Mt. Beautiful is a major New Zealand wine operation, sourcing fruit from the North Canterbury region. Its 2017 releases are just now hitting. Thoughts follow.
2016 Mt. Beautiful Rose North Canterbury – A rose of pinot noir, this wine tastes off — dirty and earthy, with mushroom notes where none should be. A watermelon-strawberry character eventually endures underneath, but the dusty funkiness mars the experience from the start too much to overcome. C- / $15
2015 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris North Canterbury – Slightly musty, its fruit dulled by an earthy perfume note that lingers a bit too long and too strenuously. The finish is modestly herbal, with a slightly meaty edge to it. On the whole, I like pinot gris to showcase fruit more clearly. B / $17
2016 Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc North Canterbury – Mt. Beautiful always makes classic New Zealand style sauv blanc, and this one is no exception to the rule. While it’s dialed back a bit, the overall impact of orange blossoms, lime, pineapple, mango, and bright acidity add up to a crowd-pleasing, fruit-forward wine with lots of freshness to it. Mt. Beautiful can often be overblown, but this expression is firing beautifully (no pun intended). A- / $13
2015 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir North Canterbury – Somewhat unctuous with notes of cherries in syrup, this wine eventually settles down to reveal notes of tea leaf, gingerbread, and a touch of balsamic on the back end. A workable pinot that works its best with food. B+ / $20