30 Sep 2011
"After reporting recently on a batch of wine including the exciting Mt Difficulty Individual Vineyard pinots, it was good to have Matt Dicey back in Wellington again to present his wines to a different audience at Wellington's Regional Wines & Spirits, and with quite different accompanying vintages. At risk of sounding like a fan club for Mt Difficulty, you can't help noticing that while some winemakers complain about the dollar, and generally bemoan the state of affairs in their industry as farmers are wont to do, others like Dicey are stomping the country, giving spectacular tastings showcasing their latest releases as illuminated by generous selections of back vintages. Few winemakers bestir themselves to do this, let alone twice in two months from Otago to Wellington, as in Mt Difficulty's case. These tastings are eminently worth seeking out. Matt Dicey is emerging as one of New Zealand's pre-eminent pinot noir makers, seeking a style of pinot noir which is both beautiful and totally international, and his commentaries are invaluable. Beyond pinot noir, there are exciting wines amongst their other varieties too."
2009 Mt Difficulty Pinot Noir Target Gully 19 ()
Bannockburn, Central Otago, New Zealand: 14%; $85 [ screwcap; several clones, the oldest 15 years at hand-harvest; earlier vintages have been cropped at c. 4 t/ha = 1.6 t/ac; 9 days cold-soak, 7 days fermentation, 9 days maceration, giving a cuvaison of 25 days, 25% whole bunches; 16 months in French oak, some new, MLF in barrel the following spring; light fining only ]
This is one of the finest pinot noirs thus far made in New Zealand. Right from the medium cherry ruby colour, it emphasises that fine pinot noir is about beauty, rather more than weight. The bouquet is breathtaking, a wonderful interweaving of floral notes with sweet mixed-cherry fruit. Palate is soft, enticing, totally burgundian. The standard 2009 Mt Difficulty is seriously beautiful, but this is just magically more concentrated. Every winemaker in New Zealand who aspires to make quality pinot noir needs to buy, taste and own this wine, for reference. Cellar 3 – 8 years, maybe 10. GK 08/11