The cycle of renewal begins - Bud Burst has started in Martinborough, the indication that the vines are waking from their winter slumber and the delicate shoots start unfurling. It's an important time for the vineyard, usually occuring when the average daily temperatures are above 10C. It's a time for vigilance too, as this early in the season there is a danger of frost, and damage at this time of year can stunt the amount of fruit later in the season. Cue the wind machines and smoke braziers last weekend to minimise the risk. A few weeks from now these shoots will be rapidly growing up to 3cm a day.
With a new season comes a new producer on our doorstep. "Devotus" is the new kid on the block, Don McConachy and wife Valerie snaffled 4 hectares of prime property - planted with well established Pinot Noir vines. Their nextdoor neighbours include esteemed original stalwarts Ata Rangi and Dry River, in fact the vines were originally established by Dry River. Don has split the vineyard into two distinct sites, the older vines will produce tiny amounts of Reserve Pinot Noir. The Estate Pinot Noir is fully organic, plenty of Abel and Dijon clones - 40% whole bunch with no fining or filtering makes this big boned and masculine in style. Earthy and rich with the stony soils very evident, making an interesting counterpoint to the more feminine styles of Pinot Noir. Wineseeker will be the only Wellington stockists, and it'll be half the price of the Dry River that these wines used to produce. With only 142 cases produced (and half of these already spoken for) ... Watch out for these ones, a rock-star wine in the making.