New Zealand’s Mt. Beautiful Winery
Exploring wines from different regions of the world opens our taste buds to the nuances of grapes grown in different soils and different climates.
The Wine Review Council, a group of wine lovers reviewed wines grown on the South Island of New Zealand (about an hour and half north of Christchurch.) This is the area where Mt. Beautiful stands regally over the vineyards and protects the grapes from the ocean winds. The Mt. Beautiful Vineyard is comprised of 23 different soil types in this small area, plus an array of micro climates.
Eight of us were assigned a different wine and asked to bring a food pairing for our wine. Sometimes this can be difficult since we have not tasted the wine, and wines can surprise us with some unique and interesting variances.
The 2017 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc ($15.99) was one of those surprises, but it was a pleasant surprise. Generally, New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs have a distinct grassiness to them. However, this Sauvignon Blanc explodes with flavors of tropical fruits of pineapple and mango. The pairing chosen for this wine was a Smoked Salmon Dill Cream Cheese Spread. While we liked it, we preferred the Le Delice de Bourgogne triple crème cheese with the wine.
A beautiful seasonal Tomato Ricotta Tart accompanied the 2017 Mt. Beautiful Rosé ($15.99) with flavors of stone fruit, watermelon, and strawberries. The wine was dry and a beautiful color of pink and a red rose tinge. This is a Rosé blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Gris. We determined the wine is not a patio-sipping Rosé but rather one that needs to be paired with food.
Because Chardonnays are bigger whites, the pairing for the 2016 Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay ($21.99) was Thai Spring Rolls of Shrimp and Pork. The Chardonnay, though velvety, jostled your taste buds with flavors of stone fruits, apple, and almonds. The finish was full of minerality. For fun, we sampled the triple crème cheese with the Chardonnay and found a bitter finish which shows that a wrong pairing can change the taste of the wine. We liked the Spring Rolls as a pairing.
A twist on your traditional quiche was the Duck Egg Quiche with Ham and Grapes that was paired with the 2016 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir ($27.99.) The Pinot Noir provided fragrances of violet and black cherries on the nose. Silky and sophisticated would be a good description of this Pinot with a juiciness of blackberries and cherries. An earthiness could be found in this wine which was grown in the highest elevation in the vineyard. We found the fresh Chinook salmon was an excellent pairing for the 2016 Pinot Noir. This wine was chosen as the favorite of our group.
The final Mt. Beautiful wine of the day was the Mt. Beautiful Winery Riesling ($21.99) and was paired with a Fresh Peach Upside-Down Cake. The first sniff of the wine gave off a slight petrol nose which is often a Riesling characteristic, especially when grown with more heat and sunlight. Key lime and apple flavors greet the palate of this off-dry Riesling with a lingering acidic finish. The Thai Spring Rolls paired beautifully with this 2016 Riesling.
Author’s Note: As is customary in this industry, the Wine Review Council was provided with these wines to review.