From the Dry River and Craighall vineyards, this is a bone dry Chardonnay that has not undergone any malolactic fermentation. Impeccably made and balanced, not a hair out of place, fresh lemon zest flavours with touches of orchard fruit and enough flesh and silky smoothness to make this immediately appealing. Intense without being too much. An extremely fine Chardonnay. Fermented in barrel and kept there for 9 months in large 300 and 500 litre hogsheads, 15% new oak.
The cool climate and poor soil of the Dry River bed, married with Dr Neil McCallum’s insistence on tiny yields and his utmost dedication to quality, has resulted in Dry River’s wines being recognised as New Zealand’s finest. These are handcrafted wines made in boutique quantities of 2-3,000 cases a year. The most important part of winemaking at Dry River happens prior to harvest, severe pruning and crop thinning are standard practice here, while in the cellars there is minimum human interventionl intervention. The Sauvignon Blanc is a far cry from the typical examples found in New Zealand, with the usual overt tropical flavours being exchanged for more restrained stone fruit characteristics tempered by a zesty acidity. The Craighall Riesling is a delicious late harvest wine akin to a German Spätlese in style with hints of lime zest and spice. The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay are frequently New Zealand’s most concentrated and long lived, it is recommended that you lay these down for two to three years before drinking them.
At the southern tip of the North Island sits Martinborough, are area of great terroir diversity. Numerous mall scale producers go to great lenghts in the pursuit of quality investing much of their effort in vineyard management and achieving low yields. Palliser and Dry River demonstrate just how good the wines from the region can be.