This season, with its long Indian summer, produced a wine with what we believe to be a particularly interesting future. On appearance its bright straw hue almost sparkles. Blossoms, wet river stones and an expansive medley of yellow peach and grapefruit aromas anticipate what is to follow on the palate. Powerful grapefruit, talc and a compote of other fruit flavours are sustained in a distinctly taut structure.
The name Dry River has historical significance as one of the earliest sheep stations in Wairarapa, dating back to 1877. The winery was established in 1979 by Dr Neil and Dawn McCallum who sold it to Julien Robertson and Reg Oliver in 2003, Neil remaining as the chief winemaker until he retired in 2011. The vineyards are planted on the Martinborough township border on very arid soils of free draining gravel, a site that had been identified by a friend and soil scientist Dr Derek Milne as having a 30 years record for the lowest rainfall on New Zealand’s north island. This area was limited to a 5 Kilometre radius with the deep, free draining, gravel soils being restricted to an even smaller part of this. By 1986, there were five wineries operating within this tiny, crescent shaped area of land which lay along the edge of the river terrace formed by the Ruamahunga and the Huangarua rivers around 20,000 years ago. The five wineries decided they would like to define and demarcate the terroir with an expectation that the wines produced from here would show similarities in character and a uniqueness that reflects the terroir. From 1986, wines made from within region were given a seal of origin by the Martinborough Winemakers Association and in 1991 was given its own appellation, The Martinborough Terrace Appellation to distinguish it from the other terroirs that were being explored.
Read our Q&A with Wilco Lam of Dry River Wines
"At the Southern tip of the North Island and a sub-region of Wairarapa is Martinborough. Known for it’s boutique style of winery, Martinborough’s production is dominated by Pinot Noir characterised by its balance between elegance and intensity"
At the Southern tip of the North Island and a sub-region of Wairarapa is Martinborough. Known for it’s boutique style of winery, Martinborough’s production is dominated by Pinot Noir characterised by its balance between elegance and intensity, evident in the wines of Devotus. As well as Pinot Noir, plantings of several other varieties that reach their full potential in Martinborough’s climate are also found including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Viognier and Syrah, producers like Dry River are a great example of the quality these varieties can reach. Martinborough has a semi-maritime climate with coastal breezes coming from the east and shelter within the rain shadow of the Tararua Ranges resulting in a cool, dry climate.
Riedel Veritas Riesling / Zinfandel (2 Glasses)
Enjoy your favourite wine the way it was meant to taste with these wonderful lead crystal creations from Riedel, which are shaped according to the character of the wine in order to enhance its rich, aromatic flavours.
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