Mt. Beautiful Wines from New Zealand
A Beautiful Example of South Island New Zealand Wines
I’ve heard lots of buzz about Mt. Beautiful Wines from New Zealand. Many people are enjoying their wines, so I was very happy to get my own chance to taste these wines.
Not only are the wines spectacular, but when I started researching the company I can see a standard of excellence from the top down. Dr David Teece, co-owner has surrounded himself and his winery with highly trained and knowledgeable people in the vineyard, winemaking and marketing. After two years of diligent research by David’s friend Ron Sutherland, a geologist and vineyard consultant, discovered an area he liked in North Canterbury, at the base of the Southern Alps on the South Island. The goal was “to pioneer an undiscovered region and in the process build a winery that could serve as an inspiring global ambassador for New Zealand’s beauty and the quality of its products”.
2007 was the first vintage for both the winery and the consulting winemaker, Sam Weaver. His winemaking interest lies in high-quality Pinot Noirs, which he has made in Burgundy. Eastern Europe and four different wineries in New Zealand.
It all starts in the vineyard. Fin Grieve has extensive vineyard management experience before taking on the challenge of pioneering a new vineyard at Mt. Beautiful. He is joined by Garrick Guy, Vineyard Manager.
When the Wine Review Council gathered in August, we were lucky enough to have five Mt. Beautiful wines to taste, pair with foods and review. Here are my top three winners. (Not that all five weren’t good, because they were!)
My number one choice was the 2016 Pinot Noir, which was paired perfectly with a Duck Egg and Ham Quiche. While I find many New Zealand Pinots a bit lite for my liking, this beauty was rich in flavor with floral fragrances of violet and blackberries. Like most Pinots, the earthy flavor is the signature characteristic. This is the beauty of this grape. And the winemaker has done a fabulous job of allowing it to barrel age for 10 months thereby allowing the tannins to soften. It was allowed to go through Malolactic fermentation prior to fining it with egg whites.
My number 2 wine was the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc.
I was excited to try this wine, as I love a good grassy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. However, after my first taste, I realized it wasn’t grassy at all. There weren’t the typical notes of cat pee- although I’ve never been able to pick that out of an NZ Sauvignon Blanc. This wine surprised me with floral and Passionfruit flavors. I particularly loved the finish, which was crisp yet not acidic. This wine is just perfect for patio sipping! The pairing was with Salmon. I just don’t like salmon. I tried it, just to see, and I still don’t like it. Others in my group liked the pairing however.
My number 3 wine was the 2016 Chardonnay.
Just so easy to drink. The winemaker notes say it best: “Our best vintage yet of our Chardonnay. Our fruit was hand-picked in three different batches according to ripeness. It was then gently whole bunch pressed, resulting in beautifully clear and delicate juice which 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 flavor, and was fermented in 300 liter hogshead casks (both new and one to two years’ old). The barrel fermented wine went through a partial malolactic fermentation. Both tank and barrel batches were aged for 10 months on yeast lees prior to blending in February”. We paired this wine with Thai Spring rolls. The wine held up nicely to them, but I don’t like the peanut sauce with wine.
All-in-all I was blown away by the beauty of all five of the wines tasted. It really excites me to see these wines coming from New Zealand. I’m excited that the winemaker has extracted new flavor profiles from these grapes.