2018 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir, Bannockburn, Central Otago
90 Points - Wine Advocate
“Our 2018 Pinot Noir opens with vibrant floral notes, savoury brown spice and earthy notes on top of a core of red cherry that flows through the aroma. On the palate, supple and layered, bright red cherry notes introduce the wine. As the wine dwells on the palate layers unfurl, revealing silken texture. Fine tannins rise gracefully and are slowly displaced by a tang of acidity and more vibrant red cherry notes on the long finish.” —Matt Dicey, Winemaker
100% Pinot Noir
12 months in French oak (27% new)
2018 was a vintage of two halves. There was exceptional warmth from September through to late January, before a cool February and autumn. With the warm start we got underway early, and the potential crop was well set, yet small. Temperatures plummeted to below average in February and rainfall was well above average through harvest. Fortunately disease pressure remained low through the finish of the season, and the berry-ripening through the cooler summer-autumn period provided ripe, fresh characters. 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 15-60% 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.
Grapes for the Bannockburn Pinot Noir come exclusively from estate and winery-managed vineyards situated on the south side of the Kawarau River. While subject to the seasonal and diurnal temperature extremes of the Central Otago, each vineyard has a specific terroir and a variety of low fertility soil types: light sands, clays, loams and gravels. The majority of grapes come from earlier plantings which are predominantly clones 5, 6 and 10/5, while more recent plantings are a mix of Dijon clones 113, 115, 667 and 777.