DR WINES LTD, MARTINBOROUGH WWW.DRYRIVER.CO.NZ
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
PHONE 06 306 9388
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.
2015 DRY RIVER
‘MARTINBOROUGH’ PINOT NOIR
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
2016 DRY RIVER
‘MARTINBOROUGH’ PINOT GRIS
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
2016 DRY RIVER ‘LOVAT’ GEWÜRZTRAMINER
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
2016 DRY RIVER ‘DRY RIVER ESTATE’ VIOGNIER
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
2013 DRY RIVER ‘CRAIGHALL’ TEMPRANILLO
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
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.
2015 DRY RIVER ‘MARTINBOROUGH’
To our memory this is one of the more approachable
2016 DRY RIVER ‘CRAIGHALL’ RIESLING
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
2016 DRY RIVER ‘CRAIGHALL’ RIESLING
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
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.
2015 DRY RIVER ‘MARTINBOROUGH’
PINOT NOIR 5*
Dark and densely flavoured, this Martinborough
red ranks among New Zealand’s greatest Pinot
2015 DRY RIVER ‘MARTINBOROUGH’
PINOT GRIS 5*
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+.
2015 DRY RIVER ‘CRAIGHALL’
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.
2015 DRY RIVER ‘MARTINBOROUGH’
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+.
2016 DRY RIVER ‘CRAIGHALL’
SELECTION RIESLING 5*
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+.
2016 DRY RIVER ‘DRY RIVER ESTATE’
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
2013 DRY RIVER ‘CRAIGHALL’
‘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;
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
2015 DRY RIVER ‘LOVAT’
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.
M U S I N G
THE SIXTH SENSE
AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON WINE PERSONALITY
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
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
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
NOTES FROM HEAD CHEF AT THE FARM AT CAPE KIDNAPPERS
RAEBURN FINE WINES UK
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.
VENISON TENDERLOIN WITH CARROTS, BLACK GARLIC,
BEETROOT, HORSERADISH & BARLEY
Ingredients for four people
2 venison tenderloin, trimmed
200g chardonnay vinegar
60g golden caster sugar
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
1 Tbs fresh horseradish, grated,
or creamed horseradish to taste
100g crème fraîche
Juice & zest of half a Lemon
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.
Mix all ingredients together & season to taste
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.
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
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.
THE EFFECT OF CELLARING
CONDITIONS ON YOUR WINE
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
L O C A T I O N
Left to right facing: Sarah Bartlett, Sue Rickey, Tom Hindmarsh, Ethan Pittard
NEW YORK ST
Left to right: James Pittard, Michelle Mills, Wilco Lam
DR WINES LTD, MARTINBOROUGH WWW.DRYRIVER.CO.NZ