pancetta, about 1/8 inch thick or 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
7 tablespoons olive oil
1/2lb shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/2lb domestic or cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Nicoise olives, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 cups spinach or baby spinach, stemmed, rinsed, and patted dry
2 cups trimmed arugula, rinsed and dried
freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: In a skillet or saute pan, fry the pancetta or bacon over medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels, cut into small pieces, and set aside.
Step 2: Wipe out the pan with paper towels. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the garlic, olives, lemon juice, and vinegar. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
Step 3: Meanwhile, toss the spinach and arugula with the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large bowl. Season to taste with pepper. Add the warm mushroom mixture and the bacon to the greens and toss until well blended. Serve at once from the bowl or arrange on individual plates.
Mike Landucci and Carl Giavanti, Wine Weirdos - March 14, 2018
Just in, a review on our 2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc.
Bob Campbell MW, The Real Reviews - March 7, 2018
Just in, a review on our 2016 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay.
91 / 100 | "Recommended"
"Quite a fleshy, fruit-focused chardonnay with tree fruit, peach and nectarine flavours, together with a seasoning of chestnut and spicy oak characters. Good weight and a peppery texture with a moderately lengthy finish."
2015 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay
Winemaker Notes: Sam Weaver
"2015 was an excellent vintage for Chardonnay in North Canterbury. Our hand-picked Chardonnay fruit was picked in three different batches according to ripeness.
It was then gently whole bunch pressed, resulting in beautifully clear and delicate juice.
This is ideal for barrel and tank fermentation alike.
The barrel portion was reserved for the wines with the best depth of fruit and ripeness of flavour. This wine was fermented mostly in larger oak puncheons, both new and one year old. This portion went through a partial malolactic fermentation.
Both tank and barrel batches were aged for nine months on yeast lees prior to blending in January. They were then lightly fined and filtered prior to bottling.
Winemaker Notes: Sam Weaver
"2017 was a good year for Rosé. The Pinot Noir portion (70%) of the blend was picked from Block N, which sits at an elevation of 70 meters above sea level, facing north on a gentle slope. It was picked on April 4th with low sugar levels and good acidity to retain crispness and vibrancy. The fruit was then destemmed and macerated for 24 hours to fix its color, followed by being fermented in tank and barrel. This Pinot Noir component gives the wine delicate and soft floral and berry notes.
The Pinot Gris portion (30%) was pressed directly to tank, then settled for 24 hours before the relatively clear juice was racked and fermented in stainless steel. This adds a more robust yet subtle, savory quality to the wine. Twelve percent of the total blend was barrel fermented, bringing more texture and a creamy mouth feel to the wine. Fermentation lasted between 14 and 18 days at a closely monitored average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius. We aimed for a long ferment to allow for clean, complex flavors to be exhibited."
Stacy Lousie Briscoe, Briscoe Bites - March 2, 2018
"When I showed this bottle to my friends, the response I got was, “New Zealand Chardonnay? Really?” Yes, really. Though the country is well-defined by its Sauvignon Blanc, it’s by no means the only white wine grape. In fact, in the Canterbury region, where the Mt. Beautiful winery and estate vineyards call home, Chardonnay is the third most-planted grape variety just behind Pinot Noir and, yes, Sauvignon Blanc. So let’s take a taste, shall we, and see what the southern portion of New Zealand has to offer the Chardonnay style spectrum.
About the Wine: The Mt. Beautiful 2015 Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from the Mt. Beautiful estate vineyards located in New Zealand’s North Canterbury region. The fruit was hand-picked then whole-cluster pressed. The juices fermented in combination new and seasoned oak puncheons as well as stainless steel tank. The portion fermented in oak went through secondary, malolactic fermentation. The tank and barrel batches aged separately for nine months on the lees. The final blend was created, then fined and filtered before bottling.
Flavor Profile: Twist the cap off the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Chardonnay and find savory aromas of grilled peaches, poached pears and a simultaneous roundness (like brown-butter cookies) and, what I call boxiness (reminiscent of a cardboard box).
This Chardonnay is a Champagne-yellow on the pour, presenting just a shade denser in the glass — but no less radiant. Initial aromas are of soft, round tropical stone fruits — apricots, nectarines, mango, guava. Deep breath in and you can sense there’s something more, so swirl and breathe again. This time breathe in flowers — petals, stems, leaves, and all: Yes, it’s perfume-y, yet oh-so-earthy.
The palate of the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Chardonnay is quite light in body but maintains a creamy baseline. There’s also a thin line of acidity that presents itself at the start of the tasting as a light fizz, but climaxes, evolves, and envelopes the palate for a fun, summer-sunburn finish. Indeed, there’s a warmth that penetrates the heart.
Dominant flavors are of soft nectarines, those poached apples, salt and butter, and agave nectar.
Food Pairing: I paired the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Chardonnay with a grilled tilapia fillet on top of roasted vegetables. What I loved about this pairing was the softness of the roasted veggies — which included butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and shallots — perfectly paralleled the softer, rounder textures and flavors of the wine, giving in a luxurious mouthfeel. Meanwhile, those same elements in the wine did well to counteract the tilapia, which was seasoned with lemon pepper and, on its own, a bit harsh for my liking."
Stacy Lousie Briscoe, Briscoe Bites - March 5, 2018
"Pinot Gris is one of the new kids on the New Zealand wine block, making its first appearance just 30 years ago in 1990. Though it’s only responsible for 6% of the country’s total wine production, it is the third most popular white varietal. In the southern region, the Pinot Gris grapes are higher in acid, resulting in crisper wines. But winemaker Sam Weaver of Mt. Beautiful has a few interesting techniques that give this stereotypically lean white wine a bit of depth and multiple levels of flavor…
About the Wine: The Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Gris is made from 100% Pinot Gris harvested from the Mt. Beautiful estate vineyards located in New Zealand’s North Canterbury region. According to the winemaker, the grapes were picked in two batches — an earlier batch showcasing more acidity and a later batch showcasing more concentration in flavor and texture. The grapes were then whole cluster pressed and fermented in a combination of old oak and stainless steel and aged on the lees.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Gris and find fun aromas of lemon, apricot, and nectarine. This Pinot Gris is slightly Champagne-hued on the pour, but presents a solid straw-yellow in the glass — a light, bright, glimmering straw-yellow.
Initial aromas are “wow” with a round, creamy, caramel-like scent and a deep, rich floral bouquet complete with pollen. Swirl and find a dose of acidity that adds a bit of lemongrass, ginger, and apple to the nose. The palate of this Pinot Gris is smooth and, again, round, but there’s a solid acidic line that cuts right through the center keeping the tongue at attention and all flavors fully alive. Those flavors include honey, nutmeg, apple, and cashews. The finish includes a ginger-like heat, though the actual flavor is more reminiscent of a burnt brown-butter cookie.
Food Pairing: I enjoyed this bottle of the course of several nights. The first night I paired the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Gris with a baked salmon (seasoned with butter, rosemary, and thyme) on top of roasted vegetables (butternut squash, broccoli, and red peppers). The second night I enjoyed this Pinot Gris with a parmesan crusted chicken on top of a strawberry salad. And the very last night I enjoyed this wine all on its own.
Fish, chicken, veggies, or a la carte — this wine was amazingly satisfying."
The 2018 harvest sits on the horizon, maybe only a month away. Our winery and vineyard teams are readying themselves for what is the most important event of the year both inside the winery and out in the vineyard.
Earlier this month our Vineyard Manager, Garrick Guy, shared this photo that shows veraison happening in our Pinot Noir vineyard blocks. Veraison is a French term that means the grapes are changing color, and this indicates the onset of ripening.
As the grapes ripen, the risk of animals eating them (and thus destroying the crop) increases drastically. In some countries, such as South Africa, it’s the baboons you have to watch out for. In Tuscany, it’s the wild boar. But all across the world, birds are unanimously a threat to vineyard crops.
We mitigate damage made by birds a couple of different ways. In addition to having dedicated team members tirelessly ride quad bikes up and down the rows of vines, honking their horns to scare off birds, we also employ the use of technology.
Last year we invested in a powerful (and costly) vineyard netting machine, which can cover four rows of vines at a time. This proved to not only be a huge time saver, but also great insurance in preserving our crop from the threat of birds.
Turns out that the net doesn’t keep ALL the critters out, as indicated by the photo below.
It seems hardly feasible that this image was caught to begin with. Here's a statement from our Vineyard Manager about this frolicking furry fellow:
"One of the guys managed to take this photo of a sneaky critter hiding under the nets keeping guard.”
In closing, here’s a photo of our Pinot Noir posted by Erin, our Business Development and Operations Manager, with this caption:
"Not long now......🍇”