Mt Difficulty is certainly one of the best known names of Central Otago Pinot Noir and for very good reason, their wines have been excellent right from the very early days. And this gorgeous Pinot from the 2019 vintage again shows exactly why they have such an enviable reputation. A wonderfully fragrant nose of dark fruits, wild herbs with underlying gentle floral notes, a concentrated palate and silken tannins make for an absolute classic.
Winery notes (2019 Vintage)
"Our 2019 Pinot Noir opens with luscious dark red and black cherry, dried wild herb florals, with a touch of savoury brown spice. As the wine dwells on the palate layers unfurl, revealing silken texture. Fine textured structure rises gracefully whilst being surrounded by a crunchy tang of acidity and a slight mocha note with some brown spice more vibrant red cherry notes on the long finish.
For a full expression of terroir, we co-fermented different clonal lots from the same vineyard, while keeping vineyards separate. About 75% of our ferments were de-stemmed only; the remaining quarter contained 15-40% whole clusters. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasted an average of 7 days with daily punch downs. The wine stayed on skins for a further 7-9 days post-dryness, after which 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."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2019 Vintage)
"This is one of the region's highest-profile reds. Matured for a year in French oak casks (25 per cent new), the 2019 vintage (5*) is very ageworthy. Full, bright ruby, it is mouthfilling, with good concentration of ripe cherry, plum and spice flavours, and nutty, savoury notes adding complexity. Best drinking 2023+."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
5 Stars & 95/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, July 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"Very attractive Bannockburn pinot noir with lifted floral, dark cherry, plum, spice and anise flavours that are flattered by a silken-smooth texture. Impressive lightness and energy. Irresistible now but should develop well."
92/100 Rebecca Gibb MW, Decanter UK, March 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"A fleshy, supple mid-palate displays ripe, plummy fruit and spice. While mellifluous and ripe, there's a youthful edginess to the conclusion – the combination of lower pH, higher acidity and youthful tannic grip speak of the vintage. Give it time in bottle and this will sing."
17/20 Tim Jackson MW, JancisRobinson.com, July 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"Bannockburn subregion. Single vineyard at higher elevation with older soils. Pale-mid purple. Blackberry and plum, with violets and coriander-seed oak, and dried herb tones. Rocks, smoke, blackberry, fairly firm, grainy tannins. Brisk acid lift and creamy length."
94/100 Gary Walsh, The Wine Front, June 2018 (2016 Vintage)
"Aromatic, thyme and fennel, kiss of vanilla oak, red fruits. Medium bodied, brick dust tannin, some ‘mineral’ profile to the acidity, dried flower and perfume in the finish, with firm tannin to close. Classy."
93/100 Cameron Douglas MS, August 2018 (2016 Vintage)
"Vibrant, fruity, varietal and focused bouquet showing off aromas of dark cherry and dried raspberry, toasty oak spices with clove, bacon and vanilla moments. Dry, firm, youthful and varietal. Flavours of red berry fruits, plum and dark raspberry; wood spices, fine to moderate tannins, medium+ acidity, great length and potential. Decant for service, best from 2020 through 2026."