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: Mount Difficult

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Mount Difficult

www.mtdifficulty.co.nz

PO Box 69, Cromwell

Ph: (+64) 3445 3445

Mt.Difficulty label

Mt Difficulty was named after the mountain over-looking Felton Road and the southern Cromwell basin.

This mountain is a very important part of the Bannockburn micro-climate providing shelter from the cool winds of the Wakatipu Basin and Gibbston.

The Mt Difficulty brand started in 1998 with a very small production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This Pinot Noir went on to win a gold medal at the 1999 Air New Zealand wine awards, with the Chardonnay attaining silver.

The four Mt Difficulty vineyards are privately owned by the same people who started and own the Mt Difficulty brand and winery. The initial joint venture has grown into a leading New Zealand boutique winery with export markets in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore.

The varieties also include Riesling, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. As well as the standard label there are single vineyard premiums and the mid-priced Roaring Meg label.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

New reviews

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2014

Purchased: Not ($51)

Drink: 2023

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2016, partial whole cluster inclusion, quite aromatic, floral and supple black cherry and dark plums with anise, dried thyme and violet notes, foresty, medium bodied and earthy with dusty cedar/clove oak (****)

Mt. Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2014

Purchased: Not ($32)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2016,  entry style showing silky black cherry and dark plums with anise and violet notes and even a hint of cola and black forest cake, medium bodied with toasty and sweet vanilla/cedar oak, ssvoury fine tannins with fresh acidity providing sone balance (***1/2)

Mt. Difficult Target Gully Riesling 2014

Purchased: Not ($NZ28)

Drink: 2019

(GXY) Tasting:: Dec 2015,  medium sweet at 43 gm/l residual sugar, fresh lime marmalade, lemon barley, honeysuckle and orange blossom with modest spiciness, minerality and succulence, tension between steely acidity and sweetness provides the interest, good persistence (****1/2)

Mt. Difficult Pinot Gris 2014

Purchased: Not ($A25/$NZ27)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Dec 2015, Pure Silver Medal at Air NZ Awards, dry and fairly opulent, leesy palate with white nectarine, red apple and pear blossom with some brown spices, creamy mid-palate with tangerine edged acidity and talcy phenolics (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2013

Purchased: Not ($A70)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, aromatic, fleshy and juicy plum and cassis with anise, sage and violet notes, plumpish and medium bodied with grainy tannins and toasty cinnamon/vanilla/coffee oak, good length (****)

Mount Difficulty Long Gully Pinot Noir 2012

Purchased: Not ($A140)

Drink: 2022+

(GXY) Tasting: Oct 2014, from a rather cold vintage, no fining, long and firmish cherry and blueberry with dried thyme, anise, violet and menthol notes, tightly packed linear palate with schisty minerality, vibrant sappy acidity and plenty of grainy tannin, needs plenty of time (****)

Mount Difficulty Target Gully Pinot Noir 2010

Purchased: Not ($A100/$NZ90)

Drink: 2020

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2013, from a warm vintage, ripe, plush and fairly concentrated showing morello cherry and blackberry with dried thyme herbs, anise and violet florals, long and medium-full bodied with graphite minerals, firmish oak tannins and fresh acidity (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Grower’s Series Packspur Pinot Noir 2011

Purchased: Not ($A74/$NZ70)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2013, from the 1993 vines at the Packspur vineyard near Lowborn, 16% whole bunch inclusion, fuller bodied and longer than the standard, fragrant and succulent morello cherry and boysenberry with dried thyme, rose petals and musky spices, foresty and medium bodied, fresh stemmy and herbal edged orange peel acidity and fine tannins (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011

Purchased: Not ($A52/$NZ45)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Aug 2013, multi-clonal, some whole cluster inclusion, bright floral nose, plush red cherry and dark plums with some asian spice, rose petal, leather and anise notes, ripe and fleshy medium bodied palate with some herbally complexity, fine sinewy tannins, charry and spicy coffee-cedar oak (****)

Mount Difficulty Long Gully Pinot Noir 2010

Purchased: Not ($A100/$NZ90)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, unfined, some whole cluster inclusion, warmer vintage showing muscular black cherry and boysenberry with the dried herbs, game and the usual rich schisty minerality,  long and bony tannins, tangy and lightly sappy acidity, very good line and length (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Target Gully Riesling 2012

Purchased: Not ($A30/$NZ29)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2013, lush and medium sweet (40 g/l residual sugar) with ferment stopped to maintain sugar and acid levels, floral and spicy lime marmalade, tangerine, apple and passionfruit,  fine talcy texture with crunchy mandarin rind acid (****)

Mount Difficulty Single Vineyard Pipeclay Pinot Noir 2010

Purchased: Not ($A100)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting:  Oct 2012, unfined, perfumed, leafy and delicate but clearly expressed sour cherry and blackberry and touches of boysenberry, asian spice and dried thyme, the medium bodied palate is underpinned with schisty minerality, the long, savoury grainy tannins provide some grip, lingering tangy acids from partial whole bunch inclusion (****1/2)

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2010

Purchased: Not ($A52/$NZ45)

Drink: 2017

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2012, multi-clonal, yields were 20% down and it was a later vintage than usual, some whole cluster inclusion, firmish red cherry and dark plum with some asian spice, thyme, leather and liquorice notes, long, evenly weighted and fleshy medium bodied palate with some herbally/stemmy complexity, fine sinewy tannins, spicy coffee-cedar oak in support role (****)

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Gris 2011

Purchased: Not ($A30/$NZ26)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2012, perfumed, textured and dry nectarine, melon and peach with a leesy, creamy mid-palate an some savoury complexity and a touch of cinnamon, good length with a crisp, minerally finish and fine phenolic grip (****)

Mt. Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2010

Purchased: Not ($A33/$NZ28)

Drink: 2015

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2012, 100% de-stemmed, forward and sweeter entry level style showing plump red cherry and blackberry with dried thyme and liquorice notes, overt spicy vanilla/cedar oak with some firm tannic grip (***)

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Chardonnay 2008

Purchased: Not ($A33/$NZ28)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2012, from a rather warm vintage, mealy melon, stonefruit and pineapple with a powerful matchstick sulphur element, creamy leesy palate with a backbone of grapefruit acidity and minerals, I found the matchstick element a bit too overwhelming (***)

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2009

Purchased: Not ($A50/$45NZ)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, plump and concentrated black cherry and dark plum with X-mas cake and asian spice plus a touch of anise, minerally, quite extractive and slightly tarry with chewy tannins and stemmy acids from some whole bunch inclusion, well integrated spicy roast coffee-cedar oak, a big Pinot with plenty going on (****)

Mt. Difficulty Target Gully Riesling 2010

Purchased: Not ($A29)

Drink: 2012 or 2016 if you like it toasty

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, medium sweet (30 g/l residual sugar) with ferment stopped to maintain sugar and acid levels, spicy and tangy core of tangerine, passionfruit and sweet lime with very fine talcy texture and tightly wound penetrating mandarin rind acid, plenty of drive and life will reward those brave enough to venture into medium sweet Riesling territory (****)

Mt. Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2009

Purchased: Not ($A32)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, their entry level Pinot showing supple red cherry, dark plum with dried thyme and warm oak spice, open and approachable with good fruit depth and a gentle lick of stalky acidity, toasty oak, can drink now but will hold in the cellar for 3-5 years (***1/2)

Mt. Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Gris 2010

Purchased: Not ($A29/$NZ26)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, drier and tighter than the Roaring Meg I had at the same tasting, floral and savoury white nectarine, melon and peach blossom with marzipan and cut grass notes, slightly creamy mid-palate with a dry, mineral and stonefruit finish (***1/2)

Mt. Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2010

Purchased: Not ($A25/$NZ22)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2011, off-dry style showing tangy and plump yellow peach, passionfruit and guava, finely textured with bright and persistent citric acids, some residual sugar on the finish (11 gm/l RS), apparently very popular at the cellar door (***)

Mount Difficulty Single Vineyard Long Gully Pinot Noir 2008

Purchased: Not ($A100/$NZ90)

Drink: 2018

(GXY) Tasting: June 2010, unfined, perfumed, lighter and more delicate bodied than the standard but very clear expression of sour cherry, redcurrant and a touch of boysenberry, underpinned with complex schisty minerality and infused with long, savoury grainy tannins, lingering tangy acids from the 20% whole bunch inclusion, very elegant and satisfying (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2008

Purchased: Not ($A55/$NZ45)

Drink: 2013

(GXY) Tasting: June 2010, various parcels with 15-30% whole bunch inclusion, ripe and sweet fleshy black cherry, blackberry and plum with liquorice and dried herb notes, the warm toasty oak spices create some fruitcake aspects to the medium-full bodied mid-palate but is counter-balanced with some velvety but chewy savoury tannins (****)

Mount Difficulty Target Gully Central Otago Riesling 2008

Purchased: Not ($NZ23)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: May 2009, this has 40 gms/litre of residual sugar but it is not too cloying, sweet lime, dried apricot and red apple flavours, modestly spicy with a fairly lush texture and finishes with balancing tangy and chalky citric acids (***1/2)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Purchased: Safeways, St. Kilda

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: July 2009, this is mainly about the bracing grapefruit acidity and loose knit powdery texture that is infused through the length of the palate, kiwifruit, lime and passionfruit with some restrained spicy snowpea and capsicum notes on the finish, good line and length but will polarise consumers (****)

Mount Difficulty Long Gully Pinot Noir 2007

Purchased: Not ($A100/$NZ90)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, unfined, much more delicate and focussed than the estate, medium bodied red cherry, redcurrant and boysenberry with toasty brown spice and dried herb notes, taut entry but opens up mid-palate, underpinned with firm schisty minerality, well judged acidity with persistent finely grained tannins (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007

Purchased: Not ($A55/$NZ45)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, the small yield from the Bannockburn vineyard has lifted the intensity, dense core of black cherry, blackberry with thyme, anise and violet notes, gamy, medium bodied and handsomely spiced with touch of fruitcake sweetness on the mid-palate but finishes quite dry and savoury with touch of char, perhaps a bit heavily extractive for Burgundophiles (****)

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2008

Purchased: Not ($A36/$NZ28)

Drink: 2012

(GXY) Tasting: June 2009, lots of ripe, juicy up front fruit from this high yielding vintage, plump blackberry, red cherry and boysenberry with black pepper and thyme notes, spicy vanilla-cedar oak to match the fruit brightness, lingering grainy tannins, entry fruit bomb style but a good one (***1/2)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Dry Riesling 2006

Purchased: Not ($A32)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2009, off-dry to my Australian tastebuds, lime and green apple with gentle brown spices, lees inputs add to palate weight, the well judged zesty lemon acids lift this above the pack, persistent chalky finish (****)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006

Purchased: Not ($A60)

Drink: 2016

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, one of the standouts from what was a good regional vintage, vibrant and pristine core of black cherry and plum fruit with raspberry, violet and blackberry nuances, elegant forest floor with thyme, pepper and cardamom complexity, earthy finish with lingering savoury tannins with some fresh citrussy acids, oak is in a background role, needs time but will be worth the wait (****1/2)

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2006

Purchased: Not ($A40/ $NZ28)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: June 2008, fresh, clean and medium bodied style showing plump plum, red cherry and raspberry with a hint of cranberry, some pepper and dried herb complexity and fine but slightly astringent tannins, spicy French oak finish, lacking that extra finesse (***)

Mount Difficulty Central Otago Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not ($A50)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, big and bold array of black cherry, plum and blackberry, savoury full bodied palate shows dried herb, forest floor and liquorice features, spicy finish with flinty acid, cedar oak, silky tannins (****)

Mount Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2005

Purchased: Not ($A35)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2007, blend of Central Otago and Marlborough fruit, red cherry, blackberry and plum, spicy medium bodied palate with fresh herb notes, silky tannins with a touch of chocolate on the earthy finish, smooth French oak (***1/2)