The clone of a planted variety is generally considered to have greater effect on the quality of white wines than reds. Syrah is an exception, though. Dry River plantings are of what is thought to be the ancient ‘Serrine’ clone.
This was originally introduced into NZ in the late 1800's and the last few existing vines were rescued from oblivion by Dr Alan Limmer (then of Stonecroft wines) out of the old Te Kauwhata research station.
The 2009 Dry River Syrah displays a colour of deep carmine with a slightly purplish edge creating immediate expectations of richness.
The nose is warm and inviting, slightly floral with the smell of black plum and white pepper, but presently tending more toward complex characters including sweet leather and dark chocolate.
The palate is fresh, yet rich and rounded, with full soft tannins enveloping floral and black plum fruits along with flavours of black tea, leather and a long clean aftertaste.
Overall a youthful wine that shows considerable promise. Evaluate from 4+ years – it should continue to improve for more than 10 if cellared well.
93 pts - Bob Campbell (MW)
Deep, intense wine with strong pepper/spice and oak supported by dark berry with hints of floral characters. Quite firm tannins give a drying and almost bitter chocolate finish. Powerful syrah with great cellaring potential
18-/20 – Raymond Chan
100% Syrah from vines averaging 20 y.o. from the ‘Lovat' vineyard, fully destemmed and given a 6 day cold soak, fermented to 12.8% alc., the wine aged 12 months in 25% new barriques and hogsheads. Very dark, near impenetrable, black-hued purple-red colour, the bouquet shows concentrated black fruit aromas with black and white pepper, along with notes of tar, leather and dark garden herbs. Medium-full bodied and with elegant proportions, the palate has fresh, crisp acidity enlivening the black fruit, pepper and violetty flavours. The fruit has sweetness and a degree of lusciousness and is underlined by fine-grained tannins which lead to a dry, firm finish with tar, earth and floral nuances. Match with wild duck and pork, and Middle Eastern meat dishes over the next 2-3 years.