Cuisine, a NZ magazine we eagerly await to hit our mailbox, have released their annual NZ Sweet Wine tasting results and we are thrilled to have been awarded first, third, and seventh spots alongside other excellent NZ sweet wine producers.
Our Single Vineyard Long Gully Noble Riesling 2014, took out first place and Five Stars, with the judges saying it ‘shone out like a beacon’ with its ‘luscious fruit, laced with honey, marmalade, ginger and lavender notes flow[ing] creamily to a succulent finish’. Following in the 2014’s steps, our Single Vineyard Long Gully Noble Riesling 2015 was awarded third place and also received Five Stars with its ‘honey, peach and candied citrus flavours’. Lastly, our Single Vineyard Silver Tussock Noble Riesling 2016 received Four Stars, with the judges describing it as ‘tight, crisp and lively’.
Judge John Saker writes:
'The quality of New Zealand sweet wines is on the rise, with one region – and one winery – dominating the field' and 'Central Otago’s Mt Difficulty is emerging as one of the country’s standout producers of a wine style that is not easy to get right, but is pure nectar when that happens.'
The Riesling stars aligned in the 2014 vintage for Mt Difficulty winemaker and general manager Matt Dicey. ‘It was a year when there was clarity and precision to the wines that we really enjoyed,’ says Dicey. In addition, a February rain event tripped off botrytis infection in some of the 22-year-old Riesling vines in the Long Gully vineyard, which abuts the Kawarau River in Bannockburn. ‘That’s not something we get every year down here, but when we do it pays dividends,’ he says. ‘The noble styles are not the easiest wines to make, but I enjoy the challenges and watching them come through.’ In years that are free from botrytis, Dicey likes to make a sweet late-harvest Riesling using Long Gully fruit. ‘Both styles have that beautiful acidity and purity that comes with Central Otago fruit.’