Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013

Dry River Wines is gearing up for its significant 30th release in 2015. Established by Neil and Dawn McCallum in 1979, and originally planting Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, the first bottlings of these in 1984, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Viognier and more recently Tempranillo have been added to the range. The vineyard and winery were sold to Julian Robertson and Reg Oliver in 2003, and Neil stayed on as chief winemaker until his retirement in 2011. Julian Robertson remains Dry River’s owner with winemaker Wilco Lam in charge of the business, supported by business manager Heather Gibbs and consultant Ant Mackenzie.

11.5 ha of vineyards are farmed, the fruit sources being the home ‘Dry River’ estate, the ‘Craighall’ vineyard and the ‘Lovat’ vineyard, with vines 20-30+ y.o. The Dry River philosophy is one of ‘farming phenolic ripeness’ utilising old vines, low yields, with no irrigation to produce wines of "modest alcohol levels that reflect the site and vintage”. Dry River adheres to sustainability and care for the site and environment, having eliminated the use of all systemic agrichemicals. The winemaking is gentle and low intervention, with low levels of new oak and early bottling under natural cork. The wines develop well and with longevity. Dry River sees itself as a "classic and timeless producer”, "an understated company with a focussed presence in the fine wine sector”.

I’m aware that Wilco, Heather and Ant are thinking deeply about Dry River’s future in a marketplace that is becoming more crowded than ever. They are adamant that Dry River should not follow fashions and trends, but are always open to beneficial innovation and change that will enhance the Dry River philosophy and style. They also see the importance of communication and transparency between them and their clientele, and these are keys to the future sustainability and progress of Dry River.

Here, I preview the Dry River Pinot Noir 2013 which will be made available to the market in the ‘Autumn Release’ in March 2015. www.dryriver.co.nz


  • Dry River Martinborough Pinot Noir 2013

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