Mt. Beautiful

Blog

New Zealand Pinot Noir Wines to Seek Out

New Zealand Pinot Noir Wines 1220X807

In this article, our 2016 Pinot Noir was selected by Associate Editor of Decanter, Tina Gellie, and featured alongside 12 other New Zealand Pinots Noirs. Ours is the only Pinot Noir from North Canterbury, rated 92 points with only one other rated higher (93 points).

New Zealand Pinot Noir Wines to Seek Out
Decanter, Tina Gellie, February 2019

"Decanter's Tina Gellie picks your next New Zealand Pinots to try... Pinot Noir grows at its best in cooler climates – think Burgundy and Champagne – which is why it fares well in New Zealand, especially in regions such as Marlborough and Central Otago. New Zealand has developed a reputation for the quality of its Pinot Noir in recent years, and they can offer great value for money compared to the old world competition, typically offering a fragrant aroma with flavours of cherry, raspberry and brambles. The following wines showcase some top picks for drinking in 2019 and beyond, from the full-bodied, rich expressions of Central Otago to the weighty concentration of Martinborough and the balanced elegance of Marlborough.

2016 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir 
Cracking value here, with vibrant cherry and strawberry characters on a full-bodied, creamy palate, alongside pinpoint balance of acidity and alcohol. It's firm and fresh, with gentle oak spicing and supple tannins from 10 months in new and used barrels.
Drinking Window 2019 - 2022."

Shop this wine here: /wines.asp

Twelve Excellent Wines to Begin the Year

SB And Food 3 Web

Bigger Than Your Head,
Fredric Koeppel

"Actually, the title of this post is a misnomer. What I offer today, in the first Weekend Wine Notes of 2019, are 10 wines that rate Excellent and two that rate Exceptional, the latter both pinot noirs from different regions of California. Also included in this diverse roster are a Gewurztraminer 2012 from Alsace; a chardonnay from Sonoma Coast; two sauvignon blancs, one from New Zealand, the other from Tuscany; a monumental cabernet/shiraz blend from Australia’s McLaren Vale region as well as an equally monumental 100 percent shiraz from Padthaway; two wines from Costières de Nîmes in the Southern Rhone Valley, one white, one red; a Spätlese Riesling from Rheingau, in Germany; and a stylish merlot from Walla Walla, Washington. As usual in these Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew the technical, historical and geographical data that I dote on for the sake of quick and incisive reviews ripped, as it were, from the pages of my scribblings and designed to pique your interest and whet your palate. Enjoy! In moderation, of course.

Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc 2017, North Canterbury, New Zealand. NA% alc. Very pale straw-gold color; lime peel and grapefruit, celery seed and leaf, hint of caraway; lavish with roasted lemon, quince and ginger; very dry, with the pent energy of vibrant acidity and crystalline limestone; real presence and personality; altogether fresh, clean and scintillating. Excellent. About $16, representing Great Value."

View the article HERE. 

10 Years of Mt. Beautiful Vintages

Gourmez Header1

Authored by Rebecca Farrell-Gomez, the Gourmez, December 14, 2018 

Read this post on Becca's website here. 

"Did you say vertical tasting?

2018 Mt Beautiful 17 396X500

Mt. Beautiful wine, pinot gris, vertical tastingThat’s an irresistible invitation for wine bloggers. We love to compare and contrast different vintages from the same winery, to ponder the sometimes subtle, sometimes great, differences between them. Make it five vertical tastings in an evening, at a restaurant I’ve never tried before and from a wine region with which I’m barely familiar, and my participation is a foregone conclusion. Obligatory disclaimer: As media, this experience was entirely free to me at the invitation of Mt. Beautiful Winery.

2018 Mt Beautiful 03 375X500

Kicking things off with a glass of rosé in Sens’ garden.

Mt. Beautiful Winery’s 10th Vintage Anniversary was the reason for the vertical tastings. Owned by the Teece family of North Canterbury, New Zealand, the farms and other properties that make up Mt. Beautiful are based right below the Kaikoura Seaward Mountains.

Mt Beautiful Stock 500X334

Mt Beautiful’s first wine was released to the public in 2008. They currently make seven types: four white wines and pinot noir, from which they also make a barrel select wine and a rosé. Minus the rosé, we had a full vertical of each available to us. That’s a lot of wine, folks! Thirty-eight different vintage­­–varietal combinations, in fact. Which was way too many for me to attempt in an evening. Even spitting, that curiosity would kill this cat. Instead, I homed in on four from each grape, for a grand total of twenty wines. And that was still plenty! Luckily, we had a great selection of palate-cleansing appetizers from our host restaurant, Sens.

2018 Mt Beautiful 04 375X500

That hummus was plenty tasty, as was the pimento cheese, but the true standout was a bright green dip bursting with so much spring pea flavor that I pondered if peas could be harvested fresh in September. Maybe it was fava bean? Regardless, once properly carbed up, I proceeded with the tasting.

2018 Mt Beautiful 12 295X500

New Zealand is most known for its sauvignon blanc, and Mt. Beautiful’s lineup did not disappoint in terms of strong perfume and tropical flavors. The 2009 and 2015 vintages ranked highest for me. In particular, the 2009 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc had such a strong floral showing, I feared a spider web might drop from between dripping blossoms. In the glass, that intensity was very balanced and placed a strong call for oysters.

The 2015 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc offered white blossom perfume. Its acidity tasted unique, like a mixture of ginger and lemongrass. Pears, leaves, butter, and flowers abounded. Pepper came out with food.

2018 Mt Beautiful 19 466X500

The chardonnays had light bodies and notes of lemon across the board, with buttery backbones restrained by tropical notes such as kiwi and kalamansi. The 2014 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay pleased me most, with notes of sautéed green and gala apples, rosy with their skins on. It’d taste great with charcuterie or salted wasabi peas.

Did someone mention charcuterie? I’ve never seen such a high tower of it in my life as the one piled behind these luscious hunks of cheese.

2018 Mt Beautiful 09 404X500

Sorry, just palate cleansing again before moving on to the vertical of pinot gris. Admittedly, pinot gris is a wine grape varietal that has yet to grow on me. It lacks personality, and beyond knowing it’s a great seafood pairing for its lack of showboating, pinot gris rarely impresses me. But both the oldest and newest vintages of Mt. Beautiful’s had plenty to showboat about, especially the 2016 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris, which smelled of sand dollar discoveries and butter. Mild acidity brought more butter into the glass, and I was intrigued by notes of budding green leaves. Try it with lobster.

The 2011 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris had more vibrancy than most of its kin. A violet and lilac nose led to a tasty tropical cornucopia of lychee, kiwi, pineapple, horseradish, and Santa Claus melon. It gave me that tingly feeling of stepping inside a warm house after a day spent in the cold.

I tried the vertical of riesling last among the white wine offerings. There was too much petrol in the nose for me on a few bottles, though a petrol nose is a common riesling characteristic, so that may not be a problem for you. Nor did it stop me from enjoying the middle vintages of this wine. The 2011 Mt. Beautiful Riesling was a balanced, extra juicy wine with banana, kiwi, lemon cream acidity, and pressed apples. And the 2012 Mt. Beautiful Riesling drank like a key lime cupcake eats, with extra edible glitter. It’s quite yellow in the glass, and that petrol nose gave way to a nice sugar-to-acid balance.

At last, time for red. Which also meant time to try those lamb burgers!

2018 Mt Beautiful 06 500X372

Made with New Zealand lamb, of course. Lamb sliders are becoming ubiquitous on Bay Area menus, but these were substantial, probably just smaller versions of Sens’ full-size lamb burger. With oozing manchego and layers of flavor from tomato jam, truly seeded buns, and tzatziki, they were quite dense and well worth trying.

As were Mt. Beautiful’s pinot noirs!

2018 Mt Beautiful 23 500X341

The older vintages were intense in flavor with memorable notes of foods like sarsaparilla, Caribbean pepper pot stews, and the sweet-sour of Filipino cooking. But I preferred the newer vintages of this grape for their freshness, particular the 2015s. That includes Mt. Beautiful’s first barrel select: the 2015 Mt. Beautiful 10 Barrels.

2018 Mt Beautiful 20 352X500

You could entertain yourself for the evening contemplating its mysteries. Lots of earthy leaf notes made me think of oak trees and the peeled bark of softer woods. The fruit is just-ripe cherries with white strawberries and twigs.

The 2015 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir was just as good. It displayed the requisite strawberry and pepper notes of pinot noir with smoothness. Vanilla, cardamom, and the pull of bamboo tannins also made appearances.

As did the great Wilfred Wong, chief storyteller at Wine.com, a legend among us Bay Area wine bloggers.

2018 Mt Beautiful 11 500X375

It’s been forever since I saw Wilfred, and it was great to get the chance to catch up with him and the many other wine media folks I ran into, however briefly, as we rushed from wine vintage to wine vintage, determined to sip and savor as much as we could. I’m pretty content with my selection of 20, and I’d be interested in seeing how Mt. Beautiful’s current releases hold up in another 10 years from now. Turns out I’m ideally situated for just that scenario—Mt. Beautiful’s founders are based right here in the Bay Area. David Teece is the Tusher Professor of Global Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and a founder of the globally influential Berkeley Research Group, LLC. His wife, Leigh, is a native Californian, successful venture capitalist and financier, and CEO and founder of World Mentor, an educational nonprofit that teaches innovative thinking skills to high school students.

Northern California and North Canterbury are closer connected than I knew! Cheers to that.

This vertical tasting took place 17 September 2018.

The Hillsides and Plains of North Canterbury

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."

A Light and Easy Wine Worth Celebrating

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!

Grape Experiences: Pinot Noir Pairing!

Cindy Rynning, Grape Experiences - March 23, 2018

Wine and Dine: Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir with Spinach and Arugula Salad

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:

Ingredients

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.

Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay - Briscoe Bites

Stacy Louise Briscoe - Briscoe Bites

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.

14.5% ABV

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."

Visit BriscoeBites.com 

 

Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Gris - Briscoe Bites

Stacy Louise Briscoe - Briscoe Bites

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.

14.5% ABV

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."

Visit BriscoeBites.com 

Selected as Editor's Pick in Wine Spectator Magazine



Wine Spectator, MaryAnn Worobiec, January / February, 2018

"This stunning property with 184 acres of vineyards is located in a remote corner of New Zealand's South Island. North Canterbury might not be a familiar winegrowing region yet, but there's lots of potential, as demonstrated by Mt. Beautiful's distinctive wines. Founder David Teece is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and is one of the most widely cited economic and business scholars in the world. He picked this spot in his home country to plant vineyards in part because he wants to tell the new and exciting story of an emerging wine region. His project benefits from the experience of CEO Robert Watkins and viticulturist Fin Grieve.-M.W."

Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir North Canterbury 2015
91 | $28 | 2,780 cases made
Comprising a mix of 13 different Pinot Noir clones, half of them Burgundy clones, this wine reveals its complexity on the finish.

Mt. Beautiful Riesling North Canterbury 2016
90 | $22 | 665 cases made
Shows great intensity, with crisp acidity and fresh citrus flavors. The wine is a blend of grapes from two distinct blocks of the vineyard, higher-elevation sites sheltered by a pine forest.

Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc North Canterbury 2016
89 | $16 | 12,100 cases made
North Canterbury Sauvignon Blancs are less aggressive than their Marlborough counterparts, showcasing melon flavors and suppler texture.

Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay North Canterbury 2015
88 | $22 | 1,100 cases made
Notable for its plump, creamy texture, this wine blends grapes that were both tank- and barrel-fermented, finding excellent balance.

"30 Great Wine Bargains of 2017"

Fredric Koeppel, Bigger Than Your Head - January 9, 2018

Chief Blogger Fredric Koeppel included Mt. Beautiful's 2016 Sauvignon Blanc in his round up
of great bargain wines of 2017. We're pleased to have landed in his "Excellent " category!

Two Great Blog Posts by Stacy of Briscoe Bites

Stacy Briscoe, Briscoe Bites - January 8, 2018 (photo: Briscoe Bites)

SF based food and wine blogger, Stacy Briscoe, included Mt. Beautiful's 2015 Pinot Noir in her post "The Pinot Noir Style Spectrum," and also wrote an informative stand alone review on our 2015 Pinot Noir you can read here!

"New Zealand’s winemaking history dates back to the colonial days, when the British first settled on the tiny island. But it wasn’t until the 1960s and into the 1970s that New Zealand became a presence on the winemaking map. At this time there was an influx of New Zealanders traveling abroad to Europe, experiencing the wines and vines of that continent, and bringing home with them the knowledge and the passion to put their own “kiwi” twist on the Old World’s drink.

Though the New Zealand wine industry is quite tiny, producing less than 1% of the world’s wine, it is home to 11 different wine regions. And while the country’s “claim to wine fame” may be Sauvignon Blanc (indeed, nearly 70% of New Zealand’s vines are planted to the white grape, totaling about 200,000 tons harvested each year), there are certain regions where other grapes — like Pinot Noir — can claim a small kingdom.

The southern island’s coastal Canterbury/North Canterbury is one such region. Protected by the Southern Alps, rainfall is limited and sunshine is abundant. Though day temperatures can get quite hot, especially in the summers, the cooling breezes from the ocean provide a diurnal shift, allowing for even ripening — even for the picky Pinot grape.

When it comes to soil types, the terrain is quite diverse. Pinot Noir seems to thrive best near the Waipara Valley which combines gravel and limestone clay soils along the hillsides framing the Waipara River. This terroir reduces the vigor of the vines, producing low yields of intense fruit.

About the Wine: The Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes harvested from the estate’s southern-most vineyard which, according to the winery, has the highest elevation, allowing for extra warmth and less frost exposure.

All fruit was hand-picked, de-stemmed, and left to cold soak for seven days. Individual blocks were fermented separately with twice daily punch downs. The grapes were then pressed and juices transferred to oak barrels. The wine aged in 100% French oak barrels (25% new), undergoing secondary, malolactic fermentation while in barrel. The wine was racked once and fined with egg whites before bottling. 14% ABV

Flavor Profile: Open this bottle of Mt. Beautiful and breathe in aromas of dank wetness, dark fruits, muddy soils, wet rubber, and bits and pieces of woody herbs — a bit like a forbidden tropical forest. The Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir is a dusty light rouge on the pour, settling into the glass just a shade darker — more like a maroon jewel. Initial aromas are of the dank funkiness of an oak barrel cave, along with scents of rosewater perfume, and a delicate acidity. Swirl, and the Pinot Noir opens up to some green herbal notes like eucalyptus, basil and spearmint along with fruit scents of bright fresh cherries.

On the palate, the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir is smooth like butter until about a quarter of the way when embedded spices begin to prickle the tongue. Tannins come forward about a half way through, but stay toward the back, as hazy as staring toward the horizon — creating that line, that backbone, that point of reference, but never disturbing the elements surrounding it.

Dominant flavors are of red cherries, orange blossoms, blood orange, and dull baking spices like nutmeg and, towards the finish, perhaps a bit of white pepper. With its fairly light tannins and amplifying acidity, this light to medium bodied red wine finishes on a lingering note. Indeed there’s a prickle and tickle of spices along the tongue that will have you yearning for another sip.

Food Pairing: I paired the Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir with a grilled salmon on top of a persimmon salad. One thing I will note here is that the wine opened up as the evening progressed, revealing fuller, plusher fruits that further hazed that tannic line. A sip of wine at this point was like taking a bit into a cherry bursting with juices — thin skin and all. This means that the silky, oily texture of the salmon filet absolutely complemented this Pinot Noir.

What I liked about the salad portion of this pairing was that the earthy sweetness of the persimmons brought out the funky earth elements in the wine. The salad greens highlighted that little spice kick at the end, in a most enticing way."

Decanter: New Zealand Chardonnay Panel Tasting Results



Rebecca Gibb MW, Decanter - January 4, 2018

Mt. Beautiful received a rating of "91 Points and Highly Recommended" for our 2016 Chardonnay in Decanter's New Zealand Chardonnay panel tasting. We found what the reviewers had to say about the tasting particularly interesting, as it relates to the general region where our wines are grown - Canterbury!

"Nelson and Canterbury were the pick of the regions; elsewhere our panel would like to have seen more of the fruit and less of the winemaking," reports Amy Wislocki

2016 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay | 91 Points, Highly Recommended
"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. Drink 2018-2021 Alc 14.5%"

Five Xlnt Reviews - Restaurant Wine - Ronn Wiegand MW

In Ronn Wiegand's latest Issue #175-177 of Restaurant Wine, he shares five excellent reviews of Mt. Beautiful's wines.

5 Stars
2016 Sauvignon Blanc (Medium Priced Category)
A crisp, complex Sauvignon of exceptional quality and value. (Screw cap closure.) It is full bodied and crisp, with elegant pineapple, lemon grass, lime, toast, and guava aromas/flavors, fine balance, and a long, crisp finish. Top value. Aged 9 months in both oak barrels (partly new) and stainless steel tanks. 12,000 cases. 14% [2018-2019]

2015 Chardonnay (4+ Stars) and 2015 Pinot Gris (5 Stars) – (High Priced Category)
Both wines have screw cap closures, and both are excellent wines. The Chardonnay is crisp, full bodied, finely flavored (white peach, pear, lime, honey, candied lemon, vanilla, oak), balanced, and long on the finish. Aged 9 months in both oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. 1,100 cases. 14.5% F The Pinot Gris is exceptional: elegant in flavor, supple in texure, and medium rich; a wine with excellent depth and balance, and a long finish, tasting of apple, lime, lemon grass, pear, guava, and honey. Great value. Fermented in both oak barrels and stainless steel tanks.

5 Stars
2016 Rose (Medium Priced Category)
An exceptional dry rose. Screw cap. Light reddish pink in color. Fragrant and distinct in aroma and flavor (cherry, raspberry, lime, rose petal), it is full bodied, well balanced, and long on the finish. Great value. 100% Pinot Noir. Partly barrel fermented.

5 Stars
2015 Pinot Noir (High Priced Category)
Screw cap. An outstanding Pinot Noir in an elegant, velvety style. It is full bodied, very supple in texture, ripe and complex in flavor (red currant, cherry, white pepper, rose petal, toast), and well balanced, with a very long finish. 7 day cold soak. Aged 10 months in French oak barrels, 25% new..”

Mt. Beautiful; Beautiful Wines from New Zealand

Napa Valley Register




Napa Valley Register and Please the Palate, Allison Levine

"I was sitting in an outdoor patio in Healdsburg on a classically beautiful early afternoon. The sun was shining, a nice breeze was blowing and I ordered oysters. With the briny, delicate oysters, a natural pairing is a crisp, acidic sauvignon blanc.

Although I was in Sonoma, I found myself sipping a sauvignon blanc from Mt. Beautiful from North Canterbury in New Zealand. While it is not uncommon to find New Zealand wines throughout the U.S., there is a connection between Mt. Beautiful in New Zealand and California.

David Teece, founder of Mt. Beautiful, is a New Zealand native who lives in Berkeley, California. Raised in Lower Moutere along the Tasman Bay on the South Island of New Zealand, Teece’s father started a trucking company that transported items from outlying farms to the cities. His father also purchased a fallow quarter-acre lot next to their home, which Teece and his brother cultivated crops.

Growing up in the outdoors and working with nature are normal activities in New Zealand. But Teece left to study economics and geology at University of Canterbury. He pursued a career in academics and today is the Tusher Professor in Global Business at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, as well as the director of the Tusher Center for Intellectual Capital. Writing more than 30 books and 200 scholarly papers and co-editor of the Palgrave Encyclopedia of Strategic Management, Teece is considered one of the world’s most cited scholars in business and economics.

Settled and living in Berkeley, Teece’s love for the outdoors and enjoyment of risky endeavors led him to look for a location in New Zealand to plant grapes. Consulting with his friend Ron Sutherland, a geologist and vineyard consultant, Teece wanted to grow grapes in New Zealand where no one had done it before. Sutherland explored the northern part of the South Island, which includes the Marlborough and Waipara regions. Ultimately, he found a place that no one had yet planted, North Canterbury.

Canterbury is a region in the middle of the South Island with Christchurch as the main city. Famous as a location used in filming “The Lord of the Rings,” vineyards were first established on the Canterbury Plains in 1978. Waipara Valley in Northern Canterbury, 40 minutes north of Christchurch, was first planted in the 1980s. Mt. Beautiful is even farther north of Waipara, on the northern tip of the North Canterbury wine region, approximately an hour and a half north of Christchurch.

Ron Sutherland had located an awesome site that consisted of four farms and Teece purchased the property in 2003. This area of North Canterbury had not been planted to grapes yet but he and Teece saw something special. They named the wines Mt. Beautiful after the series of mountains of the same name that are along the coastal range to the east.

The vineyard sits below the mountains that protect it from the winds from the Pacific Ocean. It has a cool maritime climate with hot summers with Nor West winds and cooler winters. The property is home to a variety of microclimates with 23 different soil profiles, including silt loam, clay, mudstone and alluvia gravel. With these characteristics, Teece achieves his goal to produce distinctive wines.

Today, there are approximately 180 acres planted to vines and Mt. Beautiful produces riesling (planted in 2005), sauvignon blanc (planted in 2004-2006), pinot gris (planted 2005-2006), chardonnay (planted 2006-2011), rosé of pinot noire and pinot noir (planted 2004-2013).

— Mt. Beautiful 2015 Riesling, North Canterbury – Riesling was the first wine that Mt. Beautiful produced and it is a gorgeous wine. On the nose, there are aromas of grapefruit, stone fruit and white flowers, as well as a flinty note. And on the palate, the wine has citrus, apple and mineral notes with bright acidity. There is a bit of residual sugar in this wine and yet the acidity balances it out. This is a perfect wine to pair with a spicy dish.

— Mt. Beautiful 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, North Canterbury – Not all New Zealand sauvignon blanc tastes like a green grass herb garden and this is one of those. A small portion of the juice is fermented in new and used barrels and is aged on the lees for nine months. The resulting wine showcases tropical flavors and floral aromatics and is bright and crisp with a creamy mid-palate. This wine is a beautiful match for shellfish, especially oysters.

— Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Gris, North Canterbury – The pinot gris is a blend of some grapes picked early for good acidity and some grapes picked later for concentration. The resulting wine has intense floral, tropical fruit and pear aromas and intense acidity and minerality on the finish. The wine has a lovely mouthfeel and can be enjoyed with grilled salmon or chicken.

Mt. Beautiful 2015 Chardonnay, North Canterbury – A well-balanced wine, this chardonnay is picked in three batches according to ripeness. Part of the juice is barrel fermented which goes through partial malolactic fermentation and part is fermented in stainless steel and then the wine is aged for nine months on the lees. The resulting wine has aromas of stone fruits and apple that continue onto the palate. There is also a hint of roasted almonds and brioche on the palate, as well as a touch of flintiness. The creamy texture with elegant acidity make this a wine to also enjoy with salmon and chicken.

— Mt. Beautiful 2016 Rosé, North Canterbury – The rose is made from pinot noir that was pressed off after a short period of skin contact and then fermented. A bright pink color, the wine has notes of red berries and on the palate is crisp and fresh with notes of grapefruit, bright acidity and minerality.

— Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir, North Canterbury – On the nose, the pinot noir has classic notes of raspberry, cherry, red currant and violet. On the palate, it is a smooth wine with notes of black cherry and white pepper. The pinot noir is a medium-bodied wine with intense acidity that makes it ideal to enjoy with salmon, lamb, duck or pork."

Mt. Beautiful Wines Featured in Las Vegas & Southern California Food & Beverage Professional's Magazine

Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional's Magazine, Bob Barnes

"Mt. Beautiful Wines from New Zealand

Appreciation for New Zealand wine continues to increase, and for good
reason, as the region’s maritime climate provides vineyards with extended
sunshine hours and cool night sea breezes provide a long, slow ripening period
resulting in flavor growth. A worthy example is the wines of Mt. Beautiful, a North
Canterbury winery located on the South Island of New Zealand. 100% estate
grown and certified sustainable, production is focused on Sauvignon Blanc
and Pinot Noir but also smaller quantities of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay
and Rose are produced.

The Sauvignon Blanc pushes the boundaries of the typical New Zealand flavor
profile, highlighting tropical flavors, toning down the grassiness with a crisp
finish with bright minerality.

The Pinot Gris combines stone fruit, apples, juicy ripe pears, and a touch of
floral honey with a persistent finish.
The Chardonnay features aromatics of ripe apple, stone fruits, and nectarines,
and has a creamy texture that makes it easy to drink, with underlying notes of
buttered brioche.

Unlike some Rieslings, Mt. Beautiful’s is not overly sweet, and has dry flavors of
honeysuckle, lime and wintersweet flower and finishes with a lingering acidity.
The Pinot Noir, the personal favorite of owner David Teece, begins with
fragrances of black cherries and violets followed by a palate of ripe bramble
fruit and subtle tannins.

The traditionally made Rosé is produced from Pinot Noir juice that was pressed
off after a period of light contact and fermented in barrel and tank. The 2016
vintage boasts floral notes and intense sweet red berry aromas, and a creamy
and dry palate with hints of watermelon and pink grapefruit."

Weekend Wine Notes: 15 Sauv Blancs



Bigger Than Your Head,
 
Fredric Koeppel

A passel of sauvignon blanc wines today, most from California, but one from New York, a pair from Chile and one from New Zealand are included. With three exceptions, these are from vintage 2016. Prices range from about $14 to $50, and a number of real bargains can be found. As is typical with the Weekend Wine Notes, I eschew most technical, historical, geological/geographical and personnel data for the sake of quick and incisive reviews, ripped, as it were, from the pages of my notebooks and designed to pique your interest and stimulate the palate. Enjoy! And always consume in moderation.

Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc 2016, North Canterbury, New Zealand. 14.1% alc. Pale gold; lime zest and green bean, grapefruit and pea-shoot, gooseberry and roasted fennel, with penetrating notes of iodine and seashell; a pert, tart and sassy sauvignon blanc that tickles the palate with an herbal edge and bright acidity; a bracing, saline finish. Rich with nuance and not exaggerated. Excellent. About $16, a Great Bargain.

Bloomberg: Wine on Demand? ...

Wine On Demand? Rating Bottles From Blue Apron. Hello Fresh, Caviar

Bloomberg,
 
Elin McCoy - November 13, 2017 

As consumers get more and more used to expecting top-tier food delivered promptly to their doorsteps, why not wine, too?

The U.S. is now deep in the throes of a food home-delivery mania that goes way beyond a pepperoni pizza arriving at your door in 30 minutes. I’m talking about the billions-of-dollars-a-year meal-kit business as well as the dozens of restaurant takeout apps aiming to appeal to millions of busy, busy people.

What’s been missing—until recently—is wine on demand, delivered with both.

The cooking-kit company pioneering wine is Blue Apron, which added bottles to its mix two years ago, partly because customers asked for it and partly to woo them back when they dropped out. Poor retention was one of the reasons for the company’s lackluster June initial public offering.

Berlin-based Hello Fresh, which has a presence in 10 countries, launched its wine plan in the U.S. in May. It priced its IPO in November.

The Dom Pérignon delivery app.Source: Dom Pérignon
Expect more meal-kit companies to pile on. All-organic Sun Basket says vino offerings are part of its future strategy. Martha Stewart’s meal kit, Martha & Marley Spoon, is cross-promoting with Martha’s new wine website for bottles to go with the $160 complete Thanksgiving feast box. (Preview: the 2015 Pretium malbec from Cahors, made by Georges Vigoureux, in the Thanksgiving pack is terrific.)

Adding wine to your restaurant takeout order, on the other hand, is very much in the early stages, largely because of current alcohol regulations, which vary from state to state.

Are They Any Good?

But let’s start with meal kit wines: How are they?

If you’ve never signed up for a meal-kit system, here’s what you get: a weekly box packed with premeasured and chopped fresh ingredients, recipe cards, and step-by-step instructions for two to three dinners, as well as suggested wine pairings.

So Blue Apron and Hello Fresh were well-primed for the next step—providing actual bottles. Both programs are structured like wine clubs: You receive a box of six wines designed to go with the month’s recipes for a set price.

After tasting selections from both, I’d rate Blue Apron’s house wines as the clear winners. They’re way more sophisticated in taste and packaging.

Made by some of the West Coast’s star winemakers, such as Napa’s Steve Matthiasson and Helen Keplinger (in conjunction with Blue Apron’s own winemaker), exclusively to complement the company’s recipes, they’re bottled in California. Blue Apron holds a winery license, so the bottles can be legally shipped to 32 states, including New York.

Wines offered by home delivery service Hello Fresh.Source: Hello Fresh
I’m also a huge fan of their cute, 500 ml bottles, the equivalent of two-thirds of a standard one—perfect for two when you have reports to review after dinner.

Cost? A reasonable $65.99, including shipping, plus tax, for six bottles, or about $11 each. All come with pairing info and flavor profiles. Labels carry a convenient flavor symbol—a yellow diamond stands for crisp and minerally—that matches the one on appropriate meal recipes.

Of the dozen I sampled, the best were the tangy Mt. Beautiful pinot noir from New Zealand and spicy, fruity Medel pinot noir from Oregon, plus zingy Uvaggio Vermentino, savory, delicious white blends from Matthiasson, Vermillion, and De Sante L’Atelier, and a bright, minerally chardonnay labeled Le P’tit Paysan. (Note: You can also purchase these without buying a meal kit.)

Hello Fresh’s wine model is slightly different; it partners with online bargain retailer Lot 18, which buys from winemakers around the world, bottling the wines at its California winery. A Lot 18 buyer works with the Hello Fresh culinary team, hunting down reds and whites that are highly versatile to match with Hello Fresh recipes.

Monthly cost is $89.00 for six regular 750 ml bottles, about $15 each including shipping.

All those I tasted were pleasant, well-made entry-level wines with two standouts, the rich, lush Lustra Pinot Blanc from Monterey County and easy-to-like Voilà pinot noir.

The next meal-kit wine player will surely be giant Amazon.

As Bloomberg reported, the internet behemoth has already filed a trademark application for prepared food kits, after purchasing Whole Foods Market Inc., with 470 stores in dozens of states and a stellar, sommelier-headed wine program. Among the latest bottles on its shelves is a white made for it by star Italian winery in Piemonte, G.D. Vajra.

Meal Delivery, Plus Vino

But meal-kit companies aren’t the only businesses pushing to get wine pairings to your door. Apps for restaurant takeout are adding wine to go—at least where they can. San Francisco-based TryCaviar.com, now in 21 cities, is signing up top spots as fast as possible. You can order private-label Greek wines from San Francisco fast-casual spot Souvla, for example, but, sadly, because of New York State liquor regulations that bar restaurants from retailing wine, none of the stellar bottles on the list are at New York’s Charlie Bird. At least not yet.

In fact, getting wine delivered to your home or apartment as fast as possible has become yet another craving of the instant-gratification crowd. After all, you may suddenly need a special bottle while watching Netflix and chilling.

Half a dozen apps promise to bring you wines in less than an hour; in the U.K., Booze-Up claims it will get to you in 15 minutes, but the selections of spirits and wine are pretty ordinary. Minibar lists 387 wines and delivers in 60 minutes or less. Most wines are obvious inexpensive picks, such as Ménage à Trois red, but there are some top labels such as Domaine Drouhin pinot noir from Oregon and Grgich Hills Cabernet from Napa. The Liquor Cabinet delivers only spirits and cocktail makings.

Far better to turn to a luxury wine company. In partnership with delivery company Thirstie, Dom Pérignon launched one-hour delivery of rare vintages in New York and Miami this summer, and just last week it expanded to San Francisco and Palo Alto. If you’re craving the 2006 DP or the 1998 P2, just go todomperignon.com on your phone, get out your credit card, make a few clicks, and set out some glasses.

Now if only it offered caviar to go, too.