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Featured Reviews

Devil’s Staircase 2017 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir

30 November,2017

Devil’s Staircase is the secondary brand of Rockburn Wines in Central Otago. The name originates from the winding road leading from Queenstown to Kingston along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Rockburn winemaker Malcolm Francis Rees says the wines are made "simply”, inferring minimal inputs, and aiming for a style of accessibility. The wines are affordably priced, and have proven to be a success in the marketplace, showing they are made well. Here, I review the new 2017 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. The wines are distributed by Hancocks.


Devil’s Staircase Central Otago Pinot Gris 2017

Pinot Gris from New Zealand – Otago


Bright, light straw-yellow colour, a little paler on the rim. The nose is moderately full with aromas of savoury yellow stonefruits hints of honeysuckle and subtle nutty and floral notes. Medium-sweet to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate has softly rich and luscious, up-front flavours of yellow stonefruits with notes of honey. The mouthfeel has a soft sweetness and subtle unctuousness, with fresh acid liveliness. The wine flows easily, carried a little by the residual sugar to a light finish of stonefruits, florals and honey. This is a gently luscious, medium-sweet Pinot Gris with yellow stonefruit and honied flavours. Match with mildly spicy Asian and Middle Eastern fare over the next 2 years. Fruit from the ’Dustbowl’ vineyard in Pisa, tank-fermented to 12.5% alc. and 30 g/L RS. 16.5/20 Nov 2017 RRP $21.99

Devil’s Staircase Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Otago


Ruby-red colour with some depth and light purple hues on the edge. The nose is firm with good depth of dark-red cherry fruit with some raspberry and dark herb elements, along with red florals and a touch of minerally reduction. Medium-bodied, the palate has bright and vibrant flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit with notes of raspberries, dark herbs and some minerally reduction lending subtle bitter nuances. The fruit flavours are uncomplicated and enlivened by soft acidity and the mouthfeel is supple and smooth flowing. The wine carries to a light finish of raspberries and bitter cherry fruit. This is a soft, supple and smooth, uncomplicated Pinot Noir with dark-red cherry and raspberry fruit with herb and mineral notes. Serve with pasta, pizza, antipasto and tapas over the next 2+ years. Fruit approx. equal portions from Gibbston, Alexandra and Pisa, fully destemmed and fermented to 13.5% alc., the wine bottled without oak contact. 16.5+/20 Nov 2017 RRP $24.99

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