A Bounty of Top Flight Wines

 

Mt Beautiful wines pair well with a summer of cruising, shrimping, crabbing and relaxation

Each summer I do a summer residence on a boat based out of Seattle, WA. My husband and I tour the San Juan Islands and beyond, generally ending up in Canada. It’s a time to relax, slow down and enjoy the good life of food, wine and travel.

The Elbe

 

Internet is iffy at best. It turns out to be a great time however to review wines, beers, ciders, and spirits as well as cookbooks. Before we take off, I usually stock up on all the items I love from Pike Place Market, freeze most of it and go “shopping” from my on-board freezer as needed. This allows for a whole lot of food and wine pairing. Yes, I am blessed to live this summer adventure every year.

Pike Place Market

 

Mt Beautiful Winery provided a cache of wines for me to review this summer of 2020. I love these wines. Period. They are consistently tasteful representatives of what a thoughtful wine program can produce. Think wines of great integrity that pair with many different kinds of food.

2020 Line Up

 

The winery and its co-owner, David Teece, have a compelling back story. In short, an internationally acknowledged scholar with a love of his heritage applied the lessons he learned throughout his life of farming, academics and personal achievement to build a winery destined to serve up some of New Zealand’s most elegant …and affordable…wines. It is said that David, “… has poured every bit of his heart, soul and business savvy into Mt. Beautiful, attracting the best people, relying on only proven sustainable practices and crafting sublime New Zealand wines.” Drink one of his wines and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

As I said, I spent this summer on the Salish Seas sipping my way through six Mt Beautiful wines. What I found, where white and lighter red wines that delighted the palate and engaged the soul. You’ll love them too, I promise. Honestly, drink any month of the year.

Here’s my impressions of the six wines. You can find them online or in most wine stores and supermarkets.  If the exact vintage is no longer on the shelf, try the next one up or down. These wines are unfailingly excellent.

Prices are approximate. Do your own research for the best deal.

10 Barrels Pinot Noir 2015 / $40-$45:  My favorite of the group, which is actually surprising. Pinots as a group are either killer or awful.  This one was in the killer good category. I was flabbergasted by the enticing nose, depth on the palate and long finish.   Around forty dollars, the quality is there to lure all wine lovers to open their wallet and put their credit card down.

2015 marked the inaugural release of the 10 Barrels Pinot.  Only 229 cases produced, and very little is available in the US. Did you know that in New Zealand, Pinot Noir reigns supreme and is their most widely planted varietal ahead of Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot? I guess that is why this is so good.

Think layers of black cherry, herbs, floral and savory notes with a lovely splash of graphite. It’s light to medium bodied, with textured tannins, tangy fruit and earthy flavors. Drink now or hold until 2026.

 

North Canterbury Chardonnay 2017 / $22: Lovely aromatics of ripe apple and peach. According to the winemaker, “Our Chardonnay has a creamy texture that makes it easy to drink. Medium-bodied with underlying notes of roasted almonds and nectarine confit, it finishes clean and crisp with a lovely persistent flint-like minerality.” Pair with roasted chicken, salmon dishes and a positive attitude.

North Canterbury Riesling 2017 / $20: Crafted by Sam Weaver from a region ideally suited to the variety. Attention-grabbing notes of orange peel, honeysuckle and minerals. A touch of residual sugar adds complexity to the taste. Great wine! Try with Asian flavored foods or a juicy summer fruit.

 

North Canterbury Rosé 2019/ $15: The color of a sunset at Pelican Bay, this wine is a solid offering for your wine stash. Intoxicating summer notes of red berries and watermelon jump from the glass. Refreshing on the palate, there’s enough yum here to pair with a variety of summer or holiday dishes. This is a traditionally made Rosé produced from Pinot Noir (65%) and Pinot Gris (35%). The juice was pressed off after a period of light skin contact and co-fermented in tank. The winemaker shares, “Our Rosé has a classic light pink hue with fragrant wild strawberry, comice pear and savory aromas. On the palate the wine is dry with a clean fruitiness soft and textured and crisp refreshing finish.” Pairs beautifully with fresh run salmon bake, Vietnamese beef salad or solo at a late afternoon happy hour on the bow.

North Canterbury Sauvignon Blanc 2018 / $15: Medium-gold in color, think juicy notes of guava, lychee, and pineapple, with soft aromas of grass. Super aromatics of violet, fresh pear, and white stone fruits. This is a full-bodied wine with a creamy mouthfeel balanced by threads of crisp citrus and a long finish. Pair with arugula and feta salad, pasta carbonara or freshly shucked oysters served outside on a beautifully set table on the fly-bridge.

North Canterbury Pinot Gris 2017/ $20:  There is always a bit of confusion about Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio. Actually they are the same grape variety, the names are synonyms. The usual take on this varietal is that they can be thin and tasteless. Fortunately, wines like the excellent 2017 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Gris come along to set the bar higher.

This wine is lovely and gently elevated on the palate. Pair its aromas and flavors of ripe citrus and light floral notes with pan-fried snapper in a light caper-accented cream sauce or freshly caught shrimp.