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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Mt. Beautiful Wines - Cheviot Hills, New Zealand


Forging a new path in premium winemaking in the country’s undiscovered region of Cheviot Hills.

Inspired by the beauty of New Zealand and its stunning wines, David and Leigh Teece founded Mt. Beautiful Wines in the North Canterbury region of New Zealand in 2004. Rather than settling in one of North Canterbury’s proven wine growing areas, the Teece family pioneered a previously undiscovered wine region - the picturesque district of Cheviot Hills. Here they built one of New Zealand’s rising star wineries and this month’s special international Pinot Noir Series feature. Winery owner David Teece is a native New Zealander and has a strong background in economic policy.

After earning first class honors in the subject at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, he moved to the United States where he completed his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. Today he has risen to the top tier of global business as an academic and entrepreneur. In addition to being the Tusher professor of global business at the University of California Berkeley, David is a founder of the well-respected Berkeley Research Group LLC. His wife Leigh is quite accomplished as well, holding a degree in international relations from the University of Southern California and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Leigh is a native Californian and worked for many years in international banking and venture capital before branching into various philanthropies.

Needless to say, David and Leigh Teece have been very successful in their various endeavors, so when they decided to start a winery in New Zealand, it was no question it would be something spectacular.Building the family winery was Leigh’s idea. She longed to participate in the growing wine industry and was inspired by the beauty of her husband’s homeland. They decided to settle in David’s native North Canterbury, but didn’t want to follow in others’ footsteps. An entrepreneur at heart, David brought together a team of experts and charged them with finding a new sub-region capable of producing premium wines.

The Cheviot Hills wine region of North Canterbury was born.Under the guidance of consulting viticulturist Murray Paterson, the first vines were planted in 2004 to Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. The Teeces named their vineyard Mt. Beautiful after a nearby local landmark and the new family business was on its way. The first vintage of Mt. Beautiful fruit was harvested in 2007. While designing the label for Mt. Beautiful’s first wines, David and Leigh decided to incorporate David’s father’s handwriting. His father, Allan Teece, had served with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force in North Africa, Palestine and Italy from 1940 to 1945. The handwritten letters he sent home in those years served as the inspiration for the label and David worked to compose the name ‘Mt. Beautiful’ from various pieces of his letters.

The first Mt. Beautiful vintage was released in September of 2008, and the Teeces immediately knew they had something special. Being the first of its kind in a new wine region, Mt. Beautiful had a competitive edge on other New Zealand wineries and its wines were being honored all over the country. Much of the credit can be given to the exceptional team David and Leigh assembled to be the force behind the Mt. Beautiful brand. When they embarked on this new journey, the Teeces put together a group of local experts in every field needed and it seems their efforts have certainly paid off. From their 30-year veteran winemaker Sam Weaver to internationally experienced vineyard manager Fin Grieve, the quality of Mt. Beautiful’s people is just about as good as it gets.

The quality can also be seen in the vineyard. Respect for the land and local community are of the utmost importance at Mt. Beautiful and it is an ongoing goal to achieve a sustainable functioning landscape that can be enjoyed and utilized for generations to come. All the pieces are coming together at Mt. Beautiful, and no where is it more prevalent than in its consistent releases of award-winning, highly rated wines from Cheviot Hills. It goes without saying that this new winery has a bright looking future, not just in New Zealand, but around the world.

  1. Mt. Beautiful
    2011 Pinot Noir
    Mt. Beautiful
    New Zealand


    91 - Wine Orbit
    id: 1220
    Pinot Noir

Sam Weaver

Winemaker Sam Weaver is no new kid on the block. With a background covering every aspect of the wine business, from retail and commercial to production and technical, Sam is one of the most broadly experienced wine professionals in all of New Zealand. Today, he has been in the wine business for over 30 years. Born in Britain, Sam earned a degree in microbiology from London University and then worked in the UK wine trade for 10 years. During this time, he became the managing director of London wine merchant, La Reserve.

In 1988, Sam moved to New Zealand with his family to further pursue his love of wine and to become a winemaker. Sam’s New Zealand career has included roles as Chief Winemaker at The Stoneleigh Winery (then Marlborough’s second largest winery) and serving as winemaking consultants to numerous New Zealand wineries. In 1997, he started his own label, Churton, which is distributed world-wide. Working at Mt. Beautiful, Sam is intrigued by the new Cheviot Hills wine district of North Canterbury and enjoys being a part of this new venture. His love of the land, technical skill, and experience with consumer insight makes him a rare breed on the New Zealand wine scene.

About The Region

Located in the Cheviot Hills district of North Canterbury on the South Island of New Zealand, the Mt. Beautiful vineyard lies on the southern banks of the Waiau River, near the settlement of Spotswood and north of the city of Christchurch. David and Leigh Teece sought out this new region because it shares many of the best qualities of New Zealand’s most admired winegrowing regions.

The Mt. Beautiful vineyard is sheltered in the Cheviot Spotswood Basin, surrounded by hills, the Kaikoura Mountains to the north and the Mt. Beautiful landmark in the local coastal range to the east. After just a few harvests, the location is proving to be an exceptional site for growing Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc. Cheviot Hills has long been known for its sheep farming, but with the founding of Mt. Beautiful vineyard, the region enters a new phase of its history - as a world-class destination for New Zealand wines.

Roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Aioli


For the Lamb:
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh savory or thyme
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 medium lemons
1 tsp. cumin seeds, toasted
1 (7-8 lb.) leg of lamb, boned and
trimmed of all fat (but not tied)
1 Tbs. vegetable oil

For the Aioli:
1 large garlic clove
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups canola oil
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. warm water


Marinate Lamb: Stir together garlic, onion, mint, savory, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and cumin in a baking dish just large enough to hold lamb. Put lamb in dish and turn to coat, rubbing marinade into entire surface. Marinate lamb, covered and chilled, turning once or twice, at least 12 hours.

Make Aioli: Mash garlic to a paste with kosher salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash with a large heavy knife), then add 1 cup mint and pound to a paste. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in yolks, then add half of oil, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time, whisking constantly. Whisk in lemon juice, then slowly add remaining oil, whisking. Season with salt and pepper and stir in warm water. Working with several leaves at a time, stack remaining cup mint leaves, then roll up and thinly slice crosswise to make a chiffonade (thin strips). Stir mint into Aioli and chill until ready to use.

Roast Lamb: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wipe all of marinade from lamb and discard. Pat lamb dry and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Arrange lamb, boned side up, on a work surface and, beginning with a long side, roll up as tightly as possible and tie tightly with string. Heat vegetable oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown lamb on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to rack set in roasting pan and roast in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into lamb reads an average of 140 degrees for medium-rare (test in several places, as different muscles cook at different speeds; temperatures should range from 120 to 160 degrees), 40 to 60 minutes. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Serve lamb with Aioli.