"I had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of your Pinot Noir with my good friends, and I fell in love! Where has this Pinot been all my life!"
Who needs a critic when you have committed followers such as Sarah from Tauranga (North Island, New Zealand)?
Devotus is the first wine venture of Don McConachy and Valerie Worsdale who upon returning to New Zealand in 2013 purchased the established vineyard with 2 hectares of old Pinot Noir vines planted originally by Neil McCallum of Dry River. The vineyard is in the heart of the Martinborough Terrace, directly next door to Dry River.
We asked Don what was the main inspiration behind creating Devotus?
For me, growing premium Pinot Noir is a combination of farming and science and I have a lifelong love of both! Ultimately I wanted to do something better than good, it needed to be something that totally rocks. There was no point in making just another wine, there was no challenge in that. I wanted to create a wine that would actually inspire and make people think.
You won The Vinorium over as we were inspired by your thought provoking wines and we respect your desire to create something rather special, but why Pinot Noir?
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.
We were keen to hear, in Don’s own words, what sets Devotus aside from other New Zealand producers?
“We are small with only 2 Hectares of vines. We have old vines, some of the earliest planted Pinot Noir vines in NZ. We are family owned and do all the work ourselves. We farm our own vineyard with a desire for perfection and we don’t buy in grapes from other vineyards. We are not distracted with “hospitality” and we don’t have a tasting room, cellar door, or café on our vineyard. We have an obsession with wine quality. We grow only Pinot Noir, nothing else. We don’t irrigate our vines, accepting highly concentrated grapes in preference to bigger yields. We cultivate our vineyard, growing crops of oats, clover, peas, barley and lupin between the vines, which are then ploughed back into the soil to provide organic nutrition for the vines. We teach our young children about the importance of respecting our soil. We have a long term vision”
Painstaking labelling and individually numbering each and every bottle by hand.
Barring selling out before the wine is even bottled, what is the most accomplishing thing that rewards all your hard work and efforts?
When other winemakers, that we have great respect for, seek out and buy our wine.
Do you have any other hobby or passion which is your gateway from the everyday?
To be honest, with our vineyard and raising our 4 year boys (Mac & Zen), I find that Valerie and myself have very little free time left over for anything else!
Finally, why do you believe The Vinorium is best positioned to represent your wines in the UK?
We feel The Vinorium really understands who we are and what we are striving to achieve here. The Vinorium has a fantastic following with wine buyers who are looking to taste and collect great wines. It’s an obvious partnership for us as we can continue to focus on making great wine, while The Vinorium can connect us with the people that are looking for great wines.
Devotus Pinot Noir
18.5/20 Points - Raymond Chan
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.
Devotus Reserve Pinot Noir
18.5+/20 Points - Raymond Chan
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.