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Neil McCallum is one of the Martinborough wine region pioneers planting his vineyards on the free-draining gravelly terrace in the Wairarapa in 1979. Dry River quickly established a reputation as one of the finest producers in the country producing Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Viognier, Syrah and Pinot Noir. McCallum retired in 2011 and the winemaking duties have been taken over by Wilco Lamb with Robert Willis and his team tending the vines. The vision of Neil McCallum is in good hands and Dry River continues to be one of New Zealand's most sought after wines.

Blood red with a vibrant purple hue that suggest brooding intensity and tightly bound flavours. Aromatically this Syrah is cool climate with its perfume of violets, black pepper and cinnamon spice. Adding to these flavours is a strong mineral streak, best described as summer rain on a gravel road, which we see as a mark of interest and complexity. Plusher notes of milk chocolate give the wine a degree of openness and comfort. The palate is mid-weight but with an extra degree of concentration from the quality of the harvest. The extra time in bottle before release has softened the tannins slightly but don’t be fooled by the underlying power of them, and therefore cellaring potential, of this wine. We have designated this wine ‘Amaranth’ because we expect this wine to develop wonderful interest in the cellar.

Dark, deep, purple-hued ruby-red colour. The nose is very full and voluminous with aromas of ripe black and red berry fruit at the core, with black pepper, spice notes and a beautiful array of floral aromatics that blossoms in the glass. On palate very concentrated with succulently sweet and ripe black fruits, lifted by a floral bloom. This has an exoticism, with spicy nuances integrated with the fruit. The fruit opulence is checked by considerable tannin extraction, all fine-grained and flowery in texture. The balance is impeccable and varietal precision is present. The wine is indeed a textural one rather than a fruit bomb. A superb expression of Syrah that will live a decade plus. Rating: 19.5-/20.0 Raymond Chan


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