(2019) In June 2019 Champagne Devaux's Cellar Master, Michel Parisot, presented a masterclass on the 'D de Devaux' range of wines to a sell-out audience at my Glasgow Festival of Wine. Each wine in this range is aged for a minimum of five years on the lees - seven years for magnums - including this Brut, disgorged in October 2017. A blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, it shows plenty of yeasty, biscuity autolysis, and a fat lemony fruit character beneath. Perhaps the 35% of reserve wines, aged mostly in large oak casks, helps with the creaminess and the hint of gold to the colour. In the mouth plenty of ripe, rosy apple and peachy fruit, a fine, bitter edge of grapefruit or Seville orange to the acidity, and the 8g/l dosage meaning this finishes with some fruit sweetness against an element of salty minerals.
(2019) Fruit is sourced from the cool Elgin, Darling and Cape Agulhas regions and a proportion matured in 500-litre new and used oak for around nine months. The green bean note is apparent, giving a certain oiliness, a background that is quite toasty, then bursts with sweet, ripe fruit on the palate. Full-textured and ripe, with a touch of sherbet, lime freshness, and a certain succulence. Good acid, and a big, I guess rather showy, but excellent expression.
(2019) Part tank, part barrel-fermented in large wooden vats. From 2018, amphorae will replace the large vat component. On the lees with batonnage for nine months, from low yielding bush vines in Darling, Paarl and Wellington. Creamy, a touch figgy, a little bit of Seville orange or marmalade, the sweet fruit on the palate is very juicy, like nectarine and very ripe pear, a touch of oatmeal rounding out the finish. Price and stockist at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2019) All five Bordeaux grapes, led by 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot. 24 months in French oak - with 5% American. Slightly resinous note on the nose, spicy, a touch of lift - peppery - and has a ripeness and juiciness, not just black fruit, but a bit of Summer pudding sweetness and nice plush tannins, finishing on good acids. Stockist and price at time of review is for an earlier vintage.
(2019) Partly fermented as whole bunches. Meaty, earthy, a deeply coloured and hued wine, with gravelly touches to blue-black fruit aromas then that typical Grenache nuttiness, like peanut shell dryness, a touch of perfumed herbs. The palate if firm and very juicy, edged with a chicory bite of bittersweetness. Long and grippy finish, tannins begin to nip and give structure.
(2019) The neckband of all of the ‘D’ non-vintage wines states "Aged 5 years," a considerably longer period than most Champagnes, especially rosé wines, that tend to forsake some of the yeasty development in favour of fruitiness. This blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is also a low dosage Brut, with 8g/l of residual sugar. It retains delicacy, though there is a meaty, earthy character with small red fruit notes, a touch of redcurrant, but a shimmering lemony freshness. The palate is driven by the red fruits, but the time on the lees comes through giving this a more complex layering of flavour, some umami and salts, and a lovely acid freshness. An excellent rosé Champagne. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2018) A lowly 6g/l dosage for this Blanc de Noirs made from 100% Pinot Noir - which, under Cava regulations, was not allowed until very recently. Aged at least 36 months it has a fairly deep colour with a glint of copper, with a lovely complex nose, certainly some autolysis here, lots of creaminess and a touch of biscuit. The palate has a hint of waxiness and herbs, lime skins and plenty of complexity, hinting at herbs but lemony fresh.
(2017) The reserve has a higher percentage of Awatre fruit, and comes from the best vineyards, "and the same plots every year," according to Hugh. A rich, figgy character, with more orange and more of an asparagus lift, but a lovely racing palate, loads of lime and citrus Awatare purity and zip.
(2017) Only five barrels of this were produced. All red wines from 'Reserve' level upward are from Gimblett Gravels fruit, in this case two specific vineyards. It spends 20 months in French oak and is “Made like a Pinot Noir,” according to Hugh, hand-plunged, with a fair bit of post-ferment maceration for up to 40 days in total before pressing. "That gives plenty of tannin, but finer," says Hugh. A rounded, quite plush and compact nose, tight black and blue fruits, there’s a rich damson and graphite nose, an earthiness, not peppery but has a little floral lift. The palate has a cloak of dustiness, a really savoury meaty character, the tannins soft but present and the acidity giving it a long, tapering finish.