A Spotlight on New Zealand:
A country of purity, strength
We are delighted to present our second vintage as exclusive agents to Devotus from husband-and-wife team, Don & Valerie, who meticulously work a small vineyard (a mere 2 hectares) of old Pinot Noir vines planted originally by Neil McCallum of Dry River and situated directly next-door to the famed Martinborough winery.
When we asked Don, 'Why Pinot Noir?' he replied "Pinot Noir is a high risk grape. Give it only average attention in the vineyard and you will be totally punished as a winemaker. The wine will be boring and mediocre. It does however respond wonderfully to the right treatment. Valerie, my wife, felt the same way, so we decided to go 100% with this grape with a totally all-or-nothing approach in the vineyard. It really is a situation where if you want the most reward, then you have to take the most risk. We could have grown a much easier white grape variety in our vineyard like most other NZ vineyards, yet that would have been a pretty boring, safe and rational decision.".
Their tireless attitude towards their work is one which continues to impress us massively. Don’s unrelenting dedication to the highest level of viticulture shows a level of commitment to their passion that speaks in volumes through their wines, as well as the painstaking attention to detail including individual labelling and numbering each bottle, all done by their own hands.
We are chuffed to represent the entire range of Devotus, including the new introduction, Aprentis of Devotus, which sees its first ever premiere outside of New Zealand. Aprentis is sourced from the younger parts of Devotus’ single estate vineyard, where the vines range between 6 to 19 year old. Don & Valerie did a great job separating these vines creating its own unique style. They have called the final wine the ‘Aprentis’, as in the future the fruit from these vines will become a part of the Devotus blend. Until that day, we have much to enjoy in the little sibling.
Previously, the super-limited ‘Reserve’ was tied to their estate wine however, we are now able to offer all wines ‘untied’. Additionally, and for a limited time only, we have reduced the 2018 ‘Reserve’ price as we are keen for you to appreciate one of New Zealand’s greatest Pinot Noirs.
Martinborough, North Island
Aprentis of Devotus Pinot Noir 2018
Deep ruby red colour with depth, lighter on the edge. On the nose this wine entices with aromas of dark fruit (plums) and red floral notes. There are layers of aromatics consisting of earth, spice and dark cherry. Medium-full bodied, the palate has a core of rich, sweet and luscious red fruit flavours. There are dark herbs, a fine-grained tannin structure with balanced, refreshing acidity. Overall style is one of low intervention, a pure expression of the 2018 vintage, of the Martinborough Terrace, and particularly of the vineyard.
£28.95 per bottle
Devotus Reserve Pinot Noir 2018
Visually very dark ruby-red colour. The nose is proportioned with aromas of red cherry and concentrated dark-red berry with savoury notes of whole bunch stalk, earth, and dark herbs. Medium-full bodied, the palate is concentrated, with a dense core of dark red fruits (ripe plums and dark cherries) and herbs. There is a firm structure, with fine-grained tannins, balanced with fresh acidity.
£57.95 per bottle
Central Otago, South Island
We are delighted to introduce our newest agency, Valli, from the beautiful Otago region of New Zealand. Established in 1998, Grant Taylor launched his Valli label with the aim of creating true representations of Otago’s sub-regions with unflinching intensity and purity. Gibbston was planted first followed by Bannockburn, Waitaki Valley and Bendigo. Tasting the wines is a true lesson in exploring Otago’s regionality and terroir, not too dissimilar to a Burgundian exercise.
Valli’s estate vineyard in Gibbston is the first vineyard in the valley to be planted in the true north-to-south direction. This maximises the amount of sunlight hours the vines receive, contributing dramatically to the uniform ripening of fruit, a critical factor in Pinot Noir quality. The vineyard soils are mainly schist derived, windblown alluvial loess. Gibbston, one of the coolest sub regions of Otago, has one of the slowest ripening seasons. A key factor in quality Pinot Noir from such a cool area is long hang time, that is the amount of time the grapes are on the vine; this allows them to develop elegance and complexity of flavour. Sometimes the Gibbston Vineyard is not picked until early May.
Valli Vineyards Gibbston Pinot Noir 2017
97 Points - Sam Kim (Wine Orbit) "A profound pinot; the captivating bouquet shows dark cherry, blueberry, violet, cedar and game characters with a hint of dried herb note. The palate is concentrated and weighty, while remaining poised and refined, backed by velvety mouthfeel and fine tannins. Gracefully powerful and alluringly seductive. At its best: 2019 to 2030."
£42.50 per bottle
The location of Valli’s Bannockburn Vineyard is only 20km from Gibbston in the Cromwell basin, but the difference in climate is responsible for creating markedly different wines. The Bannockburn wines reflect this warmer area by displaying darker fruits, by being denser, more powerful and with longevity based more on their tannin structure, as opposed to Gibbston wines which are based more on their acidity. The soils are also windblown loess over gravelly schist but with sandier, deeper topsoil, which allows for free draining. Climate, rather than soil, attributes to the main difference in the wines.
Valli Vineyards Bannockburn Pinot Noir 2017
96 Points - Sam Kim (Wine Orbit) "It is irresistibly expressed on the nose showing dark berry, raspberry, dried herb, toasted almond and olive characters. The palate is equally engaging and gratifying with sweet berry flavours and multi-layered mouthfeel, finishing superbly long and flowing. Sophisticated, comforting and stunning.
At its best: 2019 to 2027."
£42.50 per bottle
The Bendigo Pinot Noir is the newest addition to the Valli stable of Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs. Several years ago, Grant was involved in the largest-ever plantings at Bendigo, across 5 different sites, and quickly identified "Chinaman's Terrace" as his favourite. The higher elevation of this site means slightly cooler temperatures, which is important in these warmer sub regions, and good airflow, helping to prevent rot and mould. The wines from this very warm part of Otago have been described as "big friendly beasts." They are dark, rich, lush wines capturing the rock-reflected heat and ripeness of this special site.
Valli Vineyards Bendigo Pinot Noir 2017
97 Points - Bob Campbell "A delicious example of Bendigo pinot noir in an almost opulent style with plump, dark-fleshed plum, dark berries with floral and spice notes. A beautifully layered, powerful wine that's accessible now but has a promising future."
97 Points - Sam Kim (Wine Orbit) "This is flatteringly classy; the gloriously perfumed bouquet shows Black Doris plum, spiced cherry, vanilla, cedar and dark mushroom characters, leading to a sumptuous palate that is silky and mouth-filling. Richly fruited and delectably textured, this charismatic pinot offers both refinement and opulence, promising to evolve splendidly. At its best: 2019 to 2027."
£42.50 per bottle
New Zealand’s newest and most exciting wine growing region where, like Burgundy, the soils are limestone based. After only a few commercial vintages, Valli are already seeing incredible consistency in the perfume and minerality of the wines. Slightly cooler than Central Otago, the Waitaki Valley is not cropped as heavily, and planted with early ripening clones from Dijon and Pommard.
Valli Vineyards Waitaki Pinot Noir 2017
95 Points - Sam Kim (Wine Orbit) "Engaging and complex, the inviting bouquet shows red/black cherry, fragrant spice, thyme, nutmeg and floral characters. The palate is wonderfully weighted and rounded, delivering sweet berry flavours and silky texture, magnificently complemented by spicy nuances and fine tannins. Elegant, stylish and delicious. At its best: now to 2025."
£42.50 per bottle
Muddy Water Chardonnay 2016
97+ Points Stuart McCloskey "My third bottle and my opinion has not changed. An ineffably complex bouquet which builds and builds with more aeration in the glass. Emphatically, mineral-dominated, which combine perfectly with Amalfi lemon peel and orchard fruits (quince). The palate is full of energy, exhilarating, tightly coiled and perfectly balanced. The wine is chiselled, builds slowly and would benefit from decanting. Richness does not come in the form of fruit. Instead, the wine's fullness comes in the form of texture (phenolic weight) which is undeniably attractive (a nod to the painstaking work carried out in the vineyard). Wet stones wash across my palate but it’s the salinity which I love and sets this New Zealand Chardonnay apart from all the others. There’s a killer line of acidity which will ease with more time in the bottle. Wonderfully alive, memorable and a breathtaking wine. Wow! Served in Zalto Bordeaux glassware." Drink now to 2026
£24.95 per bottle
or £22.95 in cases of 6 or more
Muddy Water Hare's Breath Pinot Noir 2013
96 Points - Bob Campbell "Attractively scented pinot noir with cherry, violet, cassis, fresh herb and subtle chalk-mineral flavours. A bright, fresh, high-energy wine with a backbone of fruity acidity that helps drive a lengthy finish. Delicious now but shows potential."
£35.95 per bottle
Muddy Water Slowhand Pinot Noir 2013
95 Points - Bob Campbell "Made from grapes organically grown on the oldest blocks (planted in 1993). Mellow, integrated pinot noir with savoury, 'forest floor' bottle-aged characters adding extra complexity to bright plum, cherry, floral and spicy oak flavours."
£36.95 per bottle
Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2015
Stuart McCloskey "Without doubt, the best new world Riesling I've tasted."
James Suckling.com "A very powerful and essence-like expression of pickled lime, preserved lemon and baked peach fruits. The structure is impeccably judged, reining in massive amounts of flavor perfectly."
£20.50 per bottle
Pegasus Bay Riesling 2016
93 Points - James Suckling
"Ripe lime and lemon fruits with some candied glacé citrus are cast across flinty and stony aromas. The palate has a long, fluid build of concentrated citrus and stone fruit flavours. Terrific depth. Drink now. Screw cap."
£19.50 per bottle
Pegasus Bay Riesling 2007
The aromas and flavours invoke impressions of ripe stone fruits, such as nectarines and peaches, supported by hints of tropical spices, passionfruit and lycees. There is a backbone of tangy lime- and lemon-like citrus fruits which add a zesty “nervosity”. It has a spine of minerality and crisp acidity which keep it tight-knit and focussed, drying out its lingering after-taste.
£25.00 per bottle
Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2017
96 Points - James Suckling "Impressive, vibrant and flinty white-peach and grapefruit aromas with an array of fresh, spicy, hazelnut-tinged oak. The palate combines a lot of ripe melon and white peaches with smoky, grilled nuts. Great wine that’s packed with interest. Drink now. Screw cap."
£22.95 per bottle
Pinot Noir 2015
96 Points - James Suckling "Super vibrant with plenty of earthy forest floor aromas as well as toasted spices. The palate reveals a core of pristine dark cherry fruit flavor, beautifully judged ripe tannins and a level of effortless depth that singles this out as a consistently great New Zealand pinot noir. Drink now. Screw cap."
£25.50 per bottle
Pegasus Bay Prima
Donna Pinot Noir 2013
96 Points - James Suckling "The refinement and brilliance of the fruit on offer here really sets this wine apart from the regular Pegasus Bay pinot noir. Deliciously rich dark cherry aromas and flavors are presented amid silky, refined and long-form tannins. A great wine, in every respect. Drink now. Screw cap."
£45.95 per bottle
Villa Maria Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc 2018
97 Points - Decanter "With its fresh, sappy, crushed-spring-leaf aromas and limpid, long, vinous yet tender flavour profile, this is great Sauvignon from an outstanding site rather than one of the overt or flamboyant Marlborough Sauvignons that drinkers have become used to (and often bored by). It's charming too, with its whispered sweet-pea floral notes. Pretty and distracting enough to serve on its own on a warm afternoon, but with all the structure and sap to accompany food well, too. Marlborough is moving on.
£15.20 per bottle
Villa Maria Ngakirikiri
Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
100 Points - Sam Kim (Wine Orbit) "Is this perfection? No, it is better than that, if that is possible. The wine is perfectly formed and composed, and is very proper, but it offers more. Exceptional concentration, brilliant structure, impressive fruit purity and layers of delicious flavours with seamless mouthfeel make this stunning wine thought-provoking and sensually awe-inspiring. This predominantly cabernet sauvignon from their Ngakirikiri vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels district exhibits cassis, plum, floral and cedar characters with subtle cigar box, vanilla and game complexity. Powerful and graceful at the same time with plenty of fine, chalky tannins."
£82.50 per bottle
Pinot Noir 2013
99 Points – Bob Campbell "Ripe, dense and fairly deep-coloured Pinot Noir with dark-fleshed plum, dark cherry, violet and liquorice flavours plus a hint of rhubarb on the aroma. Clearly a very complex wine that won’t reveal its full potential for a few years yet. I particularly like the wine’s silken texture and almost chewy body. It must surely rate as one of Dry River’s best ever Pinot Noir vintages."
£58.95 per bottle
95 Points – Bob Campbell
"Unusually rich, fleshy Chardonnay in a mouth-filling and accessible style that makes a change from the rather more steely wine I expect under this label. Quite oaky with ginger, ripe peach, tree fruits and a hint of honey. A real surprise."
£41.95 per bottle