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Mount Difficulty (Central Otago, NZ)

Welcome to the wines of Mount Difficulty - among the very finest producers you will find on the pages of Exel Wines!

We are particularly pleased and excited to be able to offer these; these are wines curiously hard to track down in the UK.

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites.

The Bannockburn area is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape and Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Matt Dicey, known as 'Le Grand Fromage' has a lifelong association with the wine industry, and is a fourth generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic productions.

Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

For an excellent video on the Mt Difficulty ideal, click here. 

For similar but "A Year In The Vines", click here.

We offer wines from all four of Mt Difficult's four ranges: Roaring Meg and Bannockburn and the prestigious Growers Series and Single Vineyard ranges.

For an explanation of these series, and their points of distinction and difference, click here.

Across this spread - all ten wines are shown and available below, with reviews they have garnered on each product page - you'll find wines from £15 upwards, covering:

  • the excellent trademark Pinot Noirs;
  • a rare Central Otago take on NZ Sauvignon Blanc;
  • Pinot Gris in both classic and late harvest/sweet forms;
  • an excellent (and utterly delicious) semi-sweet Riesling;
  • a luxury. serious, very structured Syrah (think Cornas, not Barossa); and
  • a glorious Chenin Blanc.

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Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2018 (1x75cl)

"Medium-deep red-purple colour, youthful and fresh, as it is also on the nose. Bright Campari, bitter-herb aromas, with dominant red and black-cherry aromas. The wine is medium bodied and bright on the tongue, with remarkable depth of flavour for the money and plenty of soft, fine tannin. There is a lovely core of sweet fruit, too." 91 Points, Huon Hooke, 26 September 2018

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty (this is the 2017 sheet; 2018's is impending!).

Mt Difficulty Roaring Meg Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

The Roaring Meg is a classic example of Central Otago Pinot Noir. It exhibits a lovely mix of red and black berry fruits with further complexity gained from oak spice. The wine has a sweet berry palate which displays these same characters in abundance. Tannins rise gracefully out of the mid-palate to finish the wine; these are balanced by the wine’s natural acidity and fruit, to produce a long and fruit-driven finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.30

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Noir 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (Rebecca Gibb MW) in their January 2019 tasting (see blue link below).

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Noir 2017 - January 2019 Decanter review

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.

The grapes for this wine come from their estate vineyards on the Felton Road. Handpicked and hand crafted, this wine reflects the nature of the vintage displaying great concentration and balance. Red fruits of the forest along with blackberries dominate the aroma, these are underpinned by savoury herb and liquorice. The wine has a abundant fruity front palate which is fleshy and well textured. Wonderful smooth silky tannins combine with a hint of oak and delivers a truly expressive pinot with mineral characteristics associated with Central Otago.

ABV = 14.0%.

£24.20

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Pinot Gris 2018 (1x75cl)

"Grown and hand-picked at Bannockburn, in Central Otago, this freshly scented and mouthfilling wine was made in a basically dry style. Vibrantly fruity, it has strong, pure pear and lychee flavours, a hint of spiciness and excellent delicacy, harmony and depth." Four and a Half Stars, Listener Magazine - Michael Cooper, 13 October 2018.

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Pinot Gris 2018 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Pinot Gris.

Note - always a question with Pinot Gris - how dry is it? 4g/litre of residual sugar (RS) here, so on the very margins of that sugar being detectable. That is, this is a dry Pinot Gris.

This aromatic Pinot Gris grows really well in the cool climatic conditions and produces a dry white with stone fruit aromas of peach and nectarine on the nose. The front palate displays vibrant, juicy flavours of stone fruits and ripe red apples, whilst the mid palate is full, creamy and well textured followed by a lingering, rich yet clean grapefruit driven finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.75

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2018 vintage (not yet available in the UK) was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 panel tasting of Oaked New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - July 2019 Decanter review

"Moderately weighty and flavoursome Sauvignon Blanc with rock melon, guava and capsicum flavours. Soft, fruity acidity, with a silken texture and just a hint of sweetness. Impressive purity." 

92 Points, Bob Campbell, MW, 14 Feb 2018

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Sauvignon Blanc 2017 - fiche technique

This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Hand harvested from the Templars Hill Vineyard in the Bannockburn area of Central Otago. The grapes are gently pressed and cold fermented in stainless steel and left on its lees for two months to retain maximum varietal fruit character and complexity. Herbaceous aromas combine with ripe gooseberry on the nose. The palate is full of citrus and grapefruit flavours intermingled with cut grass and a long tropical fruit finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.75

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Sauvignon Blanc 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2018 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 panel tasting of Oaked New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs (see blue link below).

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - July 2019 Decanter review 

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

This wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc.

Hand harvested from the Templars Hill Vineyard in the Bannockburn area of Central Otago. The grapes are gently pressed and cold fermented in stainless steel and left on its lees for two months to retain maximum varietal fruit character and complexity. Herbaceous aromas combine with ripe gooseberry on the nose. The palate is full of citrus and grapefruit flavours intermingled with cut grass and a long tropical fruit finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.75

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Target Riesling 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their September 2020 edition article, Lighter Wines for Summer Drinking (see blue link below)

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn (Series) Target Riesling 2017 - September 2020 Decanter review

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

This wine is 100% Riesling.

Residual sugar = 37g/litre (ideal with pates and cheeses!).

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Target Riesling 2017 - fiche technique

Awarded Best in Class and Trophy at the Royal Easter Show, Auckland, this fantastic wine shows why Central Otago excels with lower alcohol, moderately sweet examples, fashioned after the German style. With startling purity, a fine lime acidity and sense of alpine flowers, this medium dry wine delivers harmonious balance and fruit intensity right through the palate. Leading the way to the long-awaited Riesling revival.

ABV = 10.4%.

£15.65

Mt Difficulty Bannockburn Long Gully Chenin Blanc 2016 (Single Vineyard) (1x75cl)

"The lovely 2016 vintage (5*) is rich, vibrant and finely poised. Bright, light lemon/green, it is full-bodied (14 per cent alcohol), with fresh, intense fruit flavours, hints of spices and honey, abundant sweetness (51 grams/litre of residual sugar), mouth-watering acidity and a lasting finish. Full of youthful drive, it's already delicious; drink now or cellar." 5 Stars - Michael Cooper's Buyers Guide 2018

Established in 1992, the Dicey family owns some of the oldest vineyards in the Bannockburn region of Central Otago on the famous Felton Road and have acquired land over the last ten years to build up to over 40 hectares, including six single vineyard sites. Their portfolio vineyards spans Central Otago from Gibbston to Lowburn Valley and on to Bendigo home still under Mount Difficulty at Bannockburn.

Central Otago provides New Zealand’s only continental climate, combined with unique soils ideally suited for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. The Bannockburn area, in particular, is one of the few sites outside of Burgundy that lends itself to the growing of the pernickety Pinot Noir grape; Mt Difficulty craft wines in the Burgundian style whilst stamping the uniqueness of the terroir to produce structured and serious wines. Not content with growing superb Pinot Noir, they are also known for their aromatic whites and grape varieties such as their grower series Lowburn Chardonnay and Estate Chenin Blanc.

Winemaker-in-chief Matt Dicey has a lifelong association with the wine industry and is a fourth-generation vigneron. After achieving a Masters Degree in Oenology and Viticulture, Matt spent four years gaining experience overseas.

As with all New Zealand wines, Mt Difficulty adhere to strict sustainability practices and constantly strive towards organic production.

Mount Difficulty is the name on the leading wines. The ‘second label’ is named Roaring Meg; these wines are produced in a more fruit-driven, early-drinking style and have become a mainstay of the Mt Difficulty stable since their introduction in 2003.

100% Chenin Blanc.

This is a medium-sweet Chenin: residual sugar = 51g/litre.

See the blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the team at Mt Difficulty.

Mt Difficulty Long Gully Chenin Blanc 2016 - fiche technique

This single vineyard Chenin Blanc is grown in the Long Gully vineyard in Bannockburn. The grapes were left on the vine to ripen for as long as possible which has led to a lovely, intense nose of tropical fruits such as mango and passionfruit. The tropical flavours follow through on the palate with concentrated flavours of mango and ripe peach. The natural high acidity of the Chenin has resulted in a wine that starts sweet but develops into a lovely and clean lime tinged finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£15.75
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