Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir / 2015 / 375mL
PINOT NOIR 2015
A warm vintage has produced a Pinot Noir displaying perfumed ripeness with piercing clarity; dark fruits of the forest dominate the aroma and these are underpinned by lifted floral and spice notes. The wine has an aromatic front palate, which displays these same characters in abundance. The mid palate is elegant and precise, and the wine flows beautifully into a textural finish, framing fine-grained tannin, fruit and acidity.
Mt Difficulty Estate Pinot Noir will improve for 7-10 years given optimal vintage and cellaring conditions.
Proper care at all times in the vineyard and winery was the making of vintage 2015. Conditions were difficult but the quality of fruit was very good, provided the right decisions were made.
Spring was fantastically settled, which led to excellent flowering and fruit set. Usual spring conditions arrived late, and unsettled weather was the norm right through January and February! Despite this, it was also pretty warm; it was almost too perfect for canopy and bunch development, leading to bigger than normal berries, and higher bunch weights as a result. Finally some semblance of normality arrived in March with conditions settling. These conditions continued through autumn, other than one wet spell which highlighted how tender and thin-skinned the berries were this season. In the winery it was a season where the fruit needed empathy, and the direction of the wine was dictated by the fruit.
The grapes for the wines that carry the Mt Difficulty Estate label are subject to two strict criteria: they are managed under the umbrella of the Mt Difficulty viticultural team and must be 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 from open gravels to heavier clays. They are all low in fertility, and include light sands, clays, loams and gravels. Mt Difficulty Estate Pinot Noir is blended from a range of Bannockburn vineyards, with the majority of grapes coming from earlier plantings which are predominantly clones 5, 6 and 10/5. More recent plantings are a mix of Dijon clones: 113, 115, 667 & 777.
Initial bunch numbers this year were on the high side after the excellent spring of 2012. Excellent conditions at flowering led to the potential for high yields, our vineyard team did a fantastic job of managing these back to an average of 6.5 T/Ha. We began harvesting our Pinot Noir on the 23rd March and continued through to the 27th April. Where possible we try to co-ferment different clonal lots from the same vineyard, whilst vineyards are kept separate. The majority of our ferments were de-stemmed only; the remaining third contained 16-30% whole clusters. The must underwent 9-10 days of cold maceration during which time it was hand plunged once daily. The ferments were heated after this and all fermented with indigenous yeasts. The ferments lasted for an average of 10-12 days during which time they were hand plunged twice daily with the temperature peaking at 33oC. The wine stayed on skins for a further 6-8 days post-dryness, and was plunged once daily with increasing ease. When the wine tasted in harmony 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 prior to bottling.