2012 Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir Bannockburn Central Otago (Elsewhere $40)

SKU #1324990 93-95 points Raymond Chan

 Dark, deep ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on edge. The nose is full, softly presented with harmonious and seamlessly interwoven bright, fresh dark red berry and cherry fruit, piquant red florals and thyme herbs, forming an attractively aromatic and lifted amalgam. Medium-full bodied, the fruit is initially restrained, but opens evenly to reveal integrated flavours of sweetly ripe dark red berry fruit, dark red florals and lifted thyme herb notes. The fruit is supported by very fine-grained, powdery tannins and fresh, enlivening, lacy acidity. The mouthfeel is very refined in texture, and the palate has energy, tension and drive, carrying the wine to a very long, lingering sweet-fruited finish. This is a very elegant, vibrant, aromatically bright, red cherry fruited Pinot Noir with very fine extraction and body. Match with pork, beef and lamb over the next 7-8+ years. Older vines, clones 5, 6, 10/5, and newer plantings, clones 113, 115, 667 and 777 from a number of Bannockburn sites, two-thirds of the fruit fully destemmed, with one-third retaining 20-35% whole bunches, given a cold soak and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 12 months in oak.  (11/2013)

93 points James Suckling

 An open-knit, rich and typically powerful pinot from Mount Difficulty that has darker savoury spiced oak influence and a smoky edge too. The palate has quite crisp tannin presence and deep juicy dark cherry flavour, really crunchy shell here, some dense structure too. Needs time.  (4/2014)

93 points Sam Kim

 It's complex and seductive on the nose displaying dark cherry, game, spice and a touch of dried herb aromas. The palate is beautifully ripe and plush, yet refined and focused, leading to a fabulously long velvety finish. Lovely ripe, supple tannins provide excellent frame to this gorgeous pinot. At its best: now to 2020.  (11/2013)

92 points Bob Campbell

 Quite a dense and slightly savoury Pinot Noir with dark cherry, baked earth, dried herb and spicy oak flavours, some of which appear to derive from the use of around one-third whole clusters in ferment. Firm, ripe tannins add structure and promise development potential. Serious Pinot Noir that’s a little hard to read now but should blossom within a few years.  (8/2014)

K&L Notes

Winemaker's Notes: "This vintage has produced a Pinot Noir displaying opulent rich aromatics; lush dark fruits of the forest dominate the aroma and these are underpinned by sweet brown spice notes. The wine displays lovely elegance and flow with striking precision and clarity. On the palate it kicks off with a plush dense fruit of the forest entry, this plushness then moves beautifully into the mid palate, after which fine elegant textural tannins frame fruit and acidity on a lengthy finish." 92 points Wine Front: "Perky perfume of dried herbs, dark cherry, red fruit, cola and spice. Medium bodied, bright and fresh with some dark chocolate and bitter herb, mixing it up with mainly red fruit - raspberry. Tangy, slightly sappy finish. Nice. Poise and interest. Grip of tannin on exit. "

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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

New Zealand

- New Zealand is an extremely diverse wine-growing nation. The long history of producing wine started in the 1830s with wineries such as Mission Estate (1850) and Te Mata Estate (1896) still producing wine today. The two islands hold a multitude of different growing climates ranging from warmer areas such as Hawke’s Bay to very cool regions such as Waitaki, and Awatere. Most regions are defined as Maritime with the exception being Central Otago that has a moderate Continental climate with the high elevation creating dramatic diurnal swings in temperature. The plethora of grapes grown in New Zealand reflects this diverse microclimate make up. Everything has a place here, Bordeaux varietals and Syrah in Hawke’s Bay, Chardonnay and Pinot in Nelson, Pinot Noir and Riesling in Central Otago , aromatic whites in Waipara and pretty much everything you can imagine in Marlborough. New Zealand is also one of the “greenest” wine producing nations on earth (94% of wine certified sustainable in 2013) with a strong focus on organic and Biodynamic farming.
Alcohol Content (%): 14