Archive for the ‘Wine Writers’ Category

Cameron Douglas Reviews Urlar’s Select Parcel Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Urlar Select Parcels Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Gladstone 14%

Quite a complex and concentrated bouquet with aromas of roasted tropical fruits and oak spices melded together; peach, red apple, sweet citrus and white flowers, there’s a honey note then obvious barrel led spice – all adds up to complexity. On the palate – dry, richly flavored, generous of fruit and oak combinations; medium++ acidity and floral notes; quite a serious wine that has generosity, subtlty and a sense of place. Really well made with a medium+ length and finish.
4.5 Stars

Urlar Select Parcels Pinot Noir 2013 Gladstone 14%

The bouquet contains significant depth and complexity with aromas of soil, mineral, fruit and complexities derived from what I only imagine are vine age and wine making; light and dark red cherry fruits, aged strawberry and red apple skin suggestions, silty soil notes and lots of oak. On the palate – dry, complex and youthful; this wine needs time in glass as it has a lots of tense as well as poised elements from the acidity (med++) tannins (high) which carry flavor & are derived from the oak and fruit; and alcohol which seems to stand out for the moment; the finish is complex and long. This is an investment wine, a must decant wine and a cellar wine for serious drinkers. Note too that the soil/mineral suggestion has an herbal element that needs to be considered if drinking this wine when young (think Nuits St George).
5 Stars

Yvonne Lorkin – Urlar Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Yvonne Lorkin’s Sips of the week gave Urlar Sauvignon Blanc 2013 FIVE STARS.

“Gloriousness from Gladstone comes to mind from the first sip.  I love the funky frangipane, lucerne and watercressy aromas and layered palate of almond meal, passionfruit, papaya and hints of smoke on the palate.  Deliciously complex and super-tasty.”

Michael Cooper – Listener May 2014

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Urlar Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2013

‘Certified Organic, this Wairarapa wine is mouth-filling and vibrant with strong, ripe tropical fruit flavours, a subtle seasoning of oak adding complexity and richness and a dry, lingering finish.  Fine value $23.’

Michael Cooper Reviews Urlar Wines

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

May 2014:

Urlar Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc

A consistently impressive wine. Certified organic and partly barrel-fermented, the 2013 vintage (5 stars) is mouthfilling and vibrantly fruity, with crisp, tropical fruit flavours of melons, limes and passionfruit, showing excellent concentration, a subtle seasoning of oak adding richness and complexity, and a dry, lingering finish. Drink now-2015.

Urlar Gladstone Riesling

Hand-harvested in the Wairarapa, the 2011 vintage (4 stars) was partly (10 per cent) barrel-fermented and fermented almost to dryness (4 grams/litre of residual sugar). Citrusy and spicy, minerally and concentrated, it’s a distinctive wine; drink now or cellar. The 2013 vintage (4.5 stars), certified organic, has a scented, slightly minerally bouquet. Mouthfilling, with a strong surge of ripe grapefruit/lime flavours, it’s a classic ‘dry’ style, with good complexity and a finely poised, lasting finish. A very ageworthy, well-priced wine, it should be at its best mid-2015 onwards.

Urlar Gladstone Pinot Gris

Made in a weighty, rather Chardonnay-like style, this Wairarapa wine is hand-harvested and fermented and matured for a year in seasoned French oak casks, with extended lees-aging and lees-stirring. The 2012 vintage (4 stars) has a creamy, slightly nutty bouquet, leading into a mouthfilling, fleshy, slightly buttery wine with good richness, texture and complexity, and a smooth, bone-dry finish.

Urlar Gladstone Pinot Noir

BioGro-certified, this wine is estate-grown in the northern Wairarapa. The 2011 vintage (4 stars) is a ‘feminine’ style, savoury and supple, with ripe plum, spice, dried-herb and nut flavours, gentle tannins and lots of silky charm. The 2012 vintage (4 stars) is delicious now. A savoury style, with more body than its lightish colour suggests, it has an attractive array of strawberry, plum, dried herb, spice and nut flavours, showing good complexity, and a fairly firm finish.

Raymond Chan Reviews Urlar Wines

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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.

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

Sam Kim Reviews Urlar Wine

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

May 2014:


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.
Urlar Riesling 2013 Gladstone 93 5
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. 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.

Urlar Wine Review – Singapore

Tuesday, May 6th, 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.

Wairarapa Harvest Festival – John Saker

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014


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.”

Decanter Magazine – August 2013

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Click on this link to see Jeannie Cho Lee’s Top 10 Martinborough Pinot Noir

Raymond Chans wine of the week – July 2013

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Urlar Gladstone Noble Riesling 2012

Bright, full and even light golden-yellow colour with good depth. This has a softly full, elegant nose with deep aromas of ripe citrus fruits, musky apricots, exotic tropical elements, nuts and caramel, all harmoniously entwined. Very sweet, the flavours of ripe and luscious citrus fruits, marmalade and musk show with depth and are softly mouthfilling. Smooth in texture, there is good acidity providing underlying tension and drive resulting in an elegance of proportion. The flavours flow seamlessly and blossom on the finish with decadent talc botrytis and musky flavours. This is a rich and seamless dessert Riesling to match with fruit desserts or serve on its own after dinner, over the next 3-4+ years. Hand-picked fruit fermented to 12.5% alc. and 115 g/L rs, the wine spending time on lees. (375 ml) 18.5/20 Jan 2013 RRP $31.00