David Teece, the founder of Mt Beautiful wines, grew up on a farm in New Zealand, studied economics at the University of Pennsylvania, and taught at Stanford and Oxford before settling down in Berkeley, California, where he is a professor in the Haas School of Business. In the early 2000s he went in search of a place in New Zealand where he planted a vineyard and return to his farming roots. He found that place in North Canterbury, located north of Waipara and about an hour and a half from Christchurch on the South Island’s eastern coast. It’s a cool location with just 1100-1280 Growing Degree Days. Today, his vineyard is 75 hectares. Sam Weaver has been the winemaker since 2007. The wines are not only very good, they’re spectacular values!
Mt. Beautiful 2016 Sauvignon Blanc North Canterbury ($16) 90 A superb wine and an incredible value! Full and rich on the palate, this is an especially flavorful, balanced and ripe Sauvignon Blanc showing attractive savory, fleshy melon and tropical guava fruit with tantalizing fresh acidity.
Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Gris North Canterbury ($19) 91 This is one of the better Pinot Gris wines we’ve had from New Zealand. It shows appealing pear and yellow apple fruit aromas and flavors with a soft, creamy palate and lingering flavorful finish. Made from fruit harvested twice for acidity and ripeness, whole bunch pressed, and fermented in old oak and stainless steel.
Mt. Beautiful 2015 Riesling North Canterbury ($22) 89 Showing a fresh, perfumed nose of melon, honeysuckle and citrus, the Riesling has a touch of residual sugar that lifts the flavors and balances the bright acidity on the palate. Perfect for spicy Asian fare.
Mt. Beautiful 2015 Chardonnay North Canterbury ($22) 91 This Chardonnay sees three pickings, is whole bunch pressed, fermented in barrel and tank, and put through partial malo. The result is a beautifully balanced wine with bright acidity, orchard fruit and white stone fruit flavors, and subtle oak influences. Delicious.
Mt. Beautiful 2017 Rosé North Canterbury ($16) 90 An incisive, fresh rosé showing just-picked red berries and a touch of citrus. Refreshing on the palate with good acidity and finishing dry. A blend of direct pressed 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Gris, both of which had 12-24 hours skin contact prior to fermentation in barrel and tank.
Mt. Beautiful 2015 Pinot Noir North Canterbury ($28) 90 The Pinot Noir announces itself with wafting scents of red cherry and dried garden herbs. These are mirrored on the palate with the addition of rustic earthy notes and lingering dried red cherry on the finish.