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Wine Spectator "Top 100" Wine of 2019 - 2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauv Blanc!

Here's something to celebrate. Our 2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc made the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019 list! We are thrilled to be included on this list and proudly represent New Zealand and North Canterbury.

2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc

"Offers an appealing core of intense, lush flavors of ripe melon and peach, with details of white pepper, honeysuckle and ruby grapefruit lingering on the finish. Impressive for the intensity and focus. Drink now."
- MaryAnn Worobiec 

About the Top 100:
Each year, Wine Spectator's editors survey the wines reviewed over the previous 12 months and select their Top 100, based on quality, value, availability and excitement. This annual list honors successful wineries, regions and vintages around the world. Our 2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc made the list and is one of two wines featured from New Zealand and the only producer from North Canterbury! View article: https://top100.winespectator.com/lists/


The Best Wines to Drink this Winter

By Michael Cooper, Noted 

Here is Michael Cooper’s pick of full-bodied reds and whites for cool weather drinking. Mt. Beautiful's 2017 Pinot Noir is proud to represent the only red wine producer from North Canterbury on his list! 

"Fresh, light white wines and rosés taste great in summer’s heat, but when the weather cools, full-bodied, richly flavoured styles taste better and better. Weighty, complex white wines, especially chardonnays, but also sturdier styles of pinot gris and oak-aged sauvignon blancs, really hit the spot. Pinot noir is popular year-round, but in summer, more powerful reds can taste too heavy. During the depths of winter, however, when hearty, rich food is in demand, flavour-crammed reds can be the perfect partner.

Michael's review: 
This is a classy young red, worth cellaring. Estate-grown at Cheviot, it is deep ruby, fragrant and full-bodied, with plummy, gently spicy and herbal flavours, concentrated, complex and savoury."



dish Magazine Selects 2017 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay as a Favorite!

The votes are in! Of 100s of Chardonnays tasted on dish Magazine's tasting panel, our 2017 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay was selected as one of 12 favorites and was awarded a Silver Medal, 4 Star rating. 

Here's their review: 
“This Cheviot based vineyard is really hitting its chardonnay chops now that the vines are getting a little older. "I love the creamy aromatics and complxity of this wine," noted Yvonne, while Colin was captured by the lemon blossom nose and the elegance and restraint shown on the palate weight."


Wine Spectator - 90 Points - '18 Sauv Blanc!

MaryAnn Worobiec, Senior Editor for Wine Spectator Magazine recently reviewed our 2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc and we love what she has to say about it.

90 Points

2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc  
“Offers an appealing core of intense, lush flavors of ripe melon and peach, with details of white pepper, honeysuckle and ruby grapefruit lingering on the finish. Impressive for the intensity and focus.


New Wave New Zealand Wine

New Wave New Zealand Wine

By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman
13 July 2019

"It’s just 46 years since the first Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc was planted. Since then it has propelled New Zealand to world ranking – with 23,500 hectares out of the country’s 38,000 hectares now devoted to this grape – but it is not the only white grape success story here.
Hawkes Bay region New Zealand wine Wine drinkers often remain unaware of New Zealand’s broad portfolio of white grapes – which show a similar precision, brightness and just as much vivid fruit flavour and pungency as their Sauvignon Blancs. In my opinion by far the most impressive of the white grapes here is Chardonnay, closely followed by the classic aromatic grapes: Pinot Gris (now the 4th most planted grape), Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

New Zealand has strict laws about introducing new grapes. It is very expensive to get vines into the country and it usually takes about 10 years for the process, the new plantings then need 3 years before bearing fruit and further time to mature into their new surroundings. So it is early days, but we are starting to see an influx of exciting newcomers like Iberia’s Albarino grape, Italy’s Arneis and Austria’s Gruner Veltliner showing potential in New Zealand’s cool maritime climate.

Planted in New Zealand in 1800’s, but only since the 1980’s has racy aromatic Riesling shown real potential. No surprises that this cool climate grape thrives best in sunny days, cool nights and long dry autumns of South Island – it excels in north Canterbury region.

Oddly for a New Zealand estate, Mount Beautiful released Riesling as their first wine. Loved this off-dry, low alcohol example with its floral and lime notes, crisp green apple, honeysuckle and citrus flavours, vivid acidity and gentle sweetness; a perfect match with Thai fishcakes."


Negociants Fine Wine Tour

Negociants Fine Wine Tour19 Stalls 23web
Each year our New Zealand distributor, Negociants New Zealand hosts it's Negociants Fine Wine Tour. This year the event spanned three cities (Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland) between July 22-24. At each location a tasting experienced solely for wine trade and media preceded a tasting open to the general public. Here are a few pics from the event.

Negociants Fine Wine Tour 19 Bottles 33web


2019 International Pinot Noir Celebration

This year Mt. Beautiful was honored to have been invited back to the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) hosted on the Linfield College Campus in McMinnville Oregon.

It had been roughly five years since they were last selected as a featured winery at this well regarded event entirely focused on Pinot Noir. Each year IPNC's organizers carefully select and invite a diverse representation of Pinot Noir producers from around the globe, amounting to over fifty wineries.

The daily itinerary for the event is impressive; peppered with activities ranging from on-campus seminars, off-site vineyard tours, a Grand Dinner, alfresco tastings, a heavily attended "Salmon Bake," a Champagne Brunch, and a large Pinot Noir tasting on the closing day of the event that is open to those who did not sign up for the entire weekend event.

Belle Pente Vineyards Robert Watkins IPNC web
Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins discussing the terroir of North Canterbury in a seminar on AVAs, hosted at Belle Pente Winery.

Dr Jamie Goode IPNC Alfresco Tasting IPNC
Of the wine media circulating the event was Dr. Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak.

Robert Watkins CEO Mt. Beautiful Rich Moshin Vineyards IPNC
Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins (left) and Rick Moshin of Moshin Vineyards.

Suzanna Mannion and L.M. Archer IPNC Grand Dinner web
Mt. Beautiful's Suzanna Mannion (left) and wine / travel writer L.M. Archer at the Grand Dinner Friday evening.

Rick Moshin Alfresco Tasting IPNC web
The Russian River's Moshin Vineyards were neighbors at the tastings. Pictured here is Rick (at left) and Richard 

IPNC Salmon Bake web
Saturday evening's Salmon Bake lured over 1500 wine loving guests.

IPNC Meals web
Countless beautifully crafted and heartfelt meals were prepareed throughout the event.

Thomas Houseman Anne Amie Vineyards web
Left to Right: Winemaker Thomas Houseman of Anne Amie Vineyards and Mt. Beautiful's Suzanna Mannion


2019 Counter Culture - Anne Amie Vineyards

Counter Culture Chalkboard web

Last weekend Mt. Beautiful attended the 2019 International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville Oregon. The day prior, they were one of 15 wineries pouring Rose and Chardonnay at a neighboring "IPNC" kick-off party called "Counter Culture" hosted by Anne Amie Vineyards. This lively event included fifteen international wineries, delectable local food vendors, highly scenic views and a live DJ. Here are some photos from this fabulously fun event.

Anne Amie Counter Culture Robert Tasting Stand web
Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert Watkins

Ice Cream Truck 50 Licks Anne Amie Counter Culture web
Fifty Licks Ice Cream kept the wine tasters cool and refreshed.

Anne Amie Vineyards Sunset Counter Culture IPNC web
Fantastic panoramas from Anne Amie Vineyard and happy guests enjoying them. 

Counter Culture Anne Amie Vineyards Fire Pit web
A lengthy fire pit was lit and complemented by a fire dancer. 


Two New Reviews by Christina Pickard!

Wine Enthusiast Magazine Logo

Two new reviews by Christina Pickard!

2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc

90 Points

Medium-gold in color, this North Canterbury Sauvignon leads with a heady nose of guava, lychee, and pineapple, with soft aromas of grass and tomato leaf. There's a nice play on the palate between texture and prickly acidity, with plenty of tropical fruit and a long finish. It makes for an apt pairing with summery cuisine.

CH17 release

2017 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay

91 Points – Editor’s Choice

Somewhere between honey and lemon in color, this Chardonnay shows off much of what is so good about the North Canterbury region. The nose is sunny and bright with tropical and stone fruit backed by nutty, toasty and floral aromas. The medium-bodied palate is focused with chalky textured but slippery fruit weight. Lifted acidity and bright fruit add tingly tangy character. Drink over the next few years on its own or with food.


6th Annual "BDR" Fundraiser Ride

2019 markes the third consecutive year that Mt. Beautiful has sponsored Backcountry Discovery Routes which cludes participation in its annual spring fundraiser.

This year, the event was held in Anza Borrego in Southern California.  Mt. Beautiful's CEO Robert wasn't able to attend this year's event, but Marketing Manager Suzanna Mannion was able to make it and represent the brand (and have fun riding!) in his absence. Here's an event recap published on the "BDR" blog: 

"Over 50 ADV riders gathered at the Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort in Borrego Springs, CA at the end of March for the 6th Annual BDR Fundraiser Ride.  This event brings together BDR supporters, Ambassadors and industry professionals for a weekend of BDR-style riding, presentations and important discussions about the work and plans of the BDR organization.

The location of the event changes every year, but the fun and camaraderie among the attendees remains the same. This confluence of energy, common interests and BDR focus translates into ideas and action plans that guide the organization.

Exceptional riding in the desert and mountain terrain during the day, and afternoon soaks in the pool, culminated in serious discussions and serious fundraising (plus some great laughs) over dinner in the evenings."

Full link to the article here including photos here. 


Mt. Beautiful's 2018 Rosé Is on the Opening List at the Rosé Mansion

rose mansion

By Bridget Hallinan 

Now in its second year, the Rosé Mansion is twice as big and serving over 120 bottles of rosé, drawing from every major wine-producing region in the world.

Now that New York City’s Rosé  Mansion is open for its second year, you may see a flood of pink pictures on your Instagram feed. Friends will lounge in the bathtubs strewn with rose petals, dive into bubbly ball pits, and upload Boomerangs popping out of a giant birthday cake, all the while managing to sip rosé, somehow. But Instagram-bait aesthetics aside, don’t forget that this mansion is also meant to be educational. Guests can find out whether they prefer sweet or dry wines, thanks to an interactive quiz painted on the floor; they’ll also get to try diluted acid in the “Acid room” to learn about the main acids in wine. (Tartaric, malic, and citric, in case you were wondering.) Of course, hands-on education also means tasting rosé, and there’s plenty. The house wine list, curated by co-founder Tyler Balliet, currently has over 120 bottles, drawing from every major wine-producing region in the world.

rose mansion new yorl c

First, you start off slow. As you wind through the mansion’s 14 rooms, you’ll receive eight one-ounce pours of wine in your very own Rosé Mansion wine glass. The “Garden” room with the aforementioned bathtubs has a 2018 California Rosé from Apothic available to taste—the attendant told me it was perfect for summer as he topped up my glass, the rosé bolstered by hints of watermelon. A L'Agnostique Rosé de Cinsault complements a pour of tartaric acid in the Acid room, while the “Sweet room,” where you discover your genetic disposition towards sweet, semi-sweet, or dry wine, has three wines accordingly: Quady Red Electra Moscato (2017), Liquid Geography Bierzo Mencía Rosado (2018), and Plume Wines Terre Siciliane Rosato (2018). However, the real drinking starts in RoséLand—“part playground, part party space,” which features New York’s largest selection of rosé and Impossible tacos to boot.

The space, outfitted with cabanas and picnic tables, is where you hang out at the end of your experience—and while you can get a tarot card reading or play on the chandelier swing, we suggest heading straight to the wine bar. On any given day, 25 to 30 rosés are available by the glass, and prices start at $8. A quick glance at the dizzying wine list finds bottles sourced from Croatia, Lebanon, Provence, Macedonia, Turkey, the Finger Lakes, Puglia, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, Chile, South Africa, and many, many more places—as an added bonus, the 20-bottle reserve list is priced at standard retail markup, not restaurant, which saves you some money.

rose mansion new york

On a recent walkthrough of the mansion before opening weekend, Balliet told me that they’re still looking to add even more bottles to the master list, with natural wines from California and France on the horizon, as well as Pét-Nats and vintage grower champagnes. He says they’re also looking to partner with more women winemakers, who currently compose about 30 to 40 percent of the list (which you can find below). There’s also a tasting bar (“opening very soon”) in the Rosé Mansion’s future, with four different flights available each day. It’s perfect if you’re looking to try a few varieties at once—each flight includes three wines in five-ounce pours, and prices start at $15 per flight. Afterwards, you can make your way over to the Taco Dumbo stand and wolf down some chips and guacamole, with a few spicy tuna nori tacos for good measure—then come back the following weekend to do it all over again.

Tickets to the Rosé Mansion are available now, and can be purchased through September 30 at $45 a pop (or $35 before 5 p.m. on the weekdays).

In the meantime, Mt. Beautiful's 2018 Rosé  is one of the wines on the opening list to help you get in the mood. It's an honor to be selected and included in this new popular event! 


Wine Enthusiast Reviews by Christina Pickard

New reviews by Christina Pickard

2018 Mt. Beautiful Rosé

90 Points - also selected as a Top 10 Rosé

The current vintage of this wine is a more complex and less overtly ripe expression than the previous year’s and it’s lovely to see a rosé with more strings to its bow. It sings to the tune of cherry blossoms, orange rind and dried herbs. It’s dry, slippery and refreshing. There’s a bitter note at the finish but this would be a fun one to experiment with food pairings; likely that finish would become unnoticeable with a well matched meal. Mt. Beautiful USA.

2017 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir

90 Points 

A dense multifaceted nose from this quality North Canterbury producer reveals notes of black cherries, peppery herbs, violets, vanilla, warm stones and a slightly meaty funky nuance. Sturdy and relatively thick waisted, the palate is cinched with savory tight-grained tannins and a sweet brambly berry fruit flecked with herbal notes to finish. Drink now through 2026.


The Real Reviews - 92 Points - 2018 Sauv Blanc

A new review by Bob Campbell MW of The Real Reviews:

92 Points - Silver Medal

Quite a serious sauvignon with good weight and a pleasingly rich texture. A hint of tropical fruit with melon, nectarine and nutty yeast lees flavours. Dry but not austere. A good food wine.

Rated 43 of 149 Sauvignon Blancs tasted


Down Under and Over the Top

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Wine Buzz
by JoAnn Actis-Grande

Lighter easier drinking wines are filling the shelves at our favorite wine shops. There are many wine choices, some we seek out to enjoy for a special occasion, others we stock up on for all occasions. Mt. Beautiful wines are made in the Southern Hemisphere. The vineyards are located in North Canterbury, the South Island of New Zealand. Mt. Beautiful is named after the group of mountains along the coastal range within eyes view. The country is known for its breathtaking scenery and beautiful wines. New Zealand sits in the middle of the South Pacific, adjacent to Australia, made up of two islands called the North Island and South Island. The North Island is smaller and more populated than the South Island, which is filled with lakes, rivers, glaciers, mountains, volcanoes, and sheep. Both Islands produce wine.


The country has 10 main wine regions. The cooler maritime climate conditions create wines with very distinct characteristics. The Marlborough region (South Island) 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, and for reds 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 namesake, Mt. Beautiful, protects the vineyards from harsh sea winds.

New Zealand native, Dr. David J. Teece, a well-known scholar, author, and entrepreneur, spent two years searching for the ideal place to pioneer an undiscovered region and fulfill a dream of bringing the best of New Zealand to the world. In 2003, he found the perfect place to attain his mission of producing certified-sustainable, estate-grown, and distinctively restrained wines.

MtBeautiful Trio

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% varietal.

Mt. Beautiful wines exceed expectations. The Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Rosé are all delicious, and the Pinot Noir is a show stopper.

The wines are affordable ($16-$30), easy to drink, and pair beautifully with seasonally fresh foods or opened for special occasions.

2016 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir
Violet aromas followed by vibrant berry fruit flavors.

2018 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc
Floral aromas and tropical fruit flavors that sustain a smooth balance with each sip.

2018 Mt. Beautiful Rosé
Dry yet very refreshing with floral notes and flavors of sweet cherry, orange marmalade, and some dried herbs. A great go to summer wine!


New Planet Grape Wine Reviews by Catherine Fallis MS!

New wine reviews by Catherine Fallis MS! 

2018 Sisters Ridge Sauv Blanc – 90 Points
“Silky, fresh and dry with notes of peach. mango, thyme, lemongrass and chamomile.“

2017 Sisters Ridge Pinot Noir  - 90 Points
“Light, tart and dry with notes of cranberry, raspberry, brown mushroom and cedar.”

2018 Mt. B Sauv Blanc – 91 Points
“Full and creamy then crisp and dry with notes of lemon, lime, peach, pineapple, fennel seed and celery.”

2017 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris – 91 Points
“Creamy. lightly sweet and tingly with notes of starfruit, lemon custard and candied ginger.” 

2017 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay – 90 Points  
“Creamy, supple and fresh with notes of lemon bar, baked pear, vanilla bean, almond sliver and buttered baguette.” 

2017 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir – 93 Points
“Lean, fresh, brisk and racy with notes of strawberry, raspberry, cantaloupe, pink rose. brown mushroom, toasted almond and cinnamon raisin bread.” 


Celebrate Sauvignon Blanc

By Catherine Fallis MS of Planet Grape Wine Review 

In this post Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis selects Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc as one of her picks from New Zealand that fall under the Everyday Value / Shopping Under $20 category. Keep reading for an enticing excerpt about Sauvignon Blanc from her new book "10 Grapes to Know."

Each year Sauvignon Blanc Day (#sauvblanc) is celebrated on the first Friday in May. That makes it May 3rd this year. (grape goddess says “so vin yon blahnk”. Repeat after me. “so vin yon blahnk”.)

As that day begins in New Zealand so will the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc celebrations. As the day progresses they will work their way around the globe in Australia, Asia, London, New York, Canada, and San Francisco.

Sauvignon Blanc Knowledge Crash Course

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most beloved grapes and is planted all over the world. This was not always the case. First known to Americans in the 1960’s as sophisticated if lean and tart French sippers, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé (say “Pwee foo may”) still enjoy a following today and are classic offerings at every French bistro or restaurant.

Just as Malbec has reached its fullest potential not in the south of France but rather on the snow-covered terraces of Argentina, so too has cool but sunny New Zealand birthed a wine so wildly popular it has changed the landscape. Marlborough, New Zealand has absolutely nailed Sauvignon Blanc.

While former West End actor and British wine writer Oz Clarke likes to say the history of Sauvignon Blanc began with the first plantings in New Zealand in 1973, folks in South West France, Bordeaux, and the Loire Valley would beg to differ, claiming it as native to their area. Sauvignon derives from “sauvage”, or “wild”, and is also the “mother” of Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, old records list these two as Sauvignon Blanc, and Sauvignon. In some cases, under-ripe or just barely ripe Cabernet Sauvignon shows a little of mom’s green or grassy character.

France is the historic birthplace of Sauvignon Blanc. From the Loire Valley south of Paris we see smoky, flinty Pouilly Fume and from across the river, subtle, lemony tart Sancerre. Both are grown in rocky soils in a very cool climate. This is Sauvignon Blanc at its least ripe, and most minerally. Sauvignon Blanc plays a minor role in both dry white Bordeaux and Sauternes, the sweet wine of the area. Both of those are commonly based on the richer, rounder and more neutrally flavored Semillon grape, which benefits greatly from Sauvignon Blanc’s lithe and zestiness.

Northern Italian vineyards near Trieste in Friuli Venezia Giulia and near Trentino in Alto Adige are sources of lean, racy styles of Sauvignon Blanc. Northern and Central California produce a variety of styles, and from northern and central coastal valleys in Chile we see the closest thing to Sancerre but at half the price.

All are following the tremendous success of the lively expressive New Zealand versions. The engine room of New Zealand wine is Marlborough, on the South Island, a cool but extremely sunny area with a variety of soil types giving a rainbow of ripeness which, when blended together, produces a seamless, thrilling, refreshing wine.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes at a Glance

France: Loire Valley – Sancerre, Pouilly Fume
Italy: Trentino-Alto Adige, Fruili Venezia Giulia
USA: California – Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa Valley, Livermore, Arroyo Seco
Chile: Northern and Central Coastal Valleys

New Zealand: 
South Island – Marlborough, Nelson, Canterbury, Central Otago
North Island – Hawkes Bay, Martinborough

From the old world, or cold world, neighbors Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé in France’s Loire Valley produce light, tart and sometimes floral wines that are racy, lean and chalky. Pouilly Fumés are generally a bit pricier and occasionally mellow out in oak before being bottled. They sometimes too have a stronger, smokier gunflint type of minerality. From Friuli Venezia Giulia and Alto Adige in northern Italy the Sauvignon Blancs are less green and less fruity, closer in style to a really good Pinot Grigio, but with just a touch of green zestiness.

In the beginning of the modern California wine era, Sauvignon Blanc was made as a nondescript semi-sweet wine. Then came pioneering visionary Robert Mondavi, who had traveled the world to understand its greatest wines. He decided to make a dry Sauvignon Blanc, which he called Fumé Blanc, a reference to Pouilly Fumé. The word “fumé” has two translations from French. One is “smoky” implying strong gunflint minerality and the other is ‘toasty” implying the flavors and textures of new toasted oak barrels.

Beacuse the name Fumé Blanc is unregulated and used at will, it doesn’t offer up any clues as to the wine’s style. Wineries use the name to stand out from the crowd. Their wines may be crisp and dry, mellow and lightly sweet, or even obviously oaky with flavors of vanilla bean or coconut.

Early on, Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc was one of California’s finest Sauvignon Blancs. Today the Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc Reserve Tokalon I-Block Napa Valley, a decadently rich, creamy, toasty, and full-bodied wine from 54-year old vines, is one of the country’s best. Another iconic wine is the Dry Creek Vineyard DCV3 Sauvignon Blanc made with 24-year old vines at its estate in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma.

I am a huge fan of Chilean Sauvignon Blancs from Casablanca Valley as well as nearby San Antonio’s Leyda Valley and Aconcagua. These cool coastal valleys produce dry, crisp, and lightly fruity styles more in line with the French than the New Zealand styles and are extremely well-priced. Even wines labelled as Valley Centrale (or Central Valley),Chile with nothing more specific can provide easy enjoyment.

I love Oz Clarke’s description of New Zealand’s brash, pungent Sauvignon Blanc, an iconic style created by Cloudy Bay winemaker Kevin Judd. He calls it a “cloudburst, thrilling, shocking, lime zest, capsicum, love me or leave me” style of Sauvignon Blanc. Kevin Judd, who produced the Cloudy Bay’s first 25 vintages and who now has his own winery, Greywacke, had no idea this blend of under-ripe green and super-ripe tropical flavors would take the world by storm. He had the idea of blending in the green, tart early picked wine his crew loved so much to with fruit picked just ripe as well as some that was overripe and tropical. It is common to find varying levels of ripeness within the vineyards at the same time due to the variety of soil types.

Now some winemakers are dialing back on these opulent flavors, both the tropical passion fruit and pineapple, and Sauvignon Blanc’s signature zesty green and herbaceous notes. These days quality conscious producers are focusing on textural elements they can manipulate using winemaking techniques such as stirring the lees/yeast sediment, and ageing in barrel. Most of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc on the market never sees oak. Zesty green vegetal flavors and oak are very antagonistic – oak can elevate the pungent greenness to a point where they clash.

However, if the output of the vine is lower than normal – say your tomato plant gave you 20 small tomatoes rather than 40 – each resulting fruit is more flavorful and complex. Take this complex fruit, age for a short time in neutral older oak – no need for oak vanillans or chewy barrel tannins – and the wine stretches out and breathes a little, becoming more mellow and creamy, less edgy. Giesen’s The Fuder series named in honor of the German beer barrel and from selected single vineyard sites is an impressive line-up of this style of Sauvignon Blanc.

Marlborough produces the quintessential style the world has come to love. Marlborough’s sub-zones Wairau River and Southern Valleys areas are the most prolific, but the wines from the Awatere Valley to the southeast have a bracing liveliness, like a refreshing splash from a breaking wave.

In nearby Nelson, a bohemian artist community, Sauvignon Blanc is slightly more mellow. Towards Christchurch, Canterbury produces bright juicy wines. In Central Otago to the south near Queenstown, the wines are peachy and fresh. On the North Island, Hawke’s Bay on the East Coast produces supple, rounded wines while Martinborough near Wellington produces a fresh, lively and spicy style.

If Sauvignon Blanc was a Musician?
As a singer, Sauvignon Blanc would be Adam Levine of Maroon 5. A crisp white shirt lends an air of polish to even the edgiest rock star, covering the full sleeve tatts and chains.

What Would Sauvignon Blanc’s Dating Profile Be Like?
I am lively, exuberant, and the life of the party.
I am fun, high energy, and love to dance.
I like to be the center of attention.
If I grow up in a very cold place without much sun I am lean, edgy, tart and shy.
If I grow up in a very cold place but with a lot of sun, I am passionate and spicy!
I am refreshing and light-hearted. I will make you smile.

Do This Sense Exercise
Sauvignon Blanc is easy to recognize once you’ve smelled and tasted it a few times. This is so fun! Pour a little creamy buttery Chardonnay and a little zippy zesty Sauvignon Blanc and smell and taste them side by side. What do you think now? Which is your favorite?

Matchmaking the Wine with the Yum
Sauvignon Blanc is refreshing on its own and easy to pair with a wide variety of foods. Most of it is light, tart and unoaked. There is a natural affinity with herbs or softly flavored green vegetables. A little spice or heat is okay too.

Every Day with Grape
Seafood & Chicken —
Steamed Mussels with Sauvignon Blanc, Lemon & Coriander
Fresh Oysters with a Squeeze of Lemon
Fish Tacos
Fritto Mist
Lemon Chicken with Asparagus

Goat Cheese – Chevre/Crotin de Chavignol
Goat Cheese – Locally Produced

Insta Dinner
Lean Cuisine – Tortilla Crusted Fish
Lean Cuisine – Butternut Squash Ravioli
Trader Joe’s – Pesto Pasta
Takeout – Fish & Chips

Upscale Convenience
Blue Apron – Summer Vegetable Quesadillas with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Lime Sour Cream

Chile-lime peanuts, popcorn or wings
Smoked Salmon

Make Dinner Tonight!
Mixed Green Salad with Chicken, Goat Cheese and Slivered Almond
Grab a bag of pre-washed mixed greens, precooked and cut chicken, crumbled goat cheese, slivered almonds and Italian salad dressing. Assemble and serve with the fresh, light and billowy Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, $15, or the delicate, silky, crisp and dry Vincent Vatan Pouilly Fume Selection Silex Loire Valley, $22.


What is Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand?

Being stewards to the land is paramount to us. One of the ways we ensure we're on track is by adhering to the Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand's standards. This is an industry wide certification program led by New Zealand Winegrowers.

The Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand programme is based on continuous improvement and adherence to recommendations and guidelines issued by the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand ensures members meet international standards for sustainability practices while helping the environment, businesses and local communities to thrive.

The programme was introduced commercially in 1997 and adopted by grape growers across the country’s winegrowing regions. Sustainable winery certification standards were established in 2002 and adopted by New Zealand wineries, closing the circle on the industry’s sustainability commitment.

Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand was developed in order to:

  • Provide a 'best practice' model of environmental guidelines for the vineyard and winery.
  • Guarantee better quality control from the vineyard through to the bottle.
  • Assure consumers that products are made with minimal impact on the natural and social environment

Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand provides members with:

  • A framework of efficient and economical viticultural and winemaking practices that encourage environmental stewardship.
  • A continuous improvement pathway, enabling organisations to constantly improve and fine tune their methods.
  • A knowledge transfer platform for keeping up-to-date with new technology, approaches, and application techniques.
  • An external audit structure based on adherence to recommendations and guidelines issued by the OIV (International Organisation of Vine and Wine), with integrity and rigour to exceed market expectations.
  • The opportunity to play a part in preserving New Zealand’s unique environment while operating under an independently audited and well-respected sustainability framework.

Pillars of Sustainability:

New Zealand Winegrowers have identified key sustainability focus areas that span all aspects of grape growing and winemaking. Read about them here.

Watch "Why sustainability is important in New Zealand" produced by the New Zealand Winegrowers.


"Southern Belles" NZ Listener

"Southern Belles"
NZ Listener, Michael Cooper

"Pinot Noir, Riesling or something else? You could make a fortunate betting with Christchurch wine lovers about which grape variety is most widely grown at Waipara, in North Canterbury. It's Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is No. 1 in Nelson, too. Together, the South Island's two smallest wine regions have 7% of the national vineyard area but 15% of the country's wineries. A versatile region, Nelson succeeds with several varieties; Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Further South, Riesling and Pinot Noir are clustered at Waipara."

Among a selection of whites, roses and reds, Mt. Beautiful's 2017 Pinot Noir is one of six reds featured in this article receiving the highest rating awarded - 4.5 stars! Here's what Michael Cooper had to say about our '17 vintage:

"This classy red from Cheviot is fragrant and mouthfilling (13% alc/vol) with concentrated, ripe, plummy, gently spicy flavours and a hint of herbs. Savory and complex, it has good ageing potential."

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Name of the licence holder: Dionysus Ventures Limited
Licence number: 57/OFF/411/2023
Licence expiry date: 27 February 2025
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