Dry River 2017 Annual Magazine


The 2017 Dry River annual magazine is republished here in e-format for your ease. It features articles, wine tasting notes, reviews, recipes and more! Enjoy.











Tasting Notes.....................................3

Reviews .............................................6

Musings ............................................8

Dry River Profiles ............................14

Cellaring Guide ...............................16

The effect of cellaring

conditions on your wine...................17

Our Location ..................................20

DR Wines Ltd

PO Box 72, Martinborough 5741

New Zealand

PHONE 06 306 9388


ENQUIRIES: sue@dryriver.co.nz

SALES: sarah@dryriver.co.nz

WINEMAKING: wilco@dryriver.co.nz


Design - Goodeye Limited

Photography - Mike Heydon

Can we relate to a Kingdom incomparable to our own, and accept it as our equal?

To colonise and shape this to our own specifications, whilst defaming its innermost

purpose seems to answer this question and has become a fundamental principle

to modern day farming. For the natural and vegetative world magic, the sense of

wonder and romance do not have a place here anymore. Or do they?

Winegrowing regions around the world have become popular tourist destinations.

The romantic appeal of the lifestyle with the surrounding areas of the village planted

in neatly organised rows of vines sunbathing their grapes in a bounty of sunlight,

all magnifies this veil. The chemistry created between this phenomenon and the

observer gives rise to a sense of romance and wonder, since this is a place where

a (super) natural force is at work. It is where the magic happens; the birthplace of

a wine. But there is no sight of an old man with a tall hat and a long, grey beard.

Merely a paddock, cultivated with plants, the elements at work and an audience;

the winemaker. Then who is responsible for this magic?

The previous statement implies that a certain power from a person is removed

and passed on to another entity. When authority is granted to plants, or vines to

determine their own outcome, it shows an absolute respect to this world. And if we

look close enough, we can see the wizard operating, personified in each individual

plant. Driving past the vineyards on a leisurely cruise, we can’t hear the plant’s

pleasure or pain, nor see their movements. However, we can understand their hard

labour, sweat and tears devoted to our pleasure, only if we are willing to see it.

In my eyes, for many wine enthusiasts the experience of the magic and

wonder lie in the revelation of “the Prestige”, the final part of a great magic trick

after the ordinary is transformed into something extraordinary; the wine itself.

Magic or science, a deep fascination and respect for the mechanisms and purpose of

the biology within our vegetative kingdom, are the foundations of this brochure.

Wilco and the team at Dry River Wines




Writing a story is an arduous task, it requires careful planning and demands devotion. Whether to follow or break the rules,

or to deviate from the path set out, the author is in control. Winegrowing is a script created with a co-author, in this case the

Winemaker. It is a story which can last for many years to unfold and to unveil its many layers. With such a powerful partner,

there is no control, merely rigid planning and anticipation can prepare one for the outcome of a year in the vineyard. So far,

the 2016 wines show promising intricate texture with abundant varietal expression.

Timing of budburst was in keeping with the long term average, where flowering and véraison occurred in a similar

timely manner. After a mild spring with no noteworthy frost events, summer introduced itself with warm and calm weather.

The lowest rainfall over the last 10 years was recorded for the growing season, with heat summation uniformly distributed

and above the well praised 2013 vintage. Work in the vineyard was focussed on creating an optimal environment for fruit

to express the benign conditions. Harvest commenced in March with Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Riesling were in quick

succesion. The long Indian summer stretched harvest out, with Pinot gris, Gewurztraminer and Syrah picked early May, and

our last component of Riesling on 30th May.



For us at Dry River, blending of our Pinot noir is

a relatively straight forward event. We produce no

second tier label, all our barrels are destined for

one wine: Dry River Martinborough Pinot noir.

This certainly brings pressure to the winegrowing

and - making, balanced with a good dose of

excitement. Our anticipation culminates when the

wine is racked from barrel to tank and prepared for

the final blend!

Crimson red with a fluorescent purple rim,

as we often see in a young Dry River Pinot noir.

The fragrant nose reveals cherry blossoms and

violets, where blackcurrant and raspberry are

indicative of the youthful character of the wine.

Lightly spiced, with crushed dried leaves and

perhaps some lifted cardamom pod bring welcome

nuances to the aromatics. Chocolate hazelnut

praline compliments the ripe fruit and pays tribute

to the French oak maturation.

The low yields and extended water stress in

mid-season allowed for high sunlight exposure

with a low amount of leaf numbers. This retards

sugar accumulation and potential alcohol, where

tannin formation and ripening are enhanced.

Considered the low cropping level, contrary to

expectation, the fruit versus tannin ratio is well

balanced and without excess. Elegant, chalky

tannins are dispersed over the palate, stretching

the wine broad. They are matched with dense and

concentrated fruit, mainly visible on the middle of

the palate. The retention of whole-berry clusters

in the fermentation process is to bring ‘freshness’

of fruit to compliment the ripe plum, cassia bark

and familiar Christmas spice flavours. To finish,

the longevity of the palate is achieved with finely

textured oak tannins in combination with a soft

and suppressed acidity that lies underneath, acting

as a lace to tie the wine together. We expect this

wine to evolve for five to seven years to reach

optimal maturity.



For us at Dry River Pinot gris is a variety we believe

benefits from a late harvest. We strive to hang this

fruit deep into autumn in order to be rewarded

with a wide array of aromas and an intricate

texture, without the need for winemaker artefact.

This season, Pinot gris, was about patience and

the blessing of friendly weather. Eventually it was

picked in three stages, the last in late April, with

ample shrivel and concentration.

It is initially a bit shy, which is to be expected

of a young wine, but progressively the complexities

start to become evident. Kiwi fruit, rock melon

and white flesh stone-fruit are the obvious fruit

aromas. We gladly welcome the stewed rhubarb

character I often saw in our past Pinot gris. Bay

leaf, ground galangal, and other Indian spices like

cardamom and caraway seed add further interest.

Candle nuts and vanilla pod bring a grounding

effect and entice to finally start tasting! The wine

appears drier than previous releases, the residual

sugar is approximately 15 g/l, which might be

thanks to the interplay with a fresh acidity and the

drying effect of the mid palate phenolics. Together

with the oily nature, an even and wide perception,

the wine is allowed to travel with little effort and

hindrance. The alcohol plays an important role by

supplying buoyancy, length and unity. We expect

this wine to improve over the next three to five

years with a further gain of interest when cellared

for longer.


Gewürztraminer to me is a wine full of contrasts.

In the vineyard the variety is co-operative, thanks

to its low demand and impeccable behaviour. It is

not until harvest time when the complex, multifacetted

personality of this wine becomes visible;

wildly aromatic when it suits, bitter when not

happy, with some age it captivates the harshest

critic and sweet because we feel it needs it to bring

the wine together.

On the nose too, the divisions are visible;

ripe, tropical, soft flesh fruits like persimmon,

papaya and rock melon are contrasted with orange

marmalade, cloves and ginger. With a small and



the attention. A long and linear finish shifts the

a sufficient alcohol level is key for an oily and warm

Tempranillo, to postpone the offer of our 2014 Syrah.

focus to the back highlighting the honey and mineral

mouthfeel, where it will also contribute to a buoyant

The colour is deep red with a ruby hue.

texture. The elongated, oval shape with precise

and seamless palate that provides weight and

First impressions of coffee, mocha, and dark chocolate

acidity will remain in place for the first five years.

roundness. A good equilibrium is achieved between

hint for a wine with high extract and ripeness.

Further evolution will highlight complex Botrytis

the residual sugar – 7 gr/L – texture and acidity

This is supported by Dorus plums, Port like characters

characters of the late harvest component of this wine.

to showcase the ripe character of Viognier, often

and cocoa powder, with cassis adding fresh appeal.

described as apricot kernel with a slight bitterness

The real benefit of the 2013 vintage lay in a very


to finish. Hints of peach schnapps, orange rind and

long autumn, allowing for perfect ripening of the

The light golden blush reflects colours of the

a bright lifted aromatic can be noted on the mid-

skins, seeds and stems before picking. This reflects

extraordinary gentle autumn we have experienced.

palate. Viognier is very approachable in its youth, but

in the tannins also; these are soft and detailed that

Hallmark apricot and white peach aromatics are

does benefit evolution for another two to four years.

widely spread over the palate intricately woven in

complimented with mineral tones, chalk and orange

with the fruit characters. Once in the mouth the

flesh. A wood like resin character with cinnamon


textural impression of the wine is that it evolves from

spice and lily blossom widens the profile without

When following the tradition of the Spanish

the middle of the palate outwards, with the acidity

losing fresh appeal.

variety, this wine would be classified as a “Reserva”;

retracting the wine back towards the mid again –

One of our aims with this wine is to capture the

one year in barrel and two years in bottle prior to

a dynamic experience.

moment of picking at full ripeness and therefore not

release. With this delay, the evolution of the tannins

Dark fruits are working simultaneously with

compromise on the purity of varietal fruit expression.

certainly benefitted by embedding them more in

the tannins creating a deep and cushion like finish.

To retain this, we therefore ferment this wine in

the general profile of the wine and improve their

Further maturation of three to five years will benefit

stainless steel tanks at cool temperatures. We believe

integration. We decided with the release of this

this wine.

early picked portion fermented in barrel and

grapefruit skin. A juicy and mouth covering acidity

a stout and broad mouthfeel whilst it spreads

aged on lees, faint floral notes and hints of vanilla

spreads and pulls the palate, initially leaving little

consistently over the palate. This remarkable

are evident. The palate is strikingly consistent

room for the underlying aromatics to be apparent.

strength subdues the acidity creating an all-round

and complete, where the lack of focus becomes

The soft nature at the front of the palate and the

experience. The ripe fruit is visible mostly on

the focal point, perhaps testament to the four

austerity of the lemon and lime suggest a timid

the back palate in the sense of white peach and

separate passes at picking time. The soft, cushion

wine. After some time in the glass Granny Smith

nectarine complemented by nougat and almonds.

like entrance is followed by a bulky, luscious and

apple, orange rind and yellow plum skin balance

We recommend to open this wine well before

textural mid palate, finished with long fresh tail.

the rectangularity with weight and roundness in

consummation, allowing time to breathe, or be

Like the texture, the fruit travels similarly over the

the middle of the palate. A light chalk powdered

sure to decant in its youth. Our Chardonnay tends

palate through different spectra; peach and nashi

texture exposes the tannins and coats the mouth

to evolve for another three to five years, but can

pear at first followed by Crème Brûlée and ginger

with a misty and seductive finish. Maximum

be cellared longer for those with patience.

and finished with lemon marmalade. Though

benefit is rewarded to those who cellar for up to

appealing as a young wine, we recommend to

restrain from opening this for another two years

and for maximum gain of interest for another five

to ten years.

seven years or longer in good cellars.



To our memory this is one of the more approachable



Our approach to ‘building’ this wine through

multiple picks came to a climax at the tail end of

the season. The last component was harvested on


The change in timing of the release of this wine

to our autumn release has given us more insight

in the development in its youthful stage. We see

this wine ‘growing up’ even within the six months

Chardonnay’s we have produced so far. The small

cropping levels we experienced did not necessarily

produce a more intense wine, on the contrary,

maturity was slowed down due to weather

induced stress. These vintage circumstances

30th of May, fully shrivelled with a large percentage

of Botrytis infection. This is not necessarily

visible in the youthful stage of the wine, however,

once further evolved it can bring spectacular and

intense aromas.


extra time it spends with us.

formed softer tannins with a more ‘open’ and

The appearance is darker and golden. Thanks

Over time the closed aromatics, flavours

friendly phenolic structure.

to the numerous picking stages, the aromatic

and structure slowly transform and open up to

A bright apple flesh colour reflects the early life

landscape is varied and abundant. Clover honey

reveal its nature. A burst of spring fruit flowers

stage of the wine. At first the creamy lees character

and rock melon are combined with, yes, raspberry,

of apple and citrus liven up the nose and are

supresses the aromatic profile of the wine and

lemon sherbet and rose petals. Juicy lime zest and

tempered by fresh ginger, kaffir lime and lemon

might be a reflection of time spent on full solids

pineapple give familiar ripe Riesling appearances

grass. Considering that the timing of picking

in barrel. With time in the glass the wine is sure

on the nose. A firm acidity is instantly recognised,

was relatively early, end of March and beginning

to show tropical fruit characters like persimmon,

encapsulating the concentrated fruit where it

of April, the interest of these characteristic Asian

pineapple and nectarines. By now almonds and

partners with 55 g/l residual sugar and creates a

aromatics suggest sufficient fruit ripeness during

brioche make their presence with coconut faintly

nervous mid-palate timbre. Though shy at first

harvest. They are further complimented with a

on the background, paying respect to the oak.

with a strong suggestion of sweetness, it is kiwi

sea salt character combined with fennel seed and

The wine carries sufficient weight forming

fruit, kumquat and Satsuma mandarin that grab




For many wine drinkers and connoisseurs both in New Zealand and internationally, Michael Cooper is known to be our

country’s most acclaimed wine writer. With a research thesis exploring political pressure groups affecting the wine industry

completed in 1977, followed by an early career in wine marketing and writing full time independent wine reviews since 1991,

Michael is deeply entrenched in the landscape of New Zealand wine. He has been recognised for his dedication, influence and

services with numerous awards, amongst which are: Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to wine writing

in 2004, and the Sir George Fistonich Medal in recognition of services to New Zealand wine in 2009. Michael has written

over 40 books on New Zealand wine, consults for Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book and the World Atlas of Wine, and is

the New Zealand editor for Australia’s Winestate Magazine. We consider his extensive knowledge and long experience vital

as a benchmark tool when reflecting on our wines. Below you will find his comments on our wine releases from last year.

These do not include the 2016 Pinot gris, Gewürtztraminer and Riesling, since they were not yet bottled at the time of his reviews.



Dark and densely flavoured, this Martinborough

red ranks among New Zealand’s greatest Pinot




From the first vintage in 1986, for many years

Dry River towered over other New Zealand Pinot

(20 grams/litre of residual sugar), balanced acidity

and a very long, peachy, spicy, harmonious finish.

Best drinking 2017+.



One of the finest Rieslings in the country, this is

typically a wine of exceptional purity, delicacy

and depth, with a proven ability to flourish in

the cellar for many years. The grapes are sourced

from a small block of mature vines, mostly over

20 years old, in the Craighall Vineyard, with yields

limited to an average of 6 tonnes per hectare, and

the wine is stop-fermented just short of dryness.

The 2015 vintage (5*) is full-bodied, with deep,

citrusy, peachy, slightly limey and biscuity flavours,

that build across the palate to a very harmonious

and lasting finish. Not at all austere, it’s already very

expressive, but well worth cellaring.



Elegance, restraint and subtle power are the key

qualities of this classic wine. It’s not a bold, upfront

style, but tight, savoury and seamless, with rich

grapefruit and nut flavours that build in the

bottle for several years. Based on low-cropping,

Mendoza-clone vines in the Craighall and Dry River

Estate vineyards, it is hand-harvested, whole-bunch

pressed and fermented in French oak barrels (with

a low percentage of new casks). The proportion

of the blend that has gone through a softening

malolactic fermentation has never exceeded 15

per cent. The 2015 vintage (5*) is a typically

elegant, fragrant, complex wine. Mouthfilling,

with a slightly biscuity, mealy bouquet, it is still

very youthful, with deep grapefruit and peach

flavours, gently seasoned with oak, balanced

acidity and a tightly structured finish. A very

ageworthy wine, it should be at its best 2018+.



From the ‘ripest parcels of fruit, picked later’, this

wine is made to ‘produce a Riesling with low

alcohol, high residual sugar and high acidity, in

order to create a tension between these components’.

The 2016 vintage (5*) has obvious potential, but is

already a delicious mouthful. Bright, light lemon/

green, it is medium-bodied (9.5 per cent alcohol),

with intense, citrusy, peachy flavours, ripe and

fresh, hints of honey and spices, gentle sweetness

(55 grams/litre residual sugar) and appetising

acidity. Best drinking 2019+.



The 2016 vintage (4.5*) is already delicious.

Handled without oak, it is a fragrant, full-bodied,

fleshy wine with rich, ripe, citrusy, peachy

flavours, a sliver of sweetness (7 grams/litre

residual sugar) and a rounded finish. A youthful,

vibrantly fruity, generous wine, it’s a drink-now or

cellaring proposition.



‘In style the wine sits between our Pinot Noir and

Syrah’, reports Dry River. Matured in seasoned

oak casks, the 2013 vintage (4.5*) is still a baby.

Deep and bright in colour, it’s a distinctly coolclimate

red, very fresh, vibrant and supple, with

blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, showing

excellent ripeness and depth. Finely textured, with

gentle tannins, it’s a strong candidate for cellaring;

open 2018+.

Noirs. It is grown in three company-owned

vineyards – Dry River Estate, Craighall and Lovat

– on the Martinborough Terrace, and most of the

vines are over 20 years old. Matured for a year in

French oak hogsheads (20–30 per cent new), it is a

slower-developing wine than other New Zealand

Pinot Noirs, but matures superbly. Revealing

great density, the deeply coloured 2015 vintage

(5*) is mouthfilling, with highly concentrated,

plummy, gently spicy flavours, well-integrated

oak (20 per cent new), and fine-grained tannins.

Almost super-charged with flavour, it should

flourish for a decade; open 2019+

Gris, by virtue of its exceptional body, flavour

richness and longevity. A sturdy Martinborough

wine, it has peachy, spicy characters that can

develop great subtlety and richness with maturity

(at around five years old for top vintages, which

also hold well for a decade). It is grown in the

estate and nearby Craighall vineyards, where the

majority of the vines are over 25 years old. To

avoid any loss of varietal flavour, it is not oak-aged.

The 2015 vintage (5*) is already delicious. Bright,

light lemon/green, it is fleshy, concentrated and

rounded, with generous, ripe stone-fruit and spice

flavours, a vague hint of honey, gentle sweetness



Grown in the Lovat Vineyard in Martinborough,

a few hundred metres down the road from the

winery, the delicious 2015 vintage (5*) is from

mature, 23-year-old vines in Martinborough.

Highly expressive in its infancy, it is pale straw, with

a fragrant, well-spiced bouquet. A mouthfilling,

medium style (20 grams/litre of residual sugar),

it has concentrated, peachy, gingery flavours,

with a vague hint of honey, distinctly spicy notes,

moderate acidity and excellent complexity. Drink

now or cellar.



When tasting a wine, the vineyard connection is often described as part of the ‘terroir’ of its place

of origin, with the soil seen as a major contributor. Not often are the honours ascribed to the vines’

capacity to adapt to the conditions it is placed in, and subsequently its ability to translate this

characteristic in the wine. When [these] external factors are partly responsible in personalising

a wine, they can only come forth as a product of the result of these elements, with plants and

their senses as the facilitator giving rise to this. With the gradual change towards a deductive and

laboratory form of plant science introduced by Descartes and Newton and a more intellectual

perspective on plants through Darwin’s influence, we have managed to remove a large part of our

wonder and amazement of the role of plants. To my opinion, we have become more desensitised to

the close relationship we require with them. For plants provide us with the air we breathe, food and

water we consume and shelter from the elements, this productive workhorse little often receives

the credit it deserves. The following musing discusses some of the extraordinary capabilities of

plant life that many of us might take for granted. It looks at commonalities and traits we would

normally ascribe only to humans or perhaps animals, which help shape the personality of a wine.




by Wilco Lam

Earlier this year I was drawn into a conversation with

Australian wine writer Mike Bennie about the Maori concept

of Tûrangawaewae, ‘the external world as a reflection of the

inner sense of security and foundation’, and how to relate

this to wine. As a Dutch immigrant, my relationship with

New Zealand has only been formed over the last 13 years,

and I can therefore not claim to relate to this concept like

many others in New Zealand can. However, I do take this

on board, and look at this concept by holding up a mirror

as an outsider to reflect this sense of place in our wines. In a

way, this echoes well on Dry River, since our wines have never

been a reflection of the mainstream. On the contrary, we are

very much positioned on the fringe, due to a set of different

beliefs regarding wine growing. Let’s examine one of these

aspects viewed through our vineyard: the plant.

Normally one doesn’t consider plants to be able to possess

senses that register and communicate outside influences,

which can reflect in their personality. Surely if plants, in this

case grapevines, reflect anything, it must be a result of human

intervention? I wondered about this after reading “The man

that mistook his wife for a hat” by Oliver Sacks. Here he

described a case of a woman experiencing the feeling of

being paralysed, without physically being paralysed. This is a

process identified as a loss of proprioception, disembodiment,

or at times also referred to as our Sixth Sense. By means of

proprioception we are aware of the position of our limbs,

relative to our body. That is why we can touch the tip of

our nose with our eyes closed. Scientists have also accepted

that plants ‘experience’ other bodily functions like humans.

They communicate, sense touch, observe colour, and wage

chemical warfare to dominate space around them. However,

it might come as a surprise that plants also experience this

proprioception; embodiment.

There is a challenge to the anthropomorphic idea for a

plant to make observations and have senses. Many will

wonder how we can relate to plants in this way for they do

not possess a central nervous system or receptors to stimulate

this in the way we, humans and animals, do. To accept that a

plant mimics human behaviour, including exhibiting a social

hierarchy, will push many boundaries. However, when we read

experts talk about wine and wine assessment, often descriptors

like “expression of terroir”, “life in a wine” and “stamina”,

only to name a few, are not shied away from. Agreed, this can

apply to the chemical make-up of the wine and the way for

example the wine responds to oxygen and temperature.

Nonetheless, the discourse certainly is personified and related

to as if the wine possesses human like qualities. When we

delve further into the assessment of human like senses in


Faun, 1905 - Henri-Edmon Cross Philippe Sauvan-Magnet


plants, it becomes more difficult to ridicule these findings.

Since plants are sessile beings, robust coping mechanisms

need to be available for them to survive, thrive and make us,

humans, dependent on them. When Charles Darwin in the

late 19th century reported in “The Power of Movement in

Plants” on light sensitivities in plants, his results were met

with disbelief and scepticism. He showed after a series of

experiments that plants have a tendency to grow towards a

light source, a response for what is explained as phototropism.

We now understand that plants have three times the amount

of photo receptors compared to humans, and have the ability

to observe UV-light in a wider spectrum than we do. It gives

them the ability to observe day versus night and changes of

the season. They will also use these receptors to trigger their

flowering parts and to grow towards the light source.

In his book “What a Plant Knows”, Professor Daniel

Chamovitz discusses the sensory system of plants. He explores

how plants excrete odours, phenolic compounds that help

attract or deter insects, but also help to communicate their

presence to other plants. Once this is observed, a specific plant

will grow towards or away from these aromas or trigger defence

mechanisms in case of an insect or pathogen attack. Equally,

underground a plant can excrete chemical compounds to fend

off other roots to occupy space to deter soil borne pathogens and

insects or connect to its neighbours. Once we can accept that

plants possess smell and vision, we can also start to comprehend

plants understand up from down by sensing gravity in cells on

the tips of their growing shoots and roots.

The English Oxford Dictionary describes the sixth sense

as “an intuitive faculty giving awareness not explicable in

terms of normal perception”. The first part would implicate

no central nervous system is required, the second part is

that perception can be in any form. If our relationship with

wine is purely from a pleasure or stress release point of view,

the above bears no meaning. However, if the relationship

with a particular wine goes beyond this, personal attributes of

a wine require a provenance of its heritage and can then be

further explored.

In my eyes, Turangawaewae expresses love for a certain

place and everything connected to it. And in order to fall

in love, a personal connection with the “subject” is required.

Since plants are sensible and autonomous beings that have

the ability to recognise and function in a social hierarchy, they

establish a relationship with the winemaker who will further

communicate this. The notion of connection to one-self or to

a community, gives rise to a sense of existence and meaning.

If disconnected and disembodied one is estranged from this

relationship. By accepting this concept, we can recognise

personification through senses and give significance to this

in our vineyards.



Book II, 354 – 419,

Care of the Vineyard

Introduction by Wilco Lam

The contrast of life more than 2000 years ago with our modern age can be described as momentous,

and is a sharp reminder of the consequences of progress and evolution within our society. As the motor that enables our

continuous existence, farming remains at the heart of this change, though sadly has become more stigmatised in recent history,

slowly being eroded of its glory. I believe it is the commodity of this industry that prompts us to distance ourselves from it.

By contrast, winegrowing has often been regarded quite differently. The romance attached to rows of vines laden with grapes that

are ultimately transformed into wine, has captivated our imagination, and enables drinkers to find their connection with one

of our most rudimentary of practices. The Roman poet Virgil, known for his epic masterpiece the Aeneid, wrote a concise set

of writings, the Georgics, with the aim to provide moral and religious advice combined with a practical instruction on selective

types of agriculture. It was written in such a way it would give delight to its readers. The romantic description in Virgil’s poem on

farming a vineyard, care for plants and soil, is a fitting addition to the theme in this brochure where he attributes

appropriate respect for the laborious demands of caring for plants. Enjoy.



Once you have set the seedlings, it remains to loosen the soil

Thoroughly at their roots, and ply the heavy hoe;

To discipline the soil with deep-pressed plough, and steer

Your straining oxen up and down the alleys of the vineyard.

Then make ready and fit smooth reeds, poles of peeled wood,

Ash stakes for the forked uprights,

Upon whose strength your vines can mount and be trained to clamber

Up the high-storied elm trees, not caring tuppence for wind.

As long as your vines are growing in first and infant leaf,

They’re delicate, need indulgence. And while the gay shoots venture

Heavenward, given their head and allowed to roam the sky,

Don’t use a knife upon them yet – a fingernail

Is enough for pruning their leaves and thinning them out in places.

But when they’ve shot up and are holding the elms in strong embrace,

Dock the leaves, lop the branches:

Till now they could not bear the steel; now you must show them

Greater severity, curbing their frisky wanton growth.

There’s hedging, too, to be done: every kind of beast you must bar,

Especially while the vine-leaf is young and inexperienced.

For, beside cruel winters and bullying suns, the woodland

Buffalo and restless hunting roedeer habitually

Make a playground there, and sheep and greedy heifers a pasture.

White frosts that stiffen all

And heat of summer that lies so heavy on scorching crags

Hurt a vineyard less than flocks with their venomous teeth

And the scars they leave on the nibbled stems will damage it.

This accounts for the sacrifice of a goat to the Wine-god

On every altar, the staging of the ancient ritual plays,

The prizes that round their hamlets and crossroads the Athenians

Gave for local talent, when they danced on the greasy wine-skins

Junketing in the meadows and jolly in their cups.

The Ausonians, too, settlers from Troy, are accustomed to hold a

Beano, their poems unpolished and unrestrained their jokes:

They wear the most hideous wooden

Masks, and address the Wine-god in jovial ditties, and hang

Wee images of the god to sway from windy pine-boughs.

Thus will every vine advance to full fruition

And valleys will teem and dells and dingles and combes deep-wooded –

Yes, wherever the Wine-god has turned his handsome head.

So let us duly pay to that god the homage we owe him

In anthems our fathers sang, in offerings of fruit and cake:

Led by the horn, let the ritual goat be stood at the altar,

And the rich meat of the sacrifice roast upon hazel spits.

Another task there is, the dressing of vines, that is never

Finished: for year by year

Three times, four times you should loosen the soil: you cannot turn

And break the clods with your hoe too often; the whole plantation’s

Load of shade must be lightened. A farmer’s work proceeds in

Cycles, as the shuttling year returns on its own track.

And now, the time when a vineyard puts off its reluctant leaves

And a bitter north wind has blown away the pride of the woodland,

Even now the countryman actively pushes on to the coming

Year and its tasks; attacking the naked vine with a curved

Pruning-knife, he shears and trims it into shape.

Be the first to dig the land, the first to bring your vine-poles under cover;

But the last to gather the vintage. Twice will the vines grow thick

With shade, and twice will a tangle of briars overrun the vineyards;

Each makes for hard work: so admire a large estate if you like,

But farm a small one. Further,

You’ll find rough broom in the woods and reeds on the river bank

To be cut, and the willow beds will give you plenty of work.

Now the vines are tied, the plants are done with pruning

The last vine-dresser sings over his finished labours,

Yet still you must keep the soil busy, the dust on the move,

And watch apprehensive for weather which threatens the ripening grape.

OXFORD WORLD’S CLASSICS, Translated by C. Day Lewis

Lines 354-419




James Honore



New Zealand born and bred, James Honore started his journey with the three Robertson family lodges over 10 years ago.

He was the sous chef at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs before taking on the Head Chef role at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, where he is

thriving. He takes inspiration from the vast array of local produce grown right there at The Farm, as well as from the wider Hawke’s

Bay region. We asked James together with Tom Riedl, Sommelier at Cape Kidnappers, to share with us a recipe of their favourite

dish to match with our Pinot Noir.



Ingredients for four people


2 venison tenderloin, trimmed

Pickling vegetables

200g chardonnay vinegar

60g golden caster sugar

100g water

1 bay leaf

4 black peppercorns

6 baby carrots, cleaned & shaved

4 baby beetroots, cleaned & shaved

2 pickling onions

Black Garlic Puree

1 shallot, diced

1 stick celery peeled & diced

10 cloves black garlic

Horseradish Cream

1 Tbs fresh horseradish, grated,

or creamed horseradish to taste

100g crème fraîche

Juice & zest of half a Lemon

Toasted Barley

50g pearl barley


For the venison

Allow the venison to come to room temperature, lightly season & sear

quickly getting colour on all sides on a very hot charcoal barbeque,

put on a wire rack to cool & set aside. We are just looking to sear the


Pickling the vegetables

Bring the sugar, vinegar, bay, pepper & water to the boil, cool and

pour over the carrots, onion & beetroot separately. Put the onions in

a vacuum or zip-lock bag & simmer in hot water until almost tender

then chill them in ice water.

Black garlic puree

Sweat the shallot & celery in a little butter until softened but without

colour, add the black garlic and add enough water to just cover, cook

until tender then puree.

Horseradish cream

Mix all ingredients together & season to taste

Toasted Barley

Simmer the barley in water for 13 minutes, drain and put on a baking

sheet, bake at 80 degrees C for 2 hours or until the grain is completely

dry again, toast in vegetable oil that is at 220 degrees C, the grains will

puff almost instantly, carefully drain on kitchen paper, season with salt.

To serve

Cut the now cool venison and dress lightly in a bowl with extra virgin

olive oil, season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper.

Serve with the already prepared garlic puree, horseradish & pickled

vegetables, toasted barley & freshly picked herbs.

Tom Riedl, Sommelier at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers

‘The perfect match for our Venison Tenderloin is the 2015 Dry River

Pinot Noir. Nose and palate are young, wild and dark berries/black

fruit driven with a hint of ripe Portobello Mushrooms which perfectly

pair with the pickled beetroot and carrot. On the finish we receive a

touch of sweetness to battle against the spice of horse radish.

A dream combination of flavour, texture and experience.’

Part of the international acclaim for our wines

has been thanks to the support of overseas

partners and their connections with the wider

wine industry. One of these for us has been the

incredible story of the relationship between

Neil McCallum and Zubair Mohammed

from Raeburn Fine Wines in Scotland.

A bond which commenced in the early 1990’s,

as he expounds on below. Zubair’s acclaim

is his distinct ability to discover the hidden

gems in the world of fine wine. He liaises

personally with producers and, as a result,

can provide very personal, high quality advice.

This has earned Raeburn the support of

Michelin-starred restaurants and the respect

as one of the finest wine merchants in the

United Kingdom.

My introduction into the world of

Dry River wines was via my great friend

and (still ongoing) Port and Portuguese

wine supplier Dirk Niepoort from the

eponymous and now famous company

Niepoort Vinhos. I remember asking Dirk

just as he joined his family’s company (at

the age of 28), after a few years of travelling

around the world visiting wine estates, to

recommend an exceptional estate that he

had visited and where he had tasted wines

that had made a strong impression on

his very demanding palate. He, without

hesitation, recommended as his favourite

Dry River Wines and that I should

urgently make contact with Neil and Dawn

McCallum as they were making, in his

opinion, the finest wines in New Zealand.

I followed Dirk’s advise and the rest is

history. I slowly found that Neil became

a “mentor” to me as I was very young in

the wine trade all that time ago and he

remains one of the brightest and most

innovative “vignerons” I have ever come

across (and I have known and still know a

large number of winemakers!). I sometimes

wonder if other estates have really learned

any lessons from his ideas but he did what

he did out of inner necessity and what was

best for Dry River and also for his vision

of what great wines should be and could

be. This was indeed his personal vision but

when it all translates to world-class wines

(as also positively commented on by many

professionals) then it would be wise to

listen and study what he did and has done.

This great work is still ongoing (and is

added to) at Dry River.

Neil and Dawn remain to this day very

good friends and Dry River is, as I have

written, still making wines of great quality

and complexity even after the McCallum’s

sold the estate and retired from Dry

River. Wilco and his team continue this

wonderful work that Neil, Dawn and their

team started all those many years ago.


















Gewurz (DR or Mart.)

Be aware that our wines can ‘go into a

tunnel’ somewhere between six months

and two years after release. During this

time the wine can be quite unrewarding,

but be patient because it can blossom

later and confound earlier impressions

and predictions. A second dip can occur

between 4 & 6 years when the wine can

start to look tired then may well emerge

looking refreshed and in an interesting

new phase for the next few years. It can

be worth opening and even decanting

them a few hours before serving –

particularly the reds.

Gewurz (Lovat)

Pinot gris

Pinot noir

Riesling (Craig)

Sauvignon bl.




Late harvest/

Bunch selection



This table is only a guide for a standard cellar at 12ºC – see Cellaring Notes


not made/to be released


worth trying but conserve your stocks.

drink from now on if from a good

cellar; warmer cellars reach this

point earlier.

there is little to be gained from further

cellaring. The effect of differing

cellaring conditions will be obvious

– wines in warmer cellars should be

checked for premature ageing.

dead, dying or thinking about it, in our

cellaring conditions. Warmer cellars

will approach this point sooner.

Warmer and fluctuating temperatures will age wine

more rapidly and may not be as beneficial to the

less robust wines and varietals. In our experience

the ‘robustness’ of wines is likely to be in the order:

Cabernet and blends > Sauvignon blanc > Syrah >

Riesling > Pinot gris and Chardonnay > Pinot noir

and Gewurztraminer. Wines high in extract will

tend to mature rather more slowly than the ‘average’

same varietal on this list. If you have a number

of our wines and your cellar conditions are not

similar to our ‘standard cellar’, you will no doubt

learn how to interpret the chart in relation to your

own conditions. However, a more active approach

to evaluating your cellar is to note temperatures for

the range of the days, between weeks and between

seasons, by leaving a thermometer in a large jar of

water in your cellar. It is not sufficient to observe

that the cellar ‘always feels cool’ – such feelings

are relative only to outside conditions. Significant

fluctuations in daily or weekly temperatures tend

to add to the speed of ageing commented on

below, and may also increase the incidence of

leakers and seepers, occasionally give examples of

ATA (atypical ageing – see GENERAL NOTES

… , Aromas) and disproportionately fast ageing for

laccase-containing wines (i.e. those with potential

or actual botrytis). Vibration and direct light on

the wine are damaging influences which should

also be avoided.

General Notes Relating to

Cellared Wines

Wine maturation is an organic process which is very

dependent on the conditions of cellaring. Wines do

not inevitably end up at a predictable quality and

style, hence André Simone’s famous quote ‘there

are no great wines, only great bottles.’ Nevertheless,

cellars with the best possible conditions are the

most likely to produce the best possible end results.



Ageing – premature A wine can show

maturity beyond its years, but this tends

not to be such a cause for concern until the

wine is past its peak – as evidenced by loss

of fruit, oxidation and possible browning.

If a number of wines in your cellar show

such symptoms and these are in advance

of expectations, a careful evaluation of

your cellar conditions is necessary. If you

do not wish to or cannot improve these

conditions, be aware that all your wines

should be drunk somewhat earlier than may

be generally recommended. Wines from

high-laccase vintages, e.g. ’95 and ’97, will

be disproportionately affected. Premature

ageing does sacrifice some potential quality.

Refer to CELLARING GUIDE or consult

us if you have queries.

Aromas – unpleasant If you know that a

wine had good typical smells when first

purchased but it has developed unpleasant

(sulphide) smells as it has aged, there can be

several possible explanations. These include

ATA (atypical ageing) which is brought on

by heat – either a short period at high temperatures

or warmish cellaring. ATA may

affect an occasional bottle within that batch

of wine, and the only way of avoiding it is

to improve the cellar or storage conditions

to less than 14˚C. Leaving a bottle out in

bright light can also cause sulphides (“light

struck”), and wines stored under screwcaps

can also generate this type of smell when

stored for a few years.

Bottle Shock Shortly after a wine is

bottled it can appear atypical, lacking fruit,

If your storage

has temperature

maximums of

no more than…



Then your storage conditions are…

good, and your wines will be at a similar stage of development

to that indicated in the table on page 16. Burgundians

say that for proper cellaring Pinot noir must be kept in this

temperature range (cf. the book Pinot noir, by A. Barr, p33)

at these temperatures your wine could be maturing

20–25% faster than above. Nevertheless, for quality

the conditions are adequate, unless you would like to pamper

your wines or your cellar is large and/or valuable. The

chart should still be very useful, but bear in mind that your

wines will develop faster. The results may be less fine.



becoming rather hard and angular and even

tasting aldehydic. This is from the effects

of filtration and possible oxidation at the

time of bottling and it should recover in a

few months.

Breathing wines This is the practice of

decorking a wine or even decanting several

hours before drinking. It can help very

young wines (particularly reds), more

mature wines which may have developed less

than pleasant smells, or slightly sprizig reds.

Buying cellared wines This can be a risky

proposition. It is unwise to accept an

auctioneer’s assurance that they have been

cellared well. Risks can be reduced by buying

only the ‘robust varieties’ (see Cellaring

Guide) but unless you know that the cellar

was temperature controlled, purpose-built

or situated within a cool even-temperatured

climate, be prepared for surprises. Check

the cork and ullage.

Capsules Capsules may be made from many

materials including plastic, metals or sealing

wax. Capsules can protect the cork against

cork borer but tend to have little other than

a decorative function, unless they are made

of wax, which probably slightly slows down

the access of oxygen and is therefore an alternative

for wines to be cellared for a long

time, or for half bottles.

this includes quite a few Auckland cellars. It is not ideal;

differences in speed of development will be evident even

with storage over 2–3 years. Plan for holding less robust

wines (discussed above) no more than 3 years. Be aware

that a mature wine from this cellar is likely to be not quite as

good as one aged at lower temperatures.

not very good, but do note that most good wines

may still benefit for up to 2 or 3 years in this cellar. Less

robust wines probably should not be held beyond 2 years.

Cabernet and blends, Sauvignon blanc, Fumé blanc, Riesling

could benefit from longer periods, depending on the actual

conditions. Avoid cellaring Pinot noir.

Clarity/brilliance Cloudiness in a white

wine can be unattractive but need not affect

the flavour. In these instances it can arise

from a protein instability or some other

causes. Other forms of hazes in both whites

and reds can arise from microbiological instability

or the effects of trace metals such as

iron or copper and may indicate a damaged

wine. (See also Sediment/deposits.)

Colour/hue This should be appropriate

for the type and age of the wine. Excessive

brown tints immediately call the condition

of the wine to question – oxidation and

premature ageing are possible. (See also


Cork borers These are probably similar to

wood borer. Cork dust is seen on the outer

surface of the cork and small holes will have

been eaten into the cork. I suggest spraying

a pyrethroid fly spray on the surface

of the cork and then sealing it with sealing

wax. If a number of bottles are affected,

fumigating your cellar may be a good idea.

Corked wines This does not refer to wines

with fragments of cork in the bottle. The

fault arises from trace flavours within the

cork which result in wines with mouldy

or ‘wet sack flavours’ and a loss of fruit.

In borderline cases, a loss of fruit might still

be evident, but the extraneous flavours will

be too difficult for most to detect. Although

the fault arises from the cork manufacture,

most winemakers will replace the bottle.

It is worth noting that we have strict Quality

Assurance checks on all our corks. If it

appears that two of our wines in a row show

cork taint, check that the problem does not

in fact arise from cellaring conditions.

Corked Wines – return of If one of our

wines is affected, we will provide a credit

for the mail order purchase of the same

wine from the current vintage. We do like

to confirm the cause of the problem so,

if at all possible, top up the bottle with

boiled and cooled water, stopper it with

the original cork in the same orientation

as it was originally, and return it to us

ASAP (preferably within 24 hours) with

a note indicating the date of opening, for

forwarding to the cork supplier. Expect

no more than around 1 in 50 of recent

vintages to be affected.

Decanting Essential with all wines which

throw a sediment, otherwise the flavours

will be impaired. (See also Sediments/

deposits.) Wines made for cellaring (i.e.

rich in antioxidants) can look lean and hard

when first opened, but access by air softens

and improves the texture. Even our older

white and red wines (after good cellaring)

are likely to benefit from decanting a few

hours in advance and our young reds in

particular,can even benefit from being left

to cool or in the fridge overnight.

Half bottles These have the same size cork

for half the volume of wine. Oxidation

and ageing therefore proceed significantly

faster than with larger bottles. Given the

choice, buy the larger bottles for longterm

cellaring. Dessert wines of very high

must weight can last a long time even in

half bottles.

Lead residues Older wine bottles with

lead capsules tend to accumulate traces

of lead acetate around the mouth, and

theoretically these residues may be partly

dissolved when pouring the wine. Wipe

the top of the bottle clean before pouring

such wines. Lead capsules are now phased

out worldwide and Dry River has used

alternative materials since 1992.

Leakers If a new wine is leaking badly,

return it. If it is a particularly good wine, it

can be recorked. (see also Seeping Corks.)

If your older wines have a tendency to leak,

check your storage conditions.

Loss of, or unusual flavours Had you

cleaned your teeth or sucked peppermints

within a few hours of tasting the wine?

This can markedly alter your perception

of flavours. Alternatively the wine may

be ‘corked’ (see above), suffering from

premature ageing (see below) or oxidation.

Storing bottles of wine in sunlight

(particularly in clear or lighter coloured

glass) can cause flavour loss in a matter

of weeks.

Oxidation This can cause a drying sensation

– more in the front of the mouth – which

can be reminiscent of the flavour of sherry,

or smell toffee-like, or cause dulled fruit on

the palate. It can arise because of excessive

ullage, poor cellaring, or because the wine

is simply too old. Dull colour or excessive

brown tints can be telltales, but don’t be

confused by the effect of fluorescent light

on reds, particularly lighter coloured ones.

(See also Random Oxidation.)

Random Oxidation Occasionally one can

encounter oxidized wines which are unlike

the rest of the batch from which they came.

There are several possible explanations for

this problem which can be found under

all types of closures. If the wine is one of

ours, treat it as described in Corked Wines

– return of so that we can confirm the

problem and replace the bottle.

Sediment/deposits Most sediment which

settles easily is harmless and the wine

should be decanted off it before serving.

Allowing the sediment to mix into the

wine can make a dramatic difference to the

perception of quality – particularly in reds.

(See also Wine crystals and Decanting.)

Seeping corks If the top of the cork is

damp, the wine should be drunk soon –

even if there is no obvious increase in ullage.

Seepage is an indication that air has had at

least some access to the wine, and although

such bottles are unlikely to be spoiled,

this low-level oxidation will progressively

dull the fruit as time goes on. If you are

getting a significant number of these wines,

check the temperatures and temperature

fluctuations in your cellar – it may need to

be improved.

Temperature of serving Generally red

wines are served warmer than whites.

However, there are no simple rules, so be

prepared to experiment or consult a good

wine text. Remember that your perception

of many flavours can change considerably

with a change of only a few degrees celsius.

Travel Shock Vibration during transport

can make wine appear atypical – hard

or angular and lacking fruit. It can take

up to two months to recover – less if

stored at low temperatures. Transporting

wine at low temperatures (5–10˚C) reduces

the problem. Exposure of the bottle to

vibration during storage (e.g. under stairs)

can have a similar effect.

Ullage The ullage is the gap between the cork

and the level of the wine when the bottle is

vertical. As the wine grows older the ullage

will increase depending on the cork and

storage conditions. If the cork is actually

leaking and has an excessive ullage it should

be drunk as soon as possible. Older wines

with excessive ullage and sound corks will

tend to oxidise or deteriorate more quickly,

but robust examples can still be sound with

4.5–7cm ullage. More delicate wines and

most whites will show deterioration well

before this. Always check the ullage of a

wine and the condition of the cork before

opening the bottle to determine whether it

may be atypical in terms of its ageing.

Wine crystals With time, some wines may

deposit crystals in the bottle and on the

inside of the cork. In a white wine these

crystals tend to be white and in a red wine

they may be affected by the colour of the

wine. This is a natural deposit reflecting a

lack of processing in the wine. It can be

found in the most expensive hand-made

wines and should not be considered a fault.

It does not necessitate decanting.








Left to right facing: Sarah Bartlett, Sue Rickey, Tom Hindmarsh, Ethan Pittard



















Left to right: James Pittard, Michelle Mills, Wilco Lam



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