Mount Difficulty Pinot Noir 2005

There’s not much to do in Te Anau, New Zealand, on the night of your very quiet wedding except hunt down a nice restaurant and order the flashest-looking bottle on the list. So it was that I ended up drinking this very wine a couple of years ago. I’ve since tried it a couple of times (most recently in New Zealand with Chris) and it continues to provide enjoyment. Wine’s funny like that; it can be as much about the circumstance as anything else, and often I give in to this subjectivity.

What pleasure in familiarity! It’s like Central Otago in a glass, sweet/sour plum, vanilla oak and ripe tomato leaf enthusiastically leaping from the glass. There’s a bit of peat-like funk that I don’t remember in this wine, and I put it down to the very beginnings of bottle age. The palate is where things are developing more noticeably. Firstly, texture. Mount Difficulty Pinot tends to be quite roughly acidic in youth, and although there’s still abundant acid, it has transformed from sandpaper to plush velvet. Hence, the wine feels full and weighty in the mouth, fruit flavour gorgeously unlocked. Not one for lovers of delicate Pinot, this wine is a full throttle expression of Central Otago fruit, generous and savoury, with ripe vegetal complexities and a cough syrup-like note. After a swell on the middle palate, there’s only marginally less presence on the after palate, and the finish is of good length. Is the finish a bit hot? Or is the oak a tad raw? Perhaps, but I’m not fussed, it’s just so tasty.
It’s a shame I don’t have more of this, as I think it has a good few years’ life left. I’d like to taste it again in perhaps two or three years’ time, as I suspect it will be truly luxurious at that point.

Mount Difficulty
Price: $A50
Closure: Stelvin

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