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Featured Reviews




Devotus and Devotus Reserve Martinborough Pinot Noirs 2016

30 June,2017
The 3 ha sized Devotus vineyard on the corner of Puruatanga Road and Regent Street, neighbouring Dry River in Martinborough, has been revitalised since its acquisition and hard work by Don and Valerie McConachy from 2013. Their first releases with the 2014 vintages were widely acclaimed (click here for my reviews) and these were followed by the even better 2015s (click here to see my reviews). Two wines are made for their mail order market, the ‘Devotus’ Pinot Noir made from 1.3 ha of Dijon and Abel clone fruit now at 23 y.o., made by Alex Craighead, and the ‘Devotus Reserve’ label which is made from the most valuable resource of 0.38 ha of Pommard clone fruit, now at 31 y.o., made by another winemaker.

I’ve made regular visits to see Don and Valerie, as I admire their work in bringing the vineyard up to an extremely high standard. I know I’m not alone, as I understand their wines sell out very quickly on release. I also know of their unrelenting drive for furthering the quality of the wines, and for 2016, they have made even stricter selections of their fruit to go into these labels. I’ve tasted the barrel samples and probable blends that were likely to make up these wines (click here to see my report). With their stricter selections of the existing grapes, and the eventual yielding from their newly planted wines, they have touted the idea of introducing another label for ‘younger vine’ fruit.

I should make one more observation, and that is Don and Valerie are very aware of the pricing of the wines. They have increased their RRPs to a level that puts them on par with a number of very reputable and well-established labels. This is primarily in response to the drives of the market, and the demand is seen by them as very flattering However, they also realise that their pricing can be flexible, and be modified, especially to reflect vintage quality, style and yields. In the meantime, I review the new release 2016 Devotus and Devotus ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noirs. A portion of the wines have already been sold ‘en primeur’ to mail order customers. They are due for general release on 1 August 2017. www.devotus.nz

FEATURED WINES IN THIS REVIEW



Devotus ‘Single Vineyard’ Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

18.5/20
Ruby-red colour with some depth, lighter on the edge with some garnet hues. The nose is elegantly proportioned with finely concentrated aromas of savoury dark-red berry and cherry fruit which form a tight core with notes of dark herbs, subtle whole bunch stalk fragrances and dark florals providing complexing interest. A little smokiness and earthy detail adds piquant intensity. Medium-bodied, the palate has a smooth and seamlessly concentrated heart of sweetly ripe dark-red berry fruit with plum notes, along with subtle, savoury herb and whole bunch stalk elements. The fruit richness shows with elegance and style, and is supported by fine-grained supple tannin extraction that allows the fruit sweetness to prevail. Fine, lacy acidity provides energy, and the wine flows along a velvety line to a long, sustained, complex savoury red fruited and herb nuanced finish. This is an elegant and stylishly concentrated, seamless flowing Pinot Noir with savoury red fruit and herb flavours on a fine-grained palate with good vitality. Serve with wild duck and pork dishes over the next 6-7+ years. A blend of clones 667, 777, 114 and 115, plus Abel, from vines 22 y.o., the fruit hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 50% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 11 days on skins and aged 11 months in seasoned French oak. 2,502 bottles made. 18.5/20 Jun 2017 RRP $60.00

Devotus ‘Reserve’ ‘Single Vineyard’ Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

18.5+/20
Full, even, very dark ruby-red colour with black-purple hues, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is tightly bound and expressed with elegance of proportion, the fruit pronounced in fragrant dark-red and black cherry and berry aromas, along with dark-red florals and subtle, complexing herbal notes. A touch of minerally reduction adds to the interest. Medium-bodied, the palate has bright and tightly bound flavours of ripe black cherry and berry fruit entwined with dark herbs, violet and dark-red florals and a little minerally reduction. The fruit is deeply concentrated with a core of very fine-grained flowery tannins providing good structure, and the palate is underlined by fresh acidity which enhances the linearity. The wine flows smoothly, leading to a very long, lingering finish of black fruits, florals herbs and minerals. This is an elegant, tightly bound, bright, black-fruited Pinot Noir with fragrant dark herbs and florals, with minerally elements on a very fine-grained palate with fresh acidity. Serve with lamb, beef and venison over the next 6-8+ years. Hand picked Pommard clone fruit from vines 30 y.o., fermented with 10% whole bunches to 12.0% alc., the wine on skins 13 days and aged 11 months in 25% new French oak barrels. 1,068 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Jun 2017 RRP $90.00
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