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Wine of the Week for week ending 1 December 2002
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Dry River Estate Gewurztraminer 2002
Martinborough, New Zealand

I wouldn't like to have to choose a desert island wine but if I had to, the Dry River Estate Gewurztraminer would definitely be a contender. A young Dry River Gewurztraminer, I think. Like this one from the 2002 vintage. It is one of the most delicious I have ever tasted. It's not too sweet and not too dry, just simply luscious in its flavour.

It's all there - on the nose, every part of the palate and the flavour that lingers in the mouth long after the wine has been swallowed goes on, seemingly forever. I love the fragrance of lemon blossom and old English roses. I love the flavour of musk, citrus, honey, sugar and spice and all things nice. And I just love the concentration, the slightly oily texture and the touch of rose hip on the finish.

Perhaps it is something to so with the age of the vines. Gewurztraminer was amongst the first varieties when Neil McCallum planted the Dry River Vineyard in 1979. Combine this with the low cropping vines and the passion to make the best wine possible.

In the notes that came with the Dry River 2002 Spring Release, Neil McCallum wrote, "we enjoy these wines as pre-dinner aperitifs or with cheese, although they are commonly recommended with mildly spiced and rich foods".

I am one of those recommending a mildly spiced and rich food. For the wine was absolutely sensational with dinner at Number Five restaurant (5 City Road, Auckland), earlier this week. I telephoned Martina Lutz, the owner of Number Five, the next day and congratulated her on the dish. "We hang the duck for three days, poach it then refrigerate for another day. Then it is coated in spices and roasted".

"What kind of spices?"

"Oh you know, just the Five Spice powder", she revealed.

That sounds so easy. I had always thought duck the perfect match for pinot noir and indeed there was a range of pinot noir lined up, but now Five Spiced Duck and Gewurztraminer - preferably Dry River Gewurztraminer - is my new favourite match.

Dry River Estate Gewurztraminer 2002 cost NZ$40 a bottle (plus freight) on mail order release. It may sound expensive for a New Zealand Gewurztraminer but compare it to a top quality Gewurztraminer from Alsace and this is cheap, man, this is cheap.

Of course, if you are not on the Dry River mailing list or you are but did not tick the Gewurztraminer box when you placed your order, you will be very very lucky to find this wine. But you may be lucky. Otherwise, the best thing to do is to make friends with someone who has it and coerce him or her to share a taste with you.

Neil McCallum invites people to join his mailing list and will assist in affecting overseas deliveries. Prospective members will be advised when a vacancy on the list occurs. Write to Dry River Wines, PO Box 72, Martinborough.

© Sue Courtney

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