Featured Reviews

Urlar 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and SP Noble Riesling, and 2016 The Mediator Pinot Noir

27 March,2018

I’ve reported on the changes at Urlar in Gladstone in the Wairarapa brought about by the arrival of Carol Bunn taking over the winemaking role from Guy McMaster for the 2016 vintage. The wines have become more fruit focussed, this stylistic change deemed especially beneficial for the market. I certainly thought the new approach yielded very positive results. At the same time, owner Angus Thomson has furthered the journey towards a fuller employment of biodynamic regimes, and no doubt this will add to what he has achieved in his BioGro organic certification. A few months ago, Carol resigned her position to give her the ability to divide her attention between working in the Wairarapa and family interests in Central Otago. Carol handed over the winemaking reins to Jannine Rickards, who is well-regarded for her previous winemaking roles at Julicher, Pegasus Bay and Ata Rangi, in time for the 2018 vintage. I trust that the changes in style instituted by Carol will be continued and further developed by Jannine. Urlar has now released the new 2017 Sauvignon Blanc and Noble Riesling, which is now under the ‘Select Parcels’ tier, these from a challenging harvest, as well as a new secondary label for a 2016 Pinot Noir called ‘The Mediator’. I review these three wines here. www.urlar.co.nz


Urlar Gladstone Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Bright, even, pale straw-yellow colour with slight green hues. The nose is elegantly fragrant in expression with gently pack, fresh aromas of pungent passionfruit along with subtle notes of fresh herbs, snow peas, nettles and a little cut-grass. This is in the cooler spectrum, and unfolds thirst-quenching mineral elements. Medium-bodied, the palate has a firm core of pungent passionfruit entwined with green stonefruits and subtle cool-spectrum notes of snow peas and nettles. The fruit forms a taut and concentrated core and the wine flows along a light phenolic-textured line with lacy acidity lending energy, leading to a light, lingering finish of passionfruit and fragrant herbs. This is an elegant and taut Sauvignon Blanc with a fine core of passionfruit, stonefruit, herb and nettle flavours on a fine-textured, lively palate. Serve as an aperitif and with Pacific Rim fare over the next 2 years. Fruit fermented in stainless-steel with 10% in seasoned oak to 12.5% alc. and 2.2 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on lees with batonnage. Certified BioGro organic. 17.5/20 Mar 2018 RRP $25.00

The Mediator by Urlar Gladstone Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Light ruby-red colour with some depth and pale purple hues on the edge. The nose is softly full and gently voluminous with moderate depth of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with a subtle amalgam of nutty oak, dark herbs and suggestions of whole bunch stalk perfumes, unfolding nuances of red florals. Medium-bodied the fruit flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit are light and entwined with subtle spice notes, hints of liquorice, dark herbs and floral elements. The flavours are up-front and uncomplicated and flow smoothly, underlined by light, fine-grained tannins and integrated acidity. The flavours recede a little as the wine carries to a light, easy finish. This is an elegant dark-red cherry and berry fruited Pinot Noir with soft notes of spice and herbs on a smooth, supple, easy palate. Serve with antipasto, tapas, pasta, duck and pork over the next 3+ years. A barrel selection wine. Hand-picked fruit fermented with 10% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new oak. Ceritied BioGro organic. 17.0/20 Mar 2018 RRP $32.99

Urlar ‘Select Parcels’ Gladstone Noble Riesling 2017

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Wairarapa & Wellington


Bright, light golden-yellow colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. The nose is soft and full with gently concentrated and rounded aromas of ripe tropical fruits, exotic florals, honey and marmalade along with a musky overlay, unfolding caramel elements. This is expressed with a degree of aromatic finesse and elegance. Very sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has a softly packed and rounded heart of opulent and decadent tropical fruit, along with notes of wild honey, marmalade and musk, unveiling some caramel elements. The mouthfeel is lively and vigorous, and richness and unctuousness, and the wine flows along a smooth line supported by subtle, underlying acidity. The flavours carry positively to a long and sustained finish of honey, caramel and musk. This is a rich and unctuous Noble Riesling with ripe tropical fruit, honey, marmalade and musk flavours with good palate energy and vigour. Match with fruit desserts and crème caramel over the next 4+ years. Hand-picked fruit with approx. 75% botrytis infection, fermented to 11.3% alc. and 131 g/L RS, TA 8.2 g/L and pH 3.6, the wine aged 6 months in seasoned oak. (375 ml) 18.0+/20 Mar 2018 RRP $32.00

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