As I blogged about previously in the 2009 Mt. Beautiful sauvignon blanc review, New Zealand is well known (and justifiably so) as a producer of that varietal. 20 years ago, the first wines from the land of the Kiwi (and Flight of the Conchords) to make it to our shores were sauvignon blancs, offering a diametrically opposing flavor profile to California's examples.
The New Zealand rieslings are beginning to garner attention though, and I tried the 2009 Mt. Beautiful Cheviot Hills riesling on Memorial Day while I ate chips and hummus at my brother's place. We did barbecue later, but that wine probably won't be written up because it wasn't very good.
While not exactly cheap at $19 suggested retail, the Mt. Beautiful does deliver in spades. Aromatically, a beautiful mix of flowers and citrus wafted up out of the glass. I also detected a hint of rubber and tart green apple. Finding aromas like those always brings a smile to my face. My tasting impressions took place after I chilled the wine for about 15 minutes in the fridge, then after taking notes I stuck it back in for about an hour.
To date, my experience with New Zealand riesling is somewhat limited but if they taste like the 2009 Mt. Beautiful, sign me up for a lot more. I loved the crisp citrus elements that intertwined with just a hint of apricot and pear, creating a savory/sweet/crisp experience that had everyone raving. I poured this for my Mom, younger brother, and his girlfriend. Each of them loved it and I think a lot of that had to do with the dash of sweetness on the finish. The winemaker aged this riesling on light lees for about six months which contributes to the complexity and rounder, less angular mouthfeel. Another fact that you know will make me happy is the 12.5% abv present. Hooray for low alcohol wines!
For that $19 suggested retail (think closer to $15 on the shelf) you get a slam dunk riesling. A- and STRONG BUY recommendation. This is the real deal, riesling lovers. Buy it. To find where to buy it locally, contact Mr. Robert Watkins here or Ms. Catherine Seda here.
This wine was sent as a media sample for review purposes.