WINE REVIEWS

5 Stars for Urlar Select Parcels – Review by Raymond Chan

Urlar 2013 Select Parcels Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir

Since the first vintage in 2007, Angus and Davina Thomson’s Urlar has quickly become one of the Wairarapa’s leading wine producers. The wines come from a single 31 ha vineyard in Gladstone which attained BioGro organic certification in 2010, and is run to biodynamic practices. Talented and thoughtful winemaker Guy McMaster crafts excellent Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir that show why the Wairarapa is suited to viticulture.

Over the course of several visits to Urlar, I could see that Angus and Guy were keen to introduce wines with greater interest and complexities. The ‘Select Parcels’ range has been created from the excellent 2013 vintage and due for release to the market in February 2015. These will become Urlar’s flagship wines, the first being a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir. The wines are made from parcels of fruit in the vineyard identified early in the season as being suited to the desired style. The winemaking for these wines is different to the normal practices, the Sauvignon Blanc fermented in barrel and the Pinot Noir with a greater proportion of whole clusters. The wines are further defined by a barrel selection by blind tasting, these given a longer period of oak maturation to further increase integration.

Urlar ‘Select Parcels’ Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Brilliant, pale straw-yellow colour, lighter on rim.  The bouquet is fresh and well-defined with intense and penetrating aromas of white and green stonefruits infused with nutty, oxidative complexities, revealing herbs and chalky, minerally detail.  Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the flavours of white and yellow stonefruits are subtly melded with complexing nutty notes.  The fruit is vibrant and sweetly rich, and backed by lively, refresh acidity lending real energy, brightness and a slippery flow.  The wine follows a very fine, soft-textured line, leading to an elegantly proportioned, long, nutty finish.  This is an elegant, luscious and slippery, complex, nutty, barrel-influenced Sauvignon Blanc.  Match with seafood, poultry and pork over the next 3+ years.  Select parcels of fruit destemmed and given some skin contact, and barrel-fermented in seasoned French barriques to 14.0% alc., the wine aged 8 months in oak undergoing batonnage and partial MLF.  Following a barrel selection the wine was given further barrel aging on lees.  18.5/20  Dec 2014  RRP $30.00

Urlar ‘Select Parcels’ Gladstone Pinot Noir 2013

Dark, deep, ruby-red colour with lighter garnet hues on rim.  The nose is softly full and voluminous with layers of savoury ripe, red berry fruits entwined with complex dried herb and savoury whole berry stalky perfumes.  The aromatics build in depth, revealing spice elements.  Medium-full bodied, the palate features an array of interwoven flavours, showing soft red berry fruits, spicy plums and liquorice, along with subtle, complexing dried herb and stalk notes, and oak elements.  The flavours form a tight core with line and drive, and the mouthfeel is enlivened by bright, refreshing, lacy acidity.  The wine is supported by fine grained tannin extraction which carries the wine to an elegant and slender, well-concentrated, lingering finish.  This is an elegantly concentrated, lively, Pinot Noir with complex spicy and savoury whole bunch flavours.  Serve with casseroles and red game meat dishes over the next 6+ years.  Select parcels if fruit hand-picked and hand-sorted, given a cold soak and indigenous yeast fermented with 30% whole clusters to 14.0% alc., the wine aged in 20% new French oak.  The barrels selected were given further barrel aging on lees.  18.5/20  Dec 2014  RRP $30.00