Being based across the ditch in Central Otago, NZ, hasn’t stopped Mt Difficulty making it to every Pinot Palooza ever. They even came with us to Singapore and Tokyo in 2018, and came third in the National People’s Choice competition in 2017.
Their pinot is pretty great, too. Matt Dicey has been making it in Bannockburn, Central Otago, since 1992 (from some of the oldest vines in the region), with a simple philosophy: to produce wine ethically and simply to express its personality and reflect its home.
Bannockburn is about an hour’s drive from Wanaka or Queenstown on New Zealand’s south island. There is a cellar door and restaurant on-site at the Mt Difficulty winery, so it’s well worth your time coming to visit. The deck, with views over Cromwell basin to Lake Dunstan is the perfect place to enjoy a Mt Difficulty platter (antipasti, salami, mussel pate, to name a few items). After something more substantial? Try the Wakanui beef fillet inside at the restaurant.
Tell us something really cool about your wines.
We’re twenty vintages deep in Bannockburn, and we’re still discovering who and what we are. Let’s see where the next twenty years take us.
What style do you think characterises the wines of your region?
The unique microclimate of the Bannockburn area is partially created by the presence of Mount Difficulty which overlooks the southern Cromwell basin, and is the namesake of Mt Difficulty Wines. Mount Difficulty is integral in providing low rainfall and humidity for the region. Bannockburn enjoys hot summers, a large diurnal temperature variation and long cool autumns: conditions which bring the best out of the pinot noir grapes. These conditions, along with soils which are ideal for viticulture, provide an excellent basis not only for pinot noir, but also for pinot gris, riesling, and chardonnay. The soils are a mix of clay and gravels, but all feature a high pH level; grapes produce their best wines on sweet soils.
Tell us three things we need to know about your region?
1. Bannockburn is warmer and drier throughout the year than any other sub-region of Central Otago
2. It’s home to some of the oldest vineyards in Central Otago
3. It’s a unique sub-region where you can taste and enjoy dining directly in the Bannockburn region, the best wine tourism experience is always in the vineyards
What’s the one thing we simply must do in your region?
Selfie with the Mt D road sign with Mount Difficulty looming in the background!
When no one is watching, you drink…
MORE negronis than I should.
Your pinots are best for…
Today, lunchtime and this evening, maybe tomorrow as well. You don’t need a special occasion.
Your pinots are best paired with…
Food always works well. If you don’t have any at a pinch you can just drink for enjoyment.
If not you, who else should we try?
Our good mates at Carrick!
If your pinots were music artists, who would they be?
Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir: Coldplay. Slightly alternative and yet innovative whilst being politically aware!
Roaring Meg Pinot Noir : Florence and the Machine. Powerful accessible catchy but not mainstream.
Generally: Beck – every album is different and unique, just like every vintage in Central.
Where do you pinot?
Anywhere with the time and space to enjoy it. Kick back, pour it out, and enjoy it. Even invite a few friends over.
What song should we listen to when driving to the winery?
What song should we listen to when driving away and onto the next one?