The Mt Difficulty brand started in 1998 with a very small production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, made by Grant Taylor of Gibbston Valley Wines (now of Valli Wines). Prior to this the gang sold their grapes to either Gibbston Valley or Chard Farm. The Air New Zealand wine awards in 1999 put Mt Difficulty on the map, with the 1998 Pinot Noir winning a gold medal and the Chardonnay, silver. The rest, as they say, is history.
The fruit was hand harvested in top condition from the 8th – 28th April. The fruit was processed in a reductive manner, with the juice settled overnight and racked clean. The wine was partially fermented with indigenous yeast, utilizing cultured yeast to help finish the ferments, the wines were fermented cool to help maximise varietal character. All the components were left on gross yeast lees for five months post fermentation with weekly stirring to help enhance the complexity and textural aspects of the wine.
The slightly warmer vintage resulted in ripe stonefruit blossom, peach and tangerine mingled with underlying pear notes. The palate displays these same characters in abundance focusing on ripe succulent peach notes, while the mid palate is full, creamy and well textured. The wine has a rich, spice-infused finish.
The Mt Difficulty story begins with a handshake. The early 90s saw the owners of five newly planted vineyards in Bannockburn, come together to produce wine under one label. They called themselves the "Gang of Four." The first vintage produced under the Mt Difficulty label was 1998. Today they are comprised of many vineyards that span Central Otago, from Gibbston to Lowburn to Bendigo. The focus is on Pinot noir and Chardonnay, but Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris are also produced. Recently, Mt Difficulty have begun experimental plantings of Chenin Blanc and Syrah too. Under the experienced guidance of Winemaker Matt Dicey, this winery continues to turn out incredible wines that are the ultimate expression of Central Otago, year after year.