Dry River Martinborough 2017 Chardonnay, ‘The Twelve Spies’, 2015 Syrah and 2018 Botrytis Gewurztraminer


It has been very comforting to know that the icon Dry River winery in Martinborough has been making advances since Wilco Lam took over the stewardship. It is from the 2013 vintage that Wilco has overseen the complete production from vine to bottle. Since that time, Wilco and the Martinborough vignoble has experience considerable vintage variations, challenging the growing and making of wine in the more difficult years, but yielding magnificent wines in the benevolent seasons. In my tastings of the wines, mainly at the mail order releases over the past year, I have been very impressed with the detail, care and thought that Wilco has taken into in making the wines and indeed adding to their sophistication and quality.

Here, I review four new releases: the 2017 Chardonnay which incorporates a little more solids and lees work to build up the textures; and a new 2017 ‘The Twelve Spies’ red blend of Pinot Noir, Tempranillo and Syrah with a touch of Viognier. This wine includes new drought-tolerant Pinot Noir propagated material taken from estate cuttings, investigating the role of Tempranillo in blending and the use of the strongly expressed Syrah variety. The name comes from the original Dry River image used by founder Neil McCallum referring to ‘The Twelve Spies of Canaan’, "a biblical story of perseverance and conquest against the odds”. Also there are two wines from the ‘Lovat’ vineyard, the 2015 Syrah, from an excellent vintage, and a 2018 Botrytis Bunch Selection Gewurztraminer with fully botrytised fruit, the previous releases of this style in 2011, 2009 and 2004. www.dryriver.co.nz


  • Dry River Martinborough Chardonnay 2017
  • Dry River ‘The Twelve Spies’ Martinborough 2017
  • Dry River ‘Lovat’ Martinborough Syrah 2015
  • Dry River ‘Lovat’ Martinborough Gewurztraminer Botrytis Bunch Selection 2018

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