Mt Difficulty wines are named after the mountain that overlooks the winery and protecting the Bannockburn sub region of Otago from the cold weather. All of Mt Difficulty wines are sourced from Bannockburn, south of the Kawarau River
Central Otago, or 'Central' as the locals call it, is the most southerly wine region in the world, situated at 45 degrees latitude on New Zealand's South Island. Its location gives the region very long sunshine hours (the further away from the equator you are, the longer the days are in summer) as well as a continental climate, due to its inland position, with big variations between daytime and night-time temperatures. The nearby Southern Alps shelter the vineyards from rain, so most only receive around 454mm a year. Alluvial gravels and schist from glacial valleys give fast-draining soils too, so many vineyards require irrigation. The lack of rain, however, does mean a lack of humidity, which is perfect for avoiding many of the fungi that can attack vineyards in other regions.
Central Otago breaks down into four distinct sub-regions, separated by mountains and deep gorges. These are Cromwell, which accounts for approximately 70 per cent of the region’s vineyards and includes Bannockburn, Lowburn, Wanaka Road and Bendigo within its boundaries; Gibbston, with approximately 20 per cent of the vineyards; Alexandra with eight per cent and, finally, Wanaka with less than three per cent. Pinot Noir is the stunner coming out of Central, but other grapes do well, including Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Riesling.
More to accompany a special dinner than for everyday drinking, these wines are showing more complex flavours and some will improve with a few more years of ageing. Includes Pinot Noir, a wine that tends to be lighter in colour, body and tannins because of the grape’s thin skin. As the wine matures it develops gamey characteristics and much fuller fruit flavours.
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