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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

Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine De Thalabert Rouge 2017 (1x75cl)

Since the early 19th Century, Paul Jaboulet Ainé has been synonymous with quality wine in the Rhône Valley. Jaboulet’s Hermitages - white and red - and most of their upper wines - are the stuff of legend. The famous Rhone winery was bought by the Frey family in 2006. The Freys, owners of Chateau la Lagune in Bordeaux, saw the potential of the vineyards. They brought renewed energy to this corner of France and to one of its greatest names.

The Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage, as the Oxford Companion to Wine describes it, remains the "appellation's principal standard bearer". It has long been seen as having the quality of nearby Hermitage, particularly in good vintages, at only a small fraction of the price.

See this link for an excellent guided tasting of the 2012 vintage by one of the world's leading sommeliers.

The Crozes-Hermitage vineyard is the largest of all the northern Rhône Valley appellations. It extends over 11 communes situated in the Drôme, on the left bank of the Rhône. Domaine de Thalabert has belonged to the Maison Paul Jaboulet Aîné since 1834. It is situated on the plain, and is the oldest in the appellation.

This estate of around 40 ha lies on a pebbly plain that is glacial in origin. The small, round pebbles store heat during the day and release it at night, providing optimum ripening of the Syrah grapes  Average vine age is an impressive 40 to 60 years.

100% Syrah. The grapes from the Thalabert estate are carefully sorted then meticulously vinified using traditional methods. Traditionally aged in wood for 12 months in Jaboulet's ancient VINEUM cellar.

Deep ruby and bright. Intense, complex and aromatic with a blend of red berries and animal notes. Powerful and fine; noble tannins; full, well-balanced finish.

ABV = 13.5%.

£25.25

Trimbach Riesling Reserve 2018 (1x75cl)

Earning a listing for one of your wines at a Michelin-starred restaurant is a proud moment – so what must it be like to be featured by every single three Michelin-starred restaurant in France (that’s 27 in total)? It’s an accolade that reflects the historic excellence and purist vision of F. E. Trimbach, unquestionably one of the great names of Alsace and a family business that can trace its origins all the way back to 1626. Thirteen generations later, brothers Bernard and Hubert, plus Bernard’s sons, Pierre and Jean, and granddaughter Anne – remain true to the philosophy handed down to them by their 19th century ancestor, Frédéric Emile (the man who put the “F.E.” into F. E. Trimbach).

The “Réserve” quality is the result of a rigorous selection of fully-ripe grapes from the Ribeauvillé region. It defines a structured, balanced wine, which is both fruity and subtle.

100% Riesling. 

White flowers, lemon notes and minerality touch on the nose. Fresh and vibrant, grapefruit and citrus, white peach, this wine has a long finish which is a sign of a beautiful future for the wine. This elegant Riesling, dry and precise, is a worthy accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes. It pairs well with sauerkraut, fish (fried, grilled, smoked, in a sauce, raw…), and white meats. The best vintages can be kept for ten years.

ABV = 14.0%.

£20.10 £17.85

Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2015 (1x75cl)

Based in Lontué in the Curicó Valley, Valdivieso has a wealth of vineyards and the quality of their terroirs is shown by their Single Valley Lot/Valley Selection and Single Vineyard wines. The whole range encapsulates everything that Chile excels at: rich, vibrant flavours and smooth, glossy textures - and the wines deserve the multitude of gongs they have picked up in recent years. Well-travelled Kiwi winemaker, Brett Jackson, has settled in Chile and much of Valdivieso’s success in recent years can be credited to his talent.

The fruit comes from the La Rosa vineyard, situated in the DO of Sagrada Familia, itself in the Curicó Valley region. This vineyard is now 50 years old. The vineyards hare are all located in a small valley very close to the coastal mountain range. North-facing, it is protected from the cool-cold breezes that blow along the Mataquito River: this is a very warm place by Chilean vineyard standards. 

The grapes were harvested by hand in the third week of April.

The bunches go through a meticulous manual selection before being gently destemmed. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks over a period of 7 to 10 days at a controlled temperature of 26° to 28°C. The must in fermentation is pumped back over  the pomace layer (remontage/remontado) three times a day. The wine is left some 7 to 14 days in post-fermentative maceration to extract further colour and tannins. The wine is then stored for 12 months in French oak barrels (100%), 35% of which are new.

100% Cabernet Franc.

Deep dark red with violet reflections. Very aromatic, some dark berries, cherry, plums with hints of roast capsicums, nice sweet spices, some floral and sweet herbal notes and a slight peppery character. Clean fruity entry, fine tannin texture complemented by elegant spices from the maturation in oak barrels. Full bodied with crisp balancing acidity. Palate has a lovely texture and body from some structured tannins.

Enjoy the concentration now or cellar for up to 7 years.

ABV = 13.5%.

£15.75

Ken Forrester The Gypsy Shiraz Grenache 2015 (1x75cl)

Click here for a one-minute intro video to - and tasting note for - The Gypsy from Ken Forrester himself (in classic Ken fashion).

Situated on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain, in the heart of South Africa's most famous wine region Stellenbosch, Ken Forrester's vineyards are commonly referred to as the home of Chenin Blanc and other premium award-winning wines. Over the years, this range of top quality wines has received massive national and international acclaim with literally hundreds of awards and accolades. The wines are broadly available in reputable restaurants and exported around the globe. Ken Forrester’s philosophy has always been to create a range of handcrafted, individually made wines that suitably complement a wide variety of food styles and provide excellent value.

This is the Forrester red equivalent of the iconic FMC Chenin: a stunning New World, red Rhone blend.

63% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, being a hand-picked selection of the finest and ripest fruit.

Cool-soaked prior to fermentation, then taken to new French oak barrels for 12 months. At this point a further selection takes place before blending and the final blend goes back to new barrels to marry and harmonise over the following 12 months. After almost 2 years languishing in a cool cellar the Gypsy is stable with the oak and intense fruit totally harmonised. A very concentrated, focussed blend, with layers of deep fruit.

The character is somewhat 'wild' a little brambly with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark spices, with vanilla scents and a distinct, concentrated red-fruit focus. Great for laying down and keeping for at least ten years but already rewarding if allowed to breathe in a decanter.

See also our Ken Forrester tasting blog for details of this wine in action.

ABV = 14.5%.

£29.55

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
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