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Wine, etc.: Like red, fruity wine? Here are some to discover.

Capital Gazette logo

Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

Capital Gazette, Patrick Darr and Tom Marquardt

"Far be it from us to tell you what you should like in wine. We may be able to tell you what is a good wine, but we can’t determine what is a good wine to you.

We can tell you, for instance, many cheap, jammy and sweet wines are not good wines. But, if you like them, who are we to say you shouldn’t?

So, call us frustrated that these extracted wines are flooding the market and attracting consumers who haven’t the desire to ponder something more balanced. While serious winemakers have been refining their wines for centuries, others have come along to mask defects with a load of sugar.

We get it. There are no rules, right?

“Once you ripen wine to almost a raisin quality, you lose a little varietal character, especially with cabernet sauvignon,” said Jay Turnipseed winemaker at the Rutherford Wine Co.

He said an over-extracted cabernet loses its red currant flavors, picks up more dark cherry and plum character and sheds some the tannins that give it ageability.

He doesn't take issue with producers who make these riper wines if it's appropriate for their business. While some winemakers base their reputation on complex and age-worthy cabernet sauvignon, others look for fast sales from ripe, sweet zinfandel blends.

If you like your red wine fruity and forward, here are some to discover:"

Among the six "Wine Picks" they feature our 2016 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir!

"Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir North Canterbury 2016 ($30). This is another notable pinot noir from New Zealand where their pinot noirs are deservedly becoming better known. Deep dark and rich black cherry flavors are dominant in this bold pinot noir. It would do well with beef dishes."

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Somms’ journey sparks new thinking about New Zealand wines

The Boston Globe,The Boston Globe, Ellen Bhang 

"Leave it to a duo of Boston sommeliers to broaden notions about New Zealand wine.

Earlier this year, Nick Daddona, beverage director of Boston Urban Hospitality (which includes Deuxave, dbar, and Boston Chops) and Lauren C. Daddona, wine director of Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in the Back Bay, toured some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most breathtaking vineyards. The two are among the most respected wine professionals in town, and also happen to be husband and wife. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national trade association, organized the two-week trip, flying an international contingent of somms and writers to major wine regions up and down the North Island and South Island.

The Daddonas were keen on exploring wines that have little presence in Massachusetts. “I thought we were seeing a fairly skewed offering here in the States,” says Lauren Daddona, noting that sauvignon blanc — New Zealand’s most exported style — dominates the market. But Kiwi producers craft excellent wine beyond that white grape. “They’re not afraid to experiment and have no problem with innovation,” says Nick Daddona. Tasting an assortment of terroir-driven varietals, he says, “was like finding little points of genius.”

Back in Boston, the couple hosted a tasting that provided a glimpse into that range. A Martinborough pinot noir offered textured red fruit and scents of cedar. A syrah from Hawke’s Bay expressed dried fruit along with savory notes of jerky and black olive. Central Otago’s pinot gris and riesling were vivid and lively. Bottles like these can be had at both of the sommeliers’ restaurants, but what about retail?

The search proved challenging. Shop shelves were crowded with the grassy-grapefruity style of sauvignon blanc, but often little else. Sleuthing pointed to different varietal expressions in the market, but many — especially in the $30-and-under range — were out of stock or otherwise unavailable.

So what a pleasure to locate three in good supply: an exuberant pinot noir, a gutsy rosé, and a wild yeast-fermented sauvignon blanc, none of which are the usual suspects. Each serves as a reminder to ask your neighborhood shop for more variety from this corner of the globe.

“The world is ready to accept the diversity of what they make,” enthuses Lauren Daddona. “These wines really overdeliver.”

Our 2016 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir was selected as one of three wines featured in this article: 

"Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir 2016 Owner David Teece named his estate for the peak that protects vineyards from coastal winds of North Canterbury. This red is full of cherry-berry notes, an edge of appetizing bitterness, and subtle tannins. $25 to $30." 

Read the article here at the Boston Globe online. 

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Fall Rose Wine Picks - Liquid Assets for Boaters

Food Wine Travel Chix, Linda Kissam

"Rosés are the darlings of warm fall weather and the boating life … and for good reason. They pair well with pretty much any food you might have on board …from hot dogs to shrimp. Throw in an avocado or two and you have pure heaven.

Rosés can be made into various cocktails too. If you go down that road, I suggest making rosé ice cubes and pouring club soda over them. Trust me, it’s an easy-to-make crowd pleaser.

Each boating year I do a couple of different tastings. This year it was ciders and Rosés. My husband and I were on an 8 week cruise in our 42’ Grand Banks gliding over the Canadian coastal waters. Food storage – fresh and canned – is at a premium. Space for adult beverages are also tough to find, so what we bring aboard needs to be top notch without breaking the budget. We’ve found storing our wines deep under the floor boards in the aft cabin keep the wines cool and ready to serve. Our pairings are simple and boat focused. The best is when we can catch fresh fish.

Mt Beautiful 2017 Beautiful Rosé – (About $15) – A dry, crisp blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Gris. Salmon pink color with some floral notes and sweet red berry aromas on the nose. Love the taste of white peach and pink grapefruit. Smooth texture and acid friendly. This is a medium bodied wine with a significant finish. Pair with a charcuterie board."

Read the article here.  

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Beautiful Wines from New Zealand’s Mt. Beautiful Winery

Beautiful Wines from New Zealand’s Mt. Beautiful Winery

By Linda Milks

"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.

tomato ricotta tart

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.

thai spring rolls

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.

fresh peach upside dxcown cake

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.

Both Wine.com and Total Wine & More (in some areas) carry Mt. Beautiful wines. You can also buy them online through Mt. Beautiful Winery and Vineyards.

Author’s Note: As is customary in this industry, the Wine Review Council was provided with these wines to review."

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The Hedonistic Taster: Mt. Beautiful Winery

The Hedonistic Taster, L.M. Archer

"As a wine writer, It’s rare to desire every wine sampled in a tasting line-up. Yet each Mt. Beautiful Winery wine here elicits a hankering for more. Hats off to Mt. Beautiful winemaker Sam Weaver, a quiet leader in New Zealand’s Sustainable Winegrawing program, whom I first met at IPNC some years ago. Mt. Beautiful Winery proprietor David Teece have spared no expense, both in the vineyard and the cellar, to produce truly original, premium wines. This year marks Mt. Beautiful’s tenth vintage anniversary making wines in one of the world’s most hardscrabble locations. Good on them – here’s to more!

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc
Vintage: 2017
Alcohol: 13%
Robe: Clear lemon hue.
Nose: Cut grass, gooseberry, lime blossom, saline aromas.
Bouche: Lime zest, grapefruit, pineapple bouche; light-medium body, bright acids.
Quintessential New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc squared – gorgeous, pristine fruit + quality wine making.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Riesling
Vintage: 2016
Alcohol: 11.3%
Robe: Pale lemon hue with tiny, iridescent green flecks.
Nose: Petrol, burnt rubber, citrus aromas.
Bouche: Medium body, off-dry, citrus bouche.
Solid, quality Riesling. Go ahead, Somms + wine geeks – you want this wine.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Chardonnay
Vintage: 2016
Alcohol: 13.5 %
Robe: Pale lemon robe.
Nose: White flowers, stone fruit, citrus aromas.
Bouche: Golden apple, white nectarine, mineral backnote bouche; light-medium body, nervy acids, clean finish.
Smitten. Best non-oak bomb New World Chardonnay yet. More, please.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Rosé
Vintage: 2017
Alcohol: 13%
Robe: Gorgeous burnt apricot hue.
Nose: Lychee, white ginger, baking spice aromas.
Bouche: White peach, nectarine, nutmeg bouche; medium body, bright acids. You had me at ‘gorgeous burnt apricot robe.’
Alluring, intoxicating, haunting, “must have more” rosé. This wine just ain’t pretty – it’s got brains, too – which is why it ranks among my Top Five Fave Rosés for 2018.

Wine: Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir
Vintage: 2016
Alcohol: 13.5%
Robe: Deep ruby robe.
Nose: Smokey, dark cherry, violet, bramble aromas.
Bouche: Blackberry, black cherry, red fruit bouche; light-medium body, artfully balanced acids and tannins, lingering finish.

Seamlessly constructed, exceptional quality Pinot Noir at a ridiculously accessible price point. No brainer, Pinotphiles. Buy. Drink. Repeat."

Read the whole article Hedonistic Taster

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Let’s Talk Wine: Slide into Pinot Noir this summer

Fosters.com JoAnn Actis-Grande

"August 18 is National Pinot Noir Day and a great reason to enjoy a glass or two. Choosing the right wine is very important. Pinot Noir wines are easy to drink and an excellent choice which can take you through your entire meal any time of year – from sipping alone to eating appetizers, entrees and dessert.

It wasn’t that long ago when I watched the movie Sideways on a return flight from a wine tasting tour to Greece through the Peloponnese and the Island of Paros. The movie released in 2004 was based on a story of two men chasing the best pinot noir in central California, having an incredible impact on its sales. At that time, Greek wines were starting to become popular here on the Seacoast, while at the same time pinot noir was becoming as desirable as the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, with its sensual characteristics.

Long before the movie, oenophiles already knew pinot noir was one of the most-sought after wines. Some of the finest French Champagne and Sparkling wines are made from the pinot noir grape. Pinot Noir is referred as “the sensual wine” with a soft, silky, and velvety texture. The wine radiates a luminous garnet color; a rich medium-bodied wine that’s not heavy. Aromas and flavors can be found as diverse as cherry, strawberry, plum, cedar, vanilla and chocolate. Some pinot noir wines can be high in alcohol but they are not acidic or tannic making them great choices to accompany all types of food, any time of year.

Pinot Noir is fragile and hard to grow. The grape thrives in cooler climates, especially those with foggy mornings, warm sunny days and crisp nights. The terroir has a strong influence on the wines characteristics. Burgundy, France and the United States – predominantly in the West – produce excellent Pinot Noir, both with distinct styles and pricing. In the past decade, California (Santa Ynez, Sonoma Coast, Russian River, and Anderson Valley) Oregon (Willamette Valley) and New Zealand (Central Otago, North Canterbury) Pinots show an increased sophistication. Some other countries producing fine Pinot Noir are Australia, Canada, Greece, Italy and South Africa."

JoAnn selected our 2016 Pinot Noir as one of herr six favorite picks:

"Produced in the northern part of New Zealand’s south Island. Bright raspberry and bing cherry notes are enhanced by a lively, spicy element and refreshing acidity."

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"Beautiful Summer Wines" - Pacific Northwest Tourist

Beautiful Summer Wines  |  Mt Beautiful Summer WinesMt Beautiful Summer Wines
Linda Kissam, Pacific Northwest Tourist 

Linda Kissam boating

Each summer as my husband and I take out our 42’ Grand Banks for an 8-10 week cruise I choose some special wines to bring along to review and do some sea-going food pairing. This year we traveled around the beautiful San Juan Islands and Canadian Broughtons area with two other couples each with their own boats. Heron, Cowabunga and Jubilant rafting

As a wine writer, I have access to some of the best wines possible to take along. My in box is full of opportunities to take advantage of wine samples. I choose to take along Mt. Beautiful wines this trip. I am glad I did. The wines are varietal specific with that wonderful New Zealand terroir popping its head up in each sip. They pair easily with many different foods. The price is right. They perfectly match a beautiful summer.

So let’s raise a glass to summer boating and the warm weather with one of these delicious budget-friendly bottles from Mt. Beautiful wines—each under $25. I think you’ll find the food pairings interesting. They reflect the meals we plan each day aboard our boat, especially the lucky days we catch fresh fish.

Mt. Beautiful is a major New Zealand wine operation, sourcing fruit from the North Canterbury region. Check out “Mt. Beautiful Winery Brand Overview” from Mt. Beautiful Wines on Vimeo. The video is available for your viewing pleasure at https://vimeo.com/23250515

Mt Beautiful Chardonnay

Mt Beautiful 2017 Chardonnay (About $23) paired with fish chowder: This Chardonnay is different from your average oaky or tank crafted ones. We enjoyed the ripe fruit notes of apple, stone fruits and nectarines, the smooth texture and medium body makes it an easy-to-pair wine. The real bonus is the clean finish with lovely flint like minerality.

Planted on the most Northern part of the vineyard it is, “hand-tended and hand-harvested. “ The clones are a mixture of French clones B 95 and 2/23 grafted into root stock. The first vintage was 2013.

Mt Beautiful Sauv Blanc

Mt Beautiful 2017 Sauvignon Blanc (About $15) paired with Shrimp Fettuccine: Everyone loves this wine, especially me. If I could only stock one type of wine, this would be it for summer boating perfection. Its characteristic New Zealand flavor profile is always a hit and very easy to pair with most summertime foods. Enticing, but not overwhelming tropical flavors of lime, mango and pineapple. The grassy notes are dulled somewhat. A rich mid-palate all the way through to a crisp finish with that bright minerality that we look for in a New Zealand wine.

The majority of the Sauvignon Blanc is planted on the most northern part of the vineyard which is cooler and more suited to this variety. All of the Sauvignon Blanc is hand-thinned and machine harvested before it is pressed into juice on site. The Bordeaux clones used, “ …tends to give a definite lift to Sauvignon Blanc flavors, with less cut grass and more tropical flavors providing a more artisan style, balanced, elegant wine which compliments a range of foods.”


Mt Beautiful 2016 Pinot Noir (About $23) paired with fresh Coho Silver Salmon: Begins with elegant notes of cranberry, black cherry, mild oak, spice and some easy floral notes. Complex yet smooth. It has a lovely warm finish. A little richer than some other Pinots, but did not overwhelm the rich salmon meal.

This Pinot Noir is planted on the Southern section, which has the highest elevation in the vineyard, providing extra warmth and less exposure to frost. Closely planted to reduce vigor resulting in lower crop levels, allowing the grapes to achieve, “… a true expression of this variety.” Hand tended throughout the season and at harvest. The winemaker is looking, “… to build sound palate structure in the wine, providing a vibrant ruby wine with ripe fruit, subtle tannins, great length and persistence of flavor.” I think they made their point very well.

crab

2016 Mt Beautiful Riesling (About $22) paired Crab salad & cornbread: Yummy with ripe but off-dry flavors of honeysuckle and lime. Citrus notes combine with a crisp minerality and ripe apple. Nice acidity on the finish by blending two different blocks of Riesling.

“The Riesling is planted on the higher elevated Southern section of the vineyard bordered by gullies, with the gully to the west being an established pine forest creating a warm sheltered block.”

Mt Beautiful 2017 Beautiful Rose (About $15) paired with a ham sandwich: A dry, crisp blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Pinot Gris. Salmon pink color with some floral notes and sweet red berry aromas on the nose. Love those taste of white peach and pink grapefruit. Smooth texture and acid friendly. This is a medium bodied wine with a significant finish. Great for most lunchtime fair.

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90 Points, 2016 Sauv Blanc - Wine Enthusiast

Here's a sweet score in Wine Enthusiast  Magazine on our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc! 

90 Points

"Light gold in color, this is a luscious wine for those who like their Sauvignon Blanc with body and texture. Aromas of lemon rind and green apple skins mingle with tomato leaf, wet stone and a matchstick flintiness. The palate is incredibly mouthfilling and plump, but there is just enough acidity to keep it afloat."

See this review on Wine Enthusiast's website here

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Mt. Beautiful Sponsors Fundraiser Feast by Māia Health Foundation

Mt. Beautiful is proud to have been one of the sponsors of the Maia Health Feast where 260 Cantabrians came to a formal black tie feast at the Christchurch Art Gallery to raise funds for a rooftop helipad atop the Christchurch Hospital. $145k were raised that evening with $100k coming from a silvent auction.

Read an article on this event at Stuff here. 

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Midwinter Winemakers' Feast

MT Beautiful Two Rivers Cafe and Wine Tasting Room Bw

Friday 10th August 2018 we hosted our Midwinter Winemakers' Feast at Mt. Beautiful's Two Rivers Cafe & Wine Tasting Room located in Central Cheviot.

MT Beautiful Two Rivers Cafe and Wine Tasting Room Cw

A mix of forty five guests, both locals and those from out of town, came together to enjoy the evening's bounty. Included on the guest list were some key members of Mt. Beautiful Winery's U.S. team including CEO Robert Watkins, Business Operations Manager Cori Gormley and Administrative Executive Maura Sullivan.

MT Beautiful Two Rivers Cafe and Wine Tasting Room Aw

The evening started in the Tasting Room where guests arrived for canapes and tastings of current wine vintages, followed by a family style feast featuring Mt. Beautiful beef and lamb.

MT Beautiful Two Rivers Cafe and Wine Tasting Room Ew

Winemaker Sam Weaver and Assistant Winemaker Ben Weaver spoke a little about the wines at the beginning, and mingled with guests throughout the evening answering questions and queries.

Dinner started with 2016 Pinot Noir magnums followed by 2015 Pinot Noir, 2015 10 Barrels Pinot Noir and 2009 Pinot Noir.

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A taste of Mt. Beautiful's special dessert wine (straight from the barrel) was presented alongside beautifully prepared platters of local cheeses. This brought a close to the feast.

General Manager Kimberley Eagle said "It was a really fantastic evening! We have since had a lot of great feedback from people who attended and people who heard about this event through the grapevine.

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A Summer Travelogue of 25 Geographically Diverse Wines

Three Mt. Beautiful wines were featured in The Daily Meal by Contributor Roger Morris.

"Sometimes, tasting through a group of recently released wines is like taking a tour of the world’s wine regions, some well-known, others relative newcomers. Such is the case here, with three wines from the beautiful but barely known North Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island. Add to this some prickly and refreshing red sparkling wines from the region around Bologna in northern Italy, a group of geographically and stylistically diverse red wines for less than $30 and, finally, a deluxe, delicious and very expensive Champagne, and it’s time to bring out the wine atlas and start looking at its maps."

  • Mt. Beautiful North Canterbury Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($16). A sweaty sauvignon with flavors of green grapes and lime with a hint of cream.
  • Mt. Beautiful North Canterbury Chardonnay 2016 ($22). A “soft” chardonnay with creamy fruit surrounded by lightly tart, dusty tannins.
  • Mt. Beautiful North Canterbury Pinot Noir 2016 ($24). A light-ish pinot with creamy cherries and moderate acidity.

Read the entire article here. 

photo: istockphoto.com

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93 Points, Top 100 Wine of 2018 - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Here's a sweet score by Joshua Greene of Wine & Spirits Magazine on our 2017 Sauvignon Blanc! 

This wine has also been selected as one of the Top 100 Wines of 2018 and will be featured in Wine & Spirit's October issue. 

93 Points and "Best Buy" 

“This grows on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, the vines protected from the ocean winds by a range of coastal mountains. It's a fresh, substantial white with ripe notes of green pear and a buzz of orange-like acidity. For such a big wine, it manages to feel crunchy and coastal, built for sea bass roasted with fennel.”



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Mt. Beautiful Winery Vintage 2018 Report

Vines Landscape Vintage 2018

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.

Grapes in Bins Vintage 2018

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.

Pinot Noir Grapes in Bin Vintage 2018

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!

Processing Pinot Noir Vintage 2018

Last Day of Harvest Vintage 2018

Sunset Blog Vintage 2018

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Food & Wine Classic - Aspen, Colorado

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.

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Our team out for dinner. L to R: Tiffany, Suzanna, Robert, Maura and Caitlin.

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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)

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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.

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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)

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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.

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About Laura:
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.

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2018 Backcountry Discovery Routes

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 BDR 2018

Robert Watkins, CEO of Mt. Beautiful

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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!

BDR Map Routes 2018

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.

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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.

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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 BDR 2018

Paul Guillien, CEO of Touratech-USA + BDR Board President (bio)

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Rob Watt - BDR's Director of Route Development (bio)

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Tim James, Owner of James Howard + BDR's Creative Director (bio) with Inna Thorn, BDR's Director of Operations (bio)

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L to R: Ron West, BDR Supporter, Tracy Jeffries, BDR Ambassador (SheADV profile) and Sterling Noren - BDR's Cinematographer (website)

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Group shot of those who have attended all five BDR spring fundraisers.

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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.

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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.

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L to R: Court Butler (BDR Board Member (bio) + Owner of Butler Maps), Rob Watt and Shawn Lupcho (Creator of MotoSkiveez)

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L to R: Eric Hougen (Owner of Wolfman Luggage) and Jeff Anderson (Co-Owner of Southwest Motorcycle Tours)

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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.

BDR 2018 Bill whittacre

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!

BDR 2018 Ride Right Inna Tracy and Suzanna

L to R: Tracy Jeffries, Suzanna Mannion and Inna Thorn holding up the "Ride Right" campaign sign.

BDR 2018 TJ

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.

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