Just in from from L.A. Wine Competition; matching silver medals for our 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Pinot Noir and 2016 Chardonnay.
Well done winemaking and vineyard teams!
Here is a report on Vintage 2018 with combined insights from our Winemaker Sam Weaver and Director of Viticulture Fin Grieve.
Mt. Beautiful Winery Vintage Report 2018
Spring started very wet with 400mm of rain over September and October. Unbelievably there were no spring frosts, so the vines had an extremely good start and shoot growth was way ahead of previous seasons right from the get go.
The weather overall was warm (max 40 Celsius), interspersed with significant rain events which lead to good maturity. Growing Degree Days was at 1350, significantly up on last vintage (1230) and high for North Canterbury.
Rainfall was 1170mm, again higher than 2017 and high for the region. It was noticeably higher in Jan at 130mm and in Feb at 170mm.
Picking commenced on March 21st, ten days earlier than it had in 2017 and wrapped up April 12th. In total 533 tonnes of fruit were received into the winery, up 100 tonnes from 2017.
2018 was Mt. Beautiful's biggest vintage yet!
In terms of vintages, 2018 was a pretty easy one which ran very smoothly at Mt. Beautiful. Flowering was quite extended which was surprising given the warm weather, however, the resulting fruit set was excellent across all varieties.
The timing of the rains was such that the vineyard didn’t need to irrigate at all throughout the season, however, it also meant that the vines didn’t stop growing which created significant more hand work in the vineyard with trimming and plucking.
We experienced some disease pressure at harvest especially with our Riesling and Chardonnay. The vintage was relatively compressed, which meant that most grapes ripened at the same time. This resulted in some blocks being picked later with higher potential alcohols than we would have liked.
The winery worked exceptionally well and we were adequately staffed with our Assistant Winemaker Ben Weaver along with six interns who worked very well together. Our Vineyard Manager Garrick was also great to work with, and really helped the overall process!
Mt. Beautiful's U.S. team enjoyed a fabulous time at Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado once again this year. Here are some photos and highlights.
Our team out for dinner. L to R: Tiffany, Suzanna, Robert, Maura and Caitlin.
This year our wines were selected to be featured in two seminars.
One of the seminars was Laura Werlin's "To Brie or not to Brie: Indulgent Cheeses and Wines" We are so honored that Laura chose our Pinot Noir to feature in her Aspen seminar. There was no shortage of interest in her seminars as evidenced by the lines out the door ... and all the way down the steps! (Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn about Laura)
The weekend's forecast called for rain and thunderstorms which made apparel choices limiting and navigation on foot challenging at times. Fortunately, the breadth of delectable (no - amazing!) food and drink that was abound helped offset any of these inconveniences.
Our 2017 Rosé was featured in a seminar called "Match Made in Heaven: Chocolate and Wine" by the one and only Leslie Sbrocco. In the seminar, Leslie and Nicole Patel; Chef and Founder of Delysia Chocolatier (based in Asutin, Texas), paired six wines with eight chocolates that Nicole created just for this seminar.
Leslie and Nicole selected our Rosé to pair with a candied butterscotch chocolate truffle: white chocolate blended with butterscotch, then studded with bits of candied ginger, hazelnuts, and orange in a dark chocolate shell. !!!
Needless to say it was crazy good. What a fun (and also very popular) seminar! (Scroll dto the bottom of this post to learn more about Leslie Sbrocco)
L to R: Chef & Founder of Delysia Chocolatier Nicole Patel (at left), Lucio Matricardi of Mezzacorona and Anjoleena Griffin-Holst from Kimpton’s Grand Cayman Resort.
Laura Werlin is a popular presenter at food and wine festivals around the nation but most prominently at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. She is also a regular instructor at The Cheese School of San Francisco and an award winning author of several books about cheese including The New American Cheese, Great Grilled Cheese, The All American Cheese and Wine Book, Mac & Cheese Please, Cheese Essentials and Grilled Cheese Please!
About Leslie Sbrocco:
Leslie Sbrocco is an award winning author, speaker, wine consultant and television host. Two of the titles she has authored include Wine for Women: A Guide to Buying, Pairing, and Sharing Wine and The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide: Buying, Pairing, and Sharing for All.
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).
Paul Guillien, CEO of Touratech-USA + BDR Board President (bio)
Rob Watt - BDR's Director of Route Development (bio)
Tim James, Owner of James Howard + BDR's Creative Director (bio) with Inna Thorn, BDR's Director of Operations (bio)
L to R: Ron West, BDR Supporter, Tracy Jeffries, BDR Ambassador (SheADV profile) and Sterling Noren - BDR's Cinematographer (website)
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.
L to R: Court Butler (BDR Board Member (bio) + Owner of Butler Maps), Rob Watt and Shawn Lupcho (Creator of MotoSkiveez)
L to R: Eric Hougen (Owner of Wolfman Luggage) and Jeff Anderson (Co-Owner of Southwest Motorcycle Tours)
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.
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.
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."
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."
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 ...
"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
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 Blancc was one of four Sauv Blancx featured in this article!
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:
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 of Wine Weirdos and Carl Giavanti, wine PR pro, taste us through our 2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauv Blanc!
Our vineyard and winery crews are ramping up for harvest, but on our Caverhill Farm (960 hectares) Hamish our Farm Manager, and his team are taking our Corriedale sheep in for a "dip." The fungicide / insecticide solution the sheep are showered in helps protect them against infestation by flies and parasites. It's a vital step taken to protect the sheep and their wool prior to shearing.
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 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......?”
Michael Cooper reviewed several Mt. Beautiful vintages which were included in his 2018 Buyers’ Guide:
2015 Chardonnay: 4 Stars, -V
Estate-grown at Cheviot, north of Waipara, the 2015 vintage (4*) was handled in an even split of tanks and seasoned French oak casks. Pale lemon/green, it has a creamy bouquet, leading into a mouthfilling, softly textured wine with vibrant, ripe stone-fruit flavours to the fore, hints of biscuity oak adding complexity, balanced acidity and a slightly buttery finish. Drink now or cellar. Drink 2017 – 2012.
2015 Pinot Gris: 4 Stars, -V
The 2015 vintage (4*) was estate-grown at Cheviot and handled in tanks (90 per cent) and old oak casks (10 per cent). Light lemon/green, it is sturdy (14.5 per cent alcohol), fleshy and rounded, with generous, ripe, peachy, slightly spicy flavours and a fully dry, creamy-smooth finish. Drink 2017 – 2019.
2015 Pinot Noir: 3+ stars, -V
Maturing gracefully, the 2015 vintage (4*) was estate-grown at Cheviot, north of Waipara, and matured for a year in French oak barriques. Full-coloured, it is sturdy, with good weight and strong, ripe cherry, plum and spice flavours, slightly nutty and savoury. Developing good complexity, it should be at its best mid-2018+. Drink 2016 – 2022.
2016 Riesling: 4 stars, -V
Estate-grown at Cheviot, the racy 2016 vintage (4*) is a pale lemon/green, highly scented wine, light to medium-bodied, with strong, lively lemon/apple flavours, a minerally streak, and a gently sweet (13 grams/litre of residual sugar), crisp finish. Drink now or cellar. Drink 2017 – 2025.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc: 4 Stars, -V
Estate-grown at Cheviot, north of Waipara, the light lemon/green 2016 vintage (4.5*) is a sturdy, weighty wine, with excellent vigour and concentration of ripe passionfruit/lime flavours, finely balanced, dry, crisp and long. Drink now or cellar. Fine value. Drink 2017 – 2019.
Here our Assistant Winemaker, Ben Weaver, checks barrels before they start emptying them and putting the Mt. Beautiful blend together.
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.
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.
In Ronn Wiegand's latest Issue #175-177 of Restaurant Wine, he shares five excellent reviews of Mt. Beautiful's wines.
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.
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.
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..”