Dry River 2017 Spring Releases

At the start of the month, Dry River held their Spring Release tasting along with a Re-corking Clinic at the winery in Martinborough. I attended the event, and saw the re-corking process and had a quick tasting of the wines (click here to see my report). Winemaker Wilco Lam sends the wines of each release to me for a more detailed look as ‘Feature Reviews’, so that I can taste the wines in more controlled conditions. My comments and scores at the Release tasting don’t differ too much to what I finally end up with as ’Feature Reviews’ but I do see more detail, and occasionally make minor adjustments, which can make a difference in understanding the wines properly.

The 2017 Spring Release was composed of only three wines, but they are significant ones. The 2016 Chardonnay is the beginning of Wilco’s intent to build in more texture and complexity in a style that has been historically lighter, more floral/aromatic and more delicate. This older style had beauty, but Wilco believes the Chardonnay consumer is looking for greater interest and layers in the wine. The more complex, but elegant Chardonnay styles that are prevalent today seem to be entwined with the return to favour of the variety.

Tempranillo is the newest variety for Dry River, the vines in the ‘Craighall’ vineyard first yielding a commercial crop in 2011. The initial bottlings have varied widely in style, reflecting the diverse growing seasons. The 2015 shows the potential, as indicated in the 2013 wine, also from a favourable year, that this variety has, in a cooler climate than its Spanish homeland.

Wilco and consultant Ant Mackenzie created a new style ‘Craighall’ Riesling with the 2014 vintage by combining a drier ferment with a sweeter, late-harvest component, making the ‘Selection Riesling’. The wine saw immediate acceptance. The 2017 comes from a more challenging vintage, with considerably more botrytis. Is it true to the style as originally created? My reviews for the three wines follow. www.dryriver.co.nz


  • Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2016
  • Dry River ‘Craighall’ Martinborough Tempranillo 2015
  • Dry River ‘Craighall’ ‘Selection’ Martinborough Riesling 2017

Latest wine reviews, news, events and more. 🍷
We respect your privacy.