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2015 Mt Difficulty Sauvignon Blanc

Cracka Rating

Cracka Review

There’s no difficulty finding good Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand, but it is difficult growing it in some of the most rugged terrain on earth. The good people at Mt Difficulty love a challenge and this aromatic white shows the variety well. It’s a lively combination of gooseberry, melon and capsicum as well as a little mineral influence. The flavour is immense, the texture impressive and the finish lingering with crunchy, balanced acids.

Winemaker's Notes

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.

Vineyard
The grapes for the wines that carry the Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Estate label are subject to two strict criteria: they are managed by our viticultural team and must be sourced from Bannockburn vineyards - the south side of the Kawarau River in the southern Cromwell basin. Mt Difficulty has three plantings of Sauvignon Blanc which fulfil these criteria; on Templars Hill, Mansons Farm and Saffron. Templars Hill soils vary across the vineyard from a mixture of heavy Scotland Point clay soils to drought-prone coarse gravel Bannockburn soils (classified as man-made due to the sluice mining). Mansons Farm has a small area of Bannockburn soil but is mostly comprised of Lochar Soils, which are ideally suited to viticulture. Saffron is predominantly comprised of Cromwell sands.

Winemaking Considerations
The Sauvignon Blanc grapes were hand harvested on the 10th, 11th and 16th of April in excellent condition. We harvested slightly later than the past couple of seasons due mainly to our desire to lock in a riper spectrum of flavours. The fruit from Templars Hill, Saffron and Mansons Farm were all reductively handled during processing, then gently pressed and racked clean. The wine fermented cold in a mixture stainless steel and old oak barrels and remained on gross lees for four months post ferment whilst being stirred weekly. These practices were employed to not only retain the maximum varietal fruit character of Sauvignon Blanc but also to develop complexity, palate weight and texture.

Tasting Notes
A late ripening season has resulted in zesty gooseberry bound tightly in white floral aromas, with a hint of dried hay. Ripe gooseberry and savoury floral notes introduce the wine before moving into a linear flowing mid-palate. There is a nice touch of urgency with more herbs and quince notes on the finish. This wine is ideal for sensible summer evening drinking.

Cellaring Potential
Mt Difficulty Sauvignon Blanc will improve for 3-5 years given optimal cellaring conditions.

Alc/Vol: 14.5%

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