With Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc continuing to hold sway as a firm favourite among Irish wine consumers, one could easily be forgiven for thinking that these big herbaceous fruit-bombs are all that all New Zealand has to offer.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, New Zealand’s greatly diverse geology and climate offer grape-growers and winemakers the opportunity to produce a wide range of wine styles.
Based in Gladstone on the North Island and proudly family owned, Urlar Estate produces outstanding single vineyard wines using organic and biodynamic principles.
Founders and owners Angus and Davina Thomson hail from Scotland. As a fifth generation farmer and a family history in distilling (both grandfathers were in the whisky business) Angus’ love of the land is inherent.
I sure that many of you will remember from your school-days that “Urlar” is the Gaelic word for floor but maybe you won’t know that it also means “The Earth”.
The chosen name is reflective of Angus’ desire is to bring life back to the ancient stony soils of Gladstone.
More importantly, these stony soils and the cool climate allow Urlar to produce wines with a restrained elegance to their fruit and a depth of minerality not often seen from New Zealand.
Urlar Sauvignon Blanc (€13.99 down from €17.99). This wine blew us away when we first tasted it, with expressive notes of ripe gooseberries, capsicum and a hint of passionfruit. The palate is full and rich derived from the barrel-aged portion with a beautiful thread of acidity giving the wine great length and intensity. The wine is suited to all occasions but particularly well matched to seafood.
Urlar Pinot Noir (€23.99) is an elegant wine of dark cherry and plum aromas intermingled with cedar and spice. The palate is refined with a silky texture that with time in the glass develops some lovely savoury nuances. Beautifully suited to a rack of lamb or gamey dishes such as venison or duck.
For a chance to taste a wide variety of wines from all regions of New Zealand and to meet the people behind the wines and hear their stories, be sure to make a visit to the New Zealand Winter Wine Fair.
The fair takes place next Thursday, January 23rd in the Radisson BLU Hotel, Golden Lane, D8, from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
Tickets cost €16.00 and are available online at www.nzwine.com/events or alternatively you can contact Jean Smullen: firstname.lastname@example.org 086 816 8468