Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir 2012
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Established in 1992, and located at the base of the mountain for which it is named, Mt Difficulty is Central Otago’s leading artisan winegrower with a pioneering heritage in the Bannockburn sub-region. Mt Difficulty was among the first to plant vineyards on the south bank of the Kawarau River, and today its terroir-driven wines are among the most famous New Zealand Pinot Noirs in the world. By stressing ethical viticulture and minimal intervention, Mt Difficulty produces wines that express their personality and reflect their unique home.
The southern end of the South Island is a rugged landscape with climate extremes found nowhere else in New Zealand. The unique microclimate of the Bannockburn area is influenced by the presence of Mount Difficulty which is integral in providing low rainfall and humidity for the region. Bannockburn enjoys hot summers, a large diurnal temperature variation and long cool autumns; conditions which bring the best out of the Pinot Noir grapes. Equally important are the high pH soils that are a mix of clay and gravels: grapes produce their best wines on sweet soils.
Mt Difficulty’s second label, Roaring Meg, celebrates Central Otago’s storied history. According to local legend, the original Meg was a spirited and enterprising redhead who accompanied the miners during the region’s gold rush of the 1860’s. Bold, vivacious, and unforgettable, Roaring Meg’s memory lives on in these stylish, fruit-driven wines. Produced with Pinot Noir sourced exclusively from vineyards in Bannockburn and the Cromwell Basin, the early-drinking style of Roaring Meg wines struck a chord with the public when it was introduced in 2001, and the label has been a mainstay at Mt Difficulty ever since.
Home to the globe’s most southerly vineyards, which are cultivated below the 45th parallel, Central Otago is a true one-of-a-kind wine growing region, but not only because of its extreme location.
Central Otago is more dependent on one single variety than any other region in New Zealand—and it isn’t Sauvignon blanc. They don’t even make Sauvignon blanc there.
Pinot Noir claims nearly 75% of the region’s vineyards with Pinot Gris coming in a far second place and Riesling behind it. This is also New Zealand’s only wine region with a continental climate, giving it more diurnal and seasonal temperature shifts than any other.
The subregion of Bannockburn has enjoyed the most success historically but the area’s exceptional growth has moved to the promising regions of Cromwell/Bendigo and Alexandra districts. Central Otago is known for its fruity and full-bodied Pinot noir. With the freedom to experiment here, growers and winemakers are easily exhibiting the area’s great potential.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”