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.
The 2013 vintage was heralded by some as the vintage of the century. We would have to agree, the 2013 season did produce a Pinot noir of great depth, texture and profundity.
We often see with our Pinot noir that the vineyard has supplied this wine with a deep purple colour. Although colour is not necessarily an indication of quality, its intensity is a magnificent and seductive feature. The nose brings an ample array of aromas and soft oak tones. The usual Dry River aromas of Christmas spice, pipe tobacco and plum are all in attendance. Initially this wine seems savoury, dark and brooding but elegant red berry and raspberry characters are not to be missed. This tension between dark and light, spice and fruit, opulence and restraint is a result of the blend of the three vineyards, Dry River, Craighall and Lovat with all three contributing their specific vineyard characteristics to the final wine. The juicy, sappy and dense fruit fills out the palate providing a full and fleshy mouth-feel. The acidity provides focus and a thoroughfare for the wine towards the back with a dapple of oak influence for support and additional complexity. While transparent tannins are no hindrance to the front palate, the soft nature of this wine is not to be misjudged. This subtle palate texture contributes to overall structure and will require adequate time to mature. We envisage this wine will be of renewed interest within three to five years and reach full maturity after eight to ten years.
Ripe, dense and fairly deep-coloured Pinot Noir with dark-fleshed plum, dark cherry, violet and liquorice flavours plus a hint of rhubarb on the aroma. Clearly a very complex wine that won’t reveal its full potential for a few years yet. I particularly like the wine’s silken texture and almost chewy body. It must surely rate as one of Dry River’s best ever Pinot Noir vintages. Rating: 99 Points Bob Campbell; Master of Wine
Very dark, black-red colour, full, deep and dense. The nose is packed with layers of ripe dark red and black berry fruits, a full array, with subtle complexing layers of interest and detail that unfold in volume. This has density and is quite complete. Medium-full bodied, the richness and sweetness of ripe fruit is the feature. Dark red berry and plums, black fruits, hints of savoury herbs and spices. Lush on palate with concentration, fullness and depth, yet not overbearing. Supple, but substantial structure. This has immense presence, but retains florality. This will develop over a decade. Rating: 19.0+/20.0; Raymond Chan
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