Dry River took its simple but evocative name from an historic sheep station that used to exist a few kilometres away on the dry, wandering river plains between Martinborough and lake Wairarapa. Planted by the visionary Neil and Dawn McCallum in 1979 - a good few years ahead of ‘old hand’ Alan Limmer in Gimblett Gravels - Dry River were not only ahead of the curve but can these days speak meaningfully about the old vine presence and impact on the estate’s production. With an approach and culture that feels quite European, Dry River are interested in sustainability and minimal intervention - especially in the winery - but always with a reasoned eye for what is pragmatic and particular to their terroir. Eschewing the Kiwi obsession with varietal flavour-making and wines to drink now, Dry River focus their impressive resources on the simple but complex task of producing and preserving true physiological ripeness, in this way making wines of extreme quality and balance that are often approachable young but reach their true expression after some years in cellar.
What The Critics Say
95/100 Bob Campbell
"Like all Dry River wines, this has concentrated flavours and a rich, mouth-filling texture. Strong citrus, lime zest, apricot, white rose and chalky mineral flavours supported by a thread of lively acidity. Youthful, though approachable Riesling that promises to age well."
5 Stars Michael Cooper
One of the finest Rieslings in the country, this is typically a wine of exceptional purity, delicacy and depth, with a proven ability to flourish in the cellar for many years. The grapes are sourced from a small block of mature vines, mostly over 20 years old, in the Craighall Vineyard, with yields limited to an average of 6 tonnes per hectare, and the wine is stop-fermented just short of dryness. The 2015 vintage (5*) is full-bodied, with deep, citrusy, peachy, slightly limey and biscuity flavours, that build across the palate to a very harmonious and lasting finish. Not at all austere, it's already very expressive, but well worth cellaring.
19.0-/20 Raymond Chan
Bright straw-yellow colour with pale golden hues, lighter on rim. The nose is soft, refined and elegantly proportioned with aromas of white florals and limes, unveiling subtle acacia and jasmine florals, honeysuckle and mouthwatering mineral detail. The aromatics are beautifully integrated, with a pure and refined heart. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate features a tight, refined and firm core of thirst-quenching flavours of limes, lemonade, white florals, honeysuckle and minerals. The fruit flows along a fine, dry, textural line and grows in intensity, concentration and phenolic structure. Refined, lively, lacy acidity lends energy and drive and enhances the mouthwatering palate. The textural line carries the flavours to a firmly bound, long and sustained finish of limes, minerals and honeysuckle. This is a firm, concentrated, finely structured dry Riesling with lime, floral and mineral flavours. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood over the next 6-7 years. Clean fruit from 3 picks from ‘Craighall Blocks 5 and 6’, from vines planted in the late 1980s, fermented in stainless-steel to 12.5% alc. and 4.5 g/L RS, TA ~8g/L and pH 2.9, the wine aged 6 months on lees. 19.0-/20 Dec
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