Dry River’s Chardonnays are arguably the unsung heroes of the portfolio. The Dry River Chardonnay 2011 is indeed a cracker. 13.5% alc., fermented and aged 9 months in 350 L barrels, 20% new. An amalgam of fine, ripe citrussy fruits with mealy complexities and subtle oaking. The palate is geared for bottle development, with racy, fine acidity and flavours that slowly build, finishing with a burst of spiciness, showing how oak can feature with beauty. The Dry River ‘Lovat’ Syrah 2010 at 12.3% alc. is an elegant rendition of the variety. Quite complex with savoury spices and pepper, some reduction characters on nose and palate that meld into Syrah fruit. A fine-textured, but firm wine, I’d like to see this with time for all the components to integrate.
The final wine tasted at the release was the Dry River ‘Bunch Selection’ ‘Lovat’ Gewurztraminer 2011. At 10.4% alc., and around 150 g/L rs, plus around 80% botrytis-affected fruit, this has the figures that suggest an over-the-top sweetie. This is not the case. Orange golden hues, this has a softness to its exoticism and restrained opulence, the aromas seeming to be more in the raisiny spectrum rather than full-on botrytis. Sweet to taste, the varietal spice is gentle and late-harvest raisin and caramel is more apparent. Rich, but not lusciously so, and suggesting if not tending dry on finish. This looks to be a more forward style.
These wines have just been released and are usually sold quickly to the mail order customers. A small amount makes it into traditional retail and restaurants. My advice is to get them sooner than later. I’ll be reviewing these wines more fully in the near future, so do keep an eye out for my article on this website. To find out more about Dry River, go to www.dryriver.co.nz