Dry River’s new releases

Dry River Chief Winemaker Wilco Lam in the vineyards. (Photo: Dry River Wines)

When Wellington retailer, Regional Wines, put together a list of iconic New Zealand wines they included “any wine by Dry River.” That was a few years ago when Dry River led the way with their distinctive style of winemaking and very clever marketing. Greater competition rather than a slip in standards probably invalidates that claim, although Dry River continues to make very good wines as these recent releases testify.

The Dry River Lovat Vineyard Botrytis Bunch Selection Gewürztraminer 2018 was my favourite new release.

Dry River wines are mostly sold direct by mail order, although limited quantities are available through fine wine retailers such as Caro’s in Auckland and Regional Wines in Wellington.

The Dry River Lovat Vineyard Botrytis Bunch Selection Gewürztraminer 2018 was my favourite new release. This luscious wine has terrific concentration with layers of exotic floral, spice and fruit flavours. It achieves a wonderful balance with great acidity preventing any suggestion of cloying. I’d like to see the wine in a 375ml bottle, although I can’t recall Dry River ever releasing wine in a half-bottle. Perhaps 375ml bottles that match the distinctive “nobby neck” of their 750ml bottle are unavailable? (NZD $65)

Dry River’s Chardonnay 2017 shows typical concentration and nerviness, with perhaps a little more struck flint reductive character than usual. I love it more for what it will be than for what it is. (NZD $60)

The Dry River Lovat Vineyard Syrah 2015 is another wine that deserves to be tucked away in the cool, dark corner of a cellar for at least a few years. I found it quite structured and a little closed at this stage, but will probably regret not giving it a higher score when I re-taste the wine in a few years. It’s a bold, dense wine with plenty of floral and pepper notes adding extra interest to dark berry flavours. (NZD $70)

Finally, a new label called Dry River The Twelve Spies 2017. It’s an unusual blend of pinot noir, tempranillo, syrah and viognier. Lighter and suppler than the syrah with a tempting array of flavours some of which are locked in by firm, sappy tannins. I recommend a drinking window of around six years from vintage, but that might prove to be too conservative. (NZD $70)

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