Dry River, as one of the four founding wineries of Martinborough, are something of a New Zealand legend. From the outset over 30 years ago they dared to dry-grow vineyards with microscopic yields in order to produce characterful, concentrated wines built to age. A brave enough concept for a New Zealand winery even now, let alone in 1979 when the first vineyards were planted. Despite their iconic status, the wines are somewhat elusive. The fact that very little is produced together with Dry River's longstanding mailing list of local private individuals, mean that not much of it leaves New Zealand.
Following the retirement of founder Dr Neil McCalum, Wilco Lam, who after 5 years of being part of the winemaking team at Dry River, carries the torch as of 2013. The style remains unerringly European, based on character and drinkability rather than upfront flavours, whilst being truly reflective of variety and vintage. The current release is 2013, a very successful year that has resulted in tense, lively wines that are as clearly defined and incisive as they come.
Dry River on 2013 -
“What made this summer a little different was the number of fine days which corresponds to increased light intensity and therefore phenolic ripeness. We didn't have many hot days over 30°C, and when it rained, it was heavy and localised. The growing season was relatively straight forward for the vineyard crew after the challenges of 2012. Canopy growth was not excessive and all vineyard operations were completed in a timely and logical fashion. Cropping levels were also considered normal this vintage with a figure of 1.5 tonnes/ acre averaged across all varieties and over our three vineyards. Coupled with the season this crop was appropriate and facilitated the phenolic ripeness, at low potential alcohol levels, that we seek from Dry River fruit.”