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Wine of the Week for week ending 9 June 2002
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Dry River Craighall Riesling 2001
Martinborough, New Zealand

"I think this is easily the best Dry River riesling I have ever tasted"
Sue Courtney May 2002.

I seriously mean that.

So I pour the pale straw coloured wine for the six of us.
"Beautiful nose, like freshly cut pineapple" says one.
"Yum" says another.
"Very subtle and delicate citrus blossom and talc with a lime freshness that really zings", says I.

Then we taste it. Wow - what a pureness and delicacy this wine has as it floats across the tongue and reaches every nook and cranny with its piercing and refreshing lime juice flavour. This is a hauntingly pure riesling with a full-bodied flavour and a hint of yeast-derived nuttiness that's still to dissipate at this early stage of its life.

I decide I want to see how this wine develops.

It was opened on Saturday and by Wednesday the wine has taken on a sherbet character and there's zesty spice there too. There's apples and some pears laced with ginger. It's dry. It's limey. It's earthy. It's mineral water from the finest springs on earth. It has the propensity to age but it is such a treat to drink now.

It's now Sunday night - eights days after the wine was first opened and even though its been sitting in the back room with simply a cork in it, the wine is still better than many other rieslings when they are first opened. Still the citrus plays - it is more like lemons now - and a honey complexity has developed.

Eight days a week of drinking Dry River Riesling, yessiree! This could be my medicine - a glass of Dry River riesling a day to keep the doctor away.

For those who say that New Zealand riesling does not age, they should open up to the fact they do and Dry River rieslings especially so. While this is one of the most forward of the Dry River rieslings to date, the low alcohol (10.5 per cent) and the purity of this wine will ensure it will age for decades - provided the person in ownership of the wine has the patience.

I enjoyed having a sup every night for five nights in a row then finding the dregs a few days later. Alas, it is now all gone.

When this wine was released, it cost $30 a bottle on mail order. If you are not on the mailing list you may still be lucky to find the wine, otherwise wait until it appears at auction. A small allocation is exported and I've seen Dry River on the wines lists of fine restaurtants in London and San Francisco - not in person unfortunately, but on the Internet.

Dry River Wines Does not have an Internet presence. Send enquiries by snail mail to Dry River Wines, PO Box 72, Martinborough.

© Sue Courtney

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