Urlar 2013 Sauvignon and Riesling, and 2013 Pinot Gris and Noir
‘Economic and environmental sustainability are our driving principles’ states the Urlar website, and indeed Angus and Davina Thomson are committed to the land having achieved BioGro organic certification early on in their Gladstone venture in 2010. The Thomsons and their viticulturist-winemaker Guy McMaster tend the 31 ha Urlar vineyard to biodynamic regimes, and reckon this to be fundamental to the quality and style of the wines. Their approach has rapidly taken the Urlar label to be among the most exciting and interesting in the Wairarapa. I visited Urlar at the beginning of last year and saw barrel samples of the 2012 Pinot Noir and thought them very promising, especially for a cool vintage (click here to see my report). The finished wine is now released, and I review it along with the new 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling wines and 2012 Pinot Gris. www.urlar.co.nz
Urlar Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – 4 stars
Bright straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. This has a very tight and penetrating nose of cooler-spectrum cut grass and nettle-like fruit aromas, with subtle passionfruit nuances, the bouquet revealing savoury herbs and mouthwatering minerals. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, fresh, lively fruit flavours of grass, capsicums and gooseberries form a tight core and show with lusciousness and vitality. Herb, green apple and mineral detail unfold, and the palate flows with energy, following a very fine phenolic, textural line. Lifted florals and minerals feature on the long, firm, racy finish. This is an elegant, refreshingly juicy and lively Sauvignon Blanc with cut and linearity. Match with seafood, poultry, salads and vegetables in Mediterranean-inspired fare over the next 2 years. Fermented in stainless-steel with a portion in seasoned oak to 13.5% alc. and 2.3 g/L RS. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5+/20 May 2014 RRP $24.00
Urlar Gladstone Riesling 2013 - 4 stars
Cool-fermented in stainless-steel to 12.0% alc. and 7.0 g/L RS, and TA 8.6 g/l and pH 2.92, the wine aged on lees. Bright straw-yellow colour with slight lemon-green hues. The nose is clean, fresh and steely, with lime and lemon fruit aromas, lifted with white floral and stonefruit notes, revealing savoury citrus, honey and toast nuances in the glass, Dry to taste and light-medium bodied, the palate is elegantly concentrated with fruit flavours of limes and lemons along with savoury mineral elements. This has good fruit extract and the palate is carried by soft, dry textures with underlying, thirst-quenching acid drive to a sustained, citrussy finish. This is a dry, concentrated, mouth-watering Riesling with lime-like fruit and savoury nuances. Serve as an aperitif and with seafood. It will develop greater complexity over the next 5-6 years. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0/20 May 2014 RRP $27.00
Urlar Gladstone Pinot Gris 2012 - 4 stars
Fruit hand-picked and WBP, fully barrel-fermented in seasoned oak to 13.0% alc. and 1.4 g/L RS, the wine aged 12 months in oak, the wine undergoing batonnage. Full straw-yellow colour with pale gold hues. The nose is full and broad with solid and deep aromas of yellow stonefruits with minerally lees elements and nutty, barrel nuances, unfolding complexing layers of pear and honeysuckle with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, softly concentrated and well-packed flavours of savoury yellow stonefruits are melded with minerals, smoke and nutty elements. The mouthfeel is rounded from the barrel-ferment, with some phenolic textures forming a dry palate line. The palate flows with good drive to a weighty and dry, grainy, lingering finish. This is a medium-bodied, dry Pinot Gris with complex, savoury stonefruit, mineral and nutty funkiness. Serve with poultry and pork dishes over the next 3-4 years. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5+/20 May 2014 RRP $29.00
Urlar Gladstone Pinot Noir 2012 - 4 stars
Light ruby-red colour with slight purple hues, lighter on rim. The bouquet is fresh and elegantly proportioned with moderately concentrated, aromatic and vibrant red berry fruit and red florals, along with herb and stalk nuances. Some pepper and oak detail unfolds in the glass. Medium-bodied, fresh, bright and juicy red berry fruit flavours mingle with sweet floral and herbal elements. The palate opens to show some oak toast and smoke hints, unfolding from the fine core. The tannins are fine-grained, and balanced acidity adds to the energy and linear flow, carrying the fruit-focussed flavours to a lively and juicy finish with noticeable acidity. This is a fresh and vibrant, sweet-fruited, medium-bodied Pinot Noir with some herb notes. Match with poultry and pork dishes over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit given a cold soak and fermented to 13.0% alc., the wine aged in 25% new French oak. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5+/20 May 2014 RRP $35.00
|5 Stars||100 pts|
|5||96 – 100||Exceptional quality exhibiting highest level of concentration and complexity.|
|5||93 – 95||Outstanding quality showing varietal purity and exemplifying regional type.|
|4.5||89 – 92||Excellent quality showing high level of concentration and balance.|
|4||85 – 88||Very good quality displaying attractive flavours and good balance.|
|3.5||81 – 84||Good quality, easy drinking with straightforward flavours.|
|Stylish and mouth-watering, this youthful charmer is elegantly perfumed with lemon pith, green apple, white peach and floral aromas. The palate is fine, focused and flowing with excellent concentration and persistency. A dry expression that’s sweetly appealing. At its best: now to 2023. www.urlar.co.nz. April 2014.|
|Urlar||Sauvignon Blanc 2013||Gladstone||88||4
|A delicately expressed sauvignon, the elegant bouquet shows grapefruit, white peach, dill and subtle flinty aromas. It’s focused and linear on the palate with pristine fruit flavours and fine texture, leading to a lingering crisp finish. A wonderful partner to elegant seafood dishes. At its best: now to 2017. April 2014.|
|Urlar||Pinot Gris 2012||Gladstone||91||4.5
|A restrained rendition, the subtle bouquet shows ripe citrus, apple and floral with a hint of savoury complexity. It’s beautifully rounded on the palate with silky texture, well supported by bright acidity. The wine shows lovely texture and structure, without the overt fruity flavours. The wine was fermented and matured in barrels, although there’s not obvious ‘oaky’ characters. At its best: now to 2017. April 2014.|
|Urlar||Pinot Noir 2012||Gladstone||94||5
|It’s gloriously complex and haunting on the nose exhibiting truffle, game, red/black cherry and floral aromas. The palate is velvety, seamless and flowing. The wine is concentrated yet so fine and elegant. An exquisite and immensely appealing pinot, beautifully framed by supple tannins. Each mouthful a pure delight. At its best: now to 2022. April 2014.|
Pinot Noir 2011
Urlar, the Gaelic word for “the Earth” is located in Wairarapa, in the south-east of New Zealand’s North Island. This wine was made from certified organic grapes and was matured in 25 per cent new French oak barrels. Light red in colour, it is bright and bold, with ripe red plums, hawthorn, clove and sandalwood notes. The smoothly textured wine has a slightly austere, dry finish.
Drink this wine at 16 deg C.
Pair with: Stir-fried pork shoulder with spring onions and ginger or Schweinshaxe, which is Bavarian roasted pork knuckle.
John’s review was:
“Another Wairarapa Harvest Festival, another day of excellent food, wine and laughter in the totara grove. This event is a lot of fun, and ‘worth a detour’, as the Michelin Guide would put it.
Ray (McVinnie) and I again judged the wine and food matches on offer. From a quality field, La Bella Italia’s peppery handmade pasta accompanied by the Fairmont Estate Admiral Hill Pinot Noir 2012 finished in top spot.
A pleasing aspect of the competition was the number of older wines – especially whites – that were in there. There were a couple of 2009s, a 2008 and very few 2013s. Why is that a good thing? Because wines with a little bottle age perform so much better with food than their younger cousins.
One of the more intriguing older wines was the Urlar Pinot Gris 2009. Always a bold style, it has developed a fascinating, camphor-meets-almond paste flavour profile. Not quite as old, but more easily obtainable, is the Urlar Pinot Gris 2011 ($29). Dry in style, with barrel and lees work providing complexity and textural interest, this wine is coming together beautifully.
With its certified organic vineyard and ‘handmade’ philosophy, Urlar is a label to watch.”