Mt Difficulty 2015 Pinot Noir

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Tasting notes
Red cherry fruitiness, smooth but still reasonably light. Ideal with full flavoured fish and light meats and cheeses.

Why we recommend this wine
The South Island of New Zealand produces Pinots reminiscent of Burgundy but with more fruit. This is a great example. Only a few left as they have stopped bottling half bottles.

The wine
The grapes are 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; light sands, clays, loams and gravels that are all low in fertility.
To achieve a full expression of terroir, they co-fermented different clonal lots from the same vineyard, while keeping vineyards separate. About 75% of the ferments were de-stemmed only; the remaining quarter contained 15-60% 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.

The wine estate
Mt Difficulty Estate is comprised of six vineyards with total plantings of 40 hectares protected by the rain shadow of Mount Difficulty in Bannockburn, Central Otago in New Zealand's rugged South Island. It all began in the early 1990's, when the owners of five newly-planted vineyards in Bannockburn shook hands and decided to work together to produce wine under one label, Mt Difficulty. In 2004 Mt Difficulty Wines Ltd was formed and the majority of the individual vineyards passed into the ownership of the company.
Mt Difficulty Wines Ltd now owns some of the oldest vineyards in the region. The vine age gives their wines, particularly the Pinot Noirs, extra complexity and concentration. The Bannockburn area is internationally recognised as one of the few places in the world outside Burgundy where the pernickety Pinot Noir variety has found a home.
Mt Difficulty is an accredited member of the Sustainable Winegrowing initiative (SWNZ). The initiative covers a wide range of environmental concerns, from conservation to social responsibility.

Food and wine
This fruity but lightish wine does not want to accompany strong flavours or heavy dishes. It goes well with gammon accompanied by tomatoes baked in thyme and cream. Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
In 1960 there was less than 1000 acres of vineyards in New Zealand. Now there are around 60,000 acres.