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2015 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir

Cracka Value Rating
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Cracka Review

Hailing from Central Otago, this is a fruit-driven, richer style of Pinot Noir that shows lots of ripe red cherries, spice and dark plums on the nose, with just a hint of earthiness and dried herbs. The palate is medium-bodied and plush, with a spiced plum centre, fine tannins, bright acidity, and a fleshy, sumptuous finish. Order up that Peking duck.

Winemaker's Notes

As our vineyards are ageing we are starting to see more complexity emerging each vintage, 2015 produced a Pinot Noir focused on complexity and evolution; lovely beguiling violet florals interplayed with dark cherry and sweet brown spice. The wine displays depth confidence and poise. Dense supple dark cherry notes lead a brown spice element into introducing the wine, this move into a beautifully textured plush mid palate, out of which rise fine elegant textural tannins. Cherry and spice notes frame the finish.

Cellaring potential: Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir will improve for 7-10 years given optimal vintage and cellaring conditions.

Vintage 2015: The beginning of spring bloomed dry and cool with low soil moisture coming into the season, November was characterised by much cooler than normal temperatures. The vines got away to a reasonably slow start. December was warm and remarkably settled leading to a compact and successful flowering. The warm settled spell continued right through January. February arrived and whilst warm was unusually damp, with much higher than average rainfall. March dried the vineyards out and the season finished with a warm flourish in April. We again started harvesting with lower sugars than typical at nice ripe flavours. The harvest was very compact; everything being harvested over a 21 day period.

Vineyards: The grapes for the wines that carry the Mt Difficulty Bannockburn label are subject to two strict criteria: they are managed under the umbrella of the Mt Difficulty viticultural team and must be sourced from vineyards situated on the South side of the Kawarau River at Bannockburn. Each has a specific terroir, largely influenced by climate, and offers a variety of soil types from open gravels to heavier clays. They are all low in fertility, and include light sands, clays, loams and gravels. Mt Difficulty Estate Pinot Noir is blended from a range of Bannockburn vineyards, with the majority of grapes coming from earlier plantings which are predominantly clones 5, 6 and 10/5. More recent plantings are a mix of Dijon clones: 113, 115, 667 & 777.

Winemaking considerations: Cooler growing conditions in 2015 saw slightly smaller berries and lower yields of approximately 5.0-5.5 Tonnes /Ha. We started harvesting our Pinot Noir from 4th April and continued through to April 23rd. Where possible we try to co-ferment different clonal lots from the same vineyard, while vineyards are kept separate. Around three quarters of our ferments were de-stemmed only; the remaining quarter contained 20-30% whole clusters. The must underwent 9-10 days of cold maceration, being hand plunged once daily. The ferments were heated after this and all fermented with indigenous yeasts. The ferments lasted for an average of 6 - 8 days during which time they were hand plunged once to twice daily with the temperature peaking at 300C. The wine stayed on skins for a further 7-9 days post-dryness, and was plunged occasionally with increasing ease. When the wine tasted in harmony it was pressed off to barrel where it resided on full lees for 12 months. It underwent malolactic fermentation in the spring, was racked out of barrel in late autumn and filtered but not fined prior to bottling.

Alc/vol: 14.0%

expert reviews about

2015 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir

Expert Reviews

Tyson Stelzer (2010 Vintage) says
The more I come to know Mt Difficulty and see its wines at various stages of life, the more I appreciate that these are pinots engineered for the long-haul. True to the style of the house, this is a release built more around structure and tannin than fruit and generosity, a refreshing and noble counterpoint to the up-front allure that many chase in this region. Tangy red cherries and generous blackberries are united with layers of mixed spice, dried herbs, finely textured tannins and an impressive, enduring acid profile. Oak provides firm tannin support and will benefit from some years to achieve its full potential.
Wine Taste Special Edition 104

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