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Featured Reviews

Devotus Martinborough 2015 Pinot Noir and Reserve Pinot Noir

05 August,2016
Devotus is the Pinot Noir vineyard on a 4 ha block in the Martinborough Terrace that is the winegrowing venture of young couple Don McConachy and Valerie Worsdale. Purchasing the established vineyard on the corner of Puruatanga Road and Regent Street next door to Dry River in 2009, they returned from overseas to settle with their young sons on the block in 2013 and begin the process of revitalising the vines and the soils. The most valuable resource is 0.38 ha (731 vines in 10 rows) of Pommard clone Pinot Noir now 30 years old. Just as valuable are the just over 1 ha of Dijon and Abel clone plants (3,157 vines) at 22 year old. These vines form the Devotus ‘Reserve’ and ‘Estate' Pinot Noir wines respectively. Don and Valerie have begun a replanting process to increase the number of vines, and to even up the clonal mix to suit the site.

Don and Valerie are devoted to the work in the vineyard. It is immaculate and shows their hard work. They have contracted two different winemakers to make their wines, Alex Craighead of Alana Estate to make the ‘Estate’ wine, and a high profile, highly experienced person who wishes to remain anonymous at present for the ‘Reserve’. I reviewed the inaugural 2014 releases (click here to see my reviews) and was very impressed with the wines. Don and Valerie have now released their 2015 wines. The growing season for 2015 was marked by high winds which damaged the green shoots and induced dormancy, reducing the yields, but provided exceptional concentration in the fruit, according to Don. I’ve had the opportunity of tasting the 2015 ‘Estate’ wine in unfinished state a couple of times, and must say the wine is looking good. Of particular interest is the emergence of a consistent expression of vineyard and house style, or whether winemaker signature is stronger. At present, I feel the latter prevails. Here, I review the 2015 Devotus and Devotus ‘Reserve’ Pinot Noirs.


Devotus ‘Single Vineyard’ Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

Moderately dark ruby-red colour with a deep heart, lighter on the rim. The nose is very firmly packed, with robustly solid and dense aromas of ripe dark-red berry fruits melded harmoniously with dried herbal complexities, unfolding some earthy and whole bunch stalk layers, revealing some red floral lift with aeration. Medium-full bodied, rich, sweet and juicy dark-red berry fruit flavours feature on the palate with mouthfilling breadth. The fruit unfolds layers of dried herbs, earth and whole cluster stalk elements, which are evenly melded. This is fulsome and weighty, and the fruit is supported by fine, grainy tannin structure and integrated acidity. The palate has energy and drive, and carries to a densely packed, long lingering finish with succulently rich fruit and savoury dried herb layers. This is a fulsome and near-robust Pinot Noir with succulently rich dark-red fruits and layers of savoury herb notes, and a fine, grainy structure. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game meat dishes over the next 6+ years. Dijon clone fruit, 667,777, 114 and 115, with Abel, from vines 21 y.o., hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 50% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine spending 12 days on skins and aged 11 months in seasoned French oak barrels. 882 bottles made. 18.5/20 Aug 2016 RRP $42.00

Devotus ‘Reserve’ ‘Single Vineyard’ Martinborough Terrace Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington

Very dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour, very youthful in appearance. This has a very elegant, finely presented, fragrant nose with a tight core of bright, aromatic and ripe fruit aromas of dark-red cherries and berries. The fruit is enhanced by complexing nuances of dark herbs and whole cluster stalk suggestions, with some oak lift emerging in the glass. This builds in intensity and concentration with aeration. Medium-full bodied, the palate features fresh and lusciously rich, succulent flavours of dark red cherry and berry fruit along with plum and fragrant dark-red florals. The mouthfeel is lively and vibrant, the fruit sweetness balanced by fine-grained, flowery tannin extraction and structure providing an elegant backbone. Lacy acidity lends energy and tension and the wine carries with energy and vitality to a long and sustained finish of aromatic dark red fruits and some oak lift. This is a beautifully rich and sweetly luscious, vibrant Pinot Noir with aromatic fruit, and a fresh, fine-grained structure. Match with poultry and pork, and with Asian cuisine over the next 7-9+ years. Made from 10 rows of Pommard clone fruit, vines 29 y.o., the fruit hand-picked and fermented with 15% whole clusters to 13.5% alc., the wine spending 12 days on skins and aged 11 months in 25% new French oak barrels. 509 bottles produced. 19.0-/20 Aug 2016 RRP $72.00
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