The Hedonistic Taster | № 20 | Mt. Beautiful – N. Canterbury, New Zealand

The Hedonistic Taster |  № 20 | Mt. Beautiful

by L.M. Archer, FWS | Bourgogne ML


“Wine should not be regarded simply as a beverage, but as an art of living, a pleasure.” – Henri Jayer

Welcome to The Hedonistic Taster, a binNotes | redThread™ trade sampling of gorgeous, small-lot artisan pours in an intimate tasting format.

The title derives from the term ‘hedonistic tasting,’ coined by legendary Burgundian vigneron Henri Jayer.


Today’s Tasting:

Mt. Beautiful | North Canterbury, New Zealand

For those of you unfamiliar with Mt. Beautiful, the story centers around a man, a country, and a quest.

In 2003, world-renown economist and avid outdoorsman David Teece and his wife Leigh set about locating a region where no vineyards yet existed in his native country of New Zealand. His goal: Make world-class wine where no wine had ever been made.

With the  the help of geologist and friend Ron Sutherland, Teece eventually honed in on North Canterbury, an area on the South Island between the Southern Alps and Kaikoura. At first glance, the region’s unrelenting nor’westers, sweltering summers, minimal rainfall, frost-prone winters, and rugged morphology didn’t appear conducive to farming grapes.

But the land’s twenty-three different soil types, including ‘Phoebe,’ a well-draining glacial till/loess/volcanic ash concoction, combined with a myriad of microclimates, proved an alluring gamble. Teece and his wife purchased a total of 184.32 acres, christening the virgin vineyard Mt. Beautiful.

Determined to grow cultivars different from its neighbors in nearby Marlborough, Mt. Beautiful boasts over thirty different clonal selections, each varying in flavor, color, berry size, ripening, phenolics, tannins, susceptibility to disease, and ability to withstand drought and frost, among other characteristics.

Mt. Beautiful practices certified sustainable farming, and enjoys an award-winning reputation thanks to its artisan winemaker, Sam Weaver.

A special note about the wine label, which honors David Teece’s heritage. The label draws from letters written by David Teece’s father, Allan Teece, while serving in New Zealand’s Expeditionary Force in North Africa, Palestine and Italy from 1940 to 1945, and features a hand-drawn map of New Zealand.

For Teece, the ‘call to the land’  is ‘visceral,’ something he learned from his father, and endemic to the  New Zealand culture. Mt. Beautiful winery and vineyard seeks to respect this relationship to the land, and to its unique terroir.  New Zealanders refer to terroir as  Tūrangawaewae, a Māori term which loosely translates to ‘a place to stand.’  These Mt. Beautiful wines clearly stand on their own.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc

Vintage: 2016

Alcohol:  14.1%

Suggested Retail:  $15.99



Robe:  Clear, pale lemon.

Nose:  Tropical notes of lychee, pineapple, melon.

Palate: Lychee, gooseberry, grapefruit bouche; light body, bright acids, snappy finish.

Suggested Pairings:  This self-assured wine can stand alone as a refreshing aperitif, paired with fresh oysters, or served alongside grilled sole with a side of farm-fresh asparagus.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful  Pinot Gris

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.5%

Suggested Retail:  $18.99



Robe:  Clear, pale straw.

Nose:  Pear, white nectarine, tropical notes.

Palate: Kiwi, core of minerality w/ grassy backnote; light body, acid-plus, bright finish.

Suggested Pairings:  Seared sea scallops with black bean garlic sauce. Brilliant. 

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir

Vintage: 2015

Alcohol:  14.0%

Suggested Retail:  $24.99



Robe:  Clear, medium-deep garnet.

Nose:  Clean, developing red fruit notes of red currant and cherry, w/ a  hint of violet on the backnote.

Palate: White pepper, slate, black cherry bouche; dry, acid+, light-medium body, tannins, finish.

Suggested Pairings:  Pan-seared salmon, herb-roasted organic new potatoes and grilled summer vegetables.

Read my interview with winemaker Sam Weaver here.

Learn more about Mt Beautiful here.

I want to hear from you!  Feel free to leave your thoughts on these wines – and any other wine questions – below in the comments section. Cheers!


Copyrighted 2017 L.M. Archer | binNotes | redThread™. All Rights Reserved

4 thoughts on “The Hedonistic Taster | № 20 | Mt. Beautiful – N. Canterbury, New Zealand

    1. Hard to believe, Tamas, but this wine surprised the heck out of me. It pours out with vivid tropical notes and a clarity on the palate that sets it apart from ‘typical’ New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Despite the heat, the fruit tastes absolutely pristine on the palate. Cheers!


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