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Featured Reviews

Devotus Martinborough 2014 Pinot Noir and ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noir

09 September,2015
Devotus is the new Martinborough Pinot Noir venture of Don McConachy and Valerie Worsdale who upon returning to New Zealand in 2013 purchased a 4 ha block with 2 ha of old Pinot Noir wines planted by Neil McCallum of Dry River, some vines up to 28 y.o., planted in 1986. The vineyard is in the heart of the Martinborough Terrace, on the corner of Puruatanga Road and Regent Street, directly next door to Dry River. McConachy, a mechanical engineer by trade, while working overseas, discovered the love of wine and having a cropping and farming background took up the dream of making wine from a special terroir.

McConachy and Worsdale have taken a natural, traditional and hands-on approach to the property and viticulture, inspired by the farming background, and have made new plantings of Pinot Noir following cultivation of crops of barley, oats and peas ploughed back into the soil for nutrition, while preparing the land. Don’s use of a 1944 Farmall H tractor and a light Reid & Gray 2 furrow plough harks back to older times and methods.

In 2014, there were two Devotus Pinot Noir wine, an ‘Estate’ and a ‘Reserve’, made in different styles. The ‘Estate’ from 20 y.o, Dijon and the Abel clone fruit was made with the assistance of Alex Craighead of Alana Estate. There were 1,703 bottles produced. The ‘Reserve’ was made from the oldest 10 rows of Pommard clone fruit at 28 y.o., with the assistance of another winemaker. Only 988 bottles were made. I review the two wines here.


Devotus ‘Single Vineyard’ Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

Moderately full black-red colour, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is full and well-concentrated with deep aromas of ripe dark-red and black berried fruits, unfolding notes of raspberry liqueur, spices and pepper, lifted by dark red floral elements. Earthy, meaty, stalky and undergrowth whole bunch nuances emerge with aeration, the bouquet showing good integration. Medium-full bodied, the palate is fulsome and solidly packed with mouthfilling flavours of dark-red and black fruits melded with savoury dark herb and earthy whole bunch complexities. Some resinous nutty oak elements also show. The fruit is supported by soft, grainy tannin structure and soft acidity adds to the broad mouthfeel and presence. The wine carries to a full, soft, black-fruited and earthy, herb-nuanced finish. This is a fulsome, black-fruited Pinot Noir with layers of savoury earth, stalk and herbal whole cluster complexities along with a grainy mouthfeel. Serve with casseroles and game meat dishes over the next 5-6 years. Dijon clones 667, 777, 114 and 115, plus Abel clone fruit, from 20 y.o. vines, hand-picked, given a cold soak and indigenous yeast fermented with 40% whole clusters to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 11 days on skins and aged 11 months in French oak. 1,703 bottles made. 18.0/20 Sep 2015 RRP $38.00

Devotus ‘Reserve’ ‘Single Vineyard’ Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2014

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

Bright, vibrant ruby-red colour with youthful purple hues, lighter on edge. This has a full, fragrant nose with bright and lifted, refined and pure aromas of cherry and dark red berry fruit. An array of perfumes, exotic florals and spices unfolds in the glass. Medium-full bodied and elegantly presented, succulently rich fruit flavours of dark cherries form a tight and well-concentrated core. The fruit is lifted by florals and whole berry fermentation aromatic detail, along with nuances of fragrant herbs and exotic spices. The palate is refined in tannin extraction and structure, and enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity lending vitality, freshness and tension to the mouthfeel and line. The flavours carry to a very long, lingering sweet-fruited finish with very fine textures. This is a beautifully elegant, refined, aromatic Pinot Noir with vibrant fruit, fine structure and palate freshness. Match with poultry, pork and fine Asian fare over the next 7-9+ years. Pommard clone fruit from 28 y.o. vines, hand-picked, given a cold soak and fermented with 15% whole bunches to 13.5% alc., the wine on skins 12 days and aged 11 months in 25% new French oak barrels. 988 bottles made. 18.5+/20 Sep 2015 RRP $62.00
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