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Pinot Noir 2021 – Our Flagship Wine

Individual parcels of Pinot Noir are hand harvested and destemmed for fermentation in tank. Fermentation by indigenous yeasts from our organically farmed vineyard drive the fermentation. Time on skins is monitored by taste and the ferments are gently plunged daily. Pressing off and barrelling down into French oak barriques (20% new). Natural malolactic fermentation in barrel occurs and completes in spring or before. The wine is aged on lees and racked prior to the next harvest for blending and bottling.

Technical Notes (this vintage)


Wine Orbit – Sam Kim – 95/100 – 5 Stars.
Gorgeously composed and stylish, the wine shows ripe cherry, roasted nut, olive and rich floral aromas. It’s equally satisfying on the palate displaying fleshy texture and silky flow, well complemented by sweet fruit flavours and savoury nuances. Balanced, harmonious and persistent. At its best: now to 2028.

Wine Orbit – Sam Kim – 94/100 – 5 Stars.
It’s gorgeously aromatic on the nose showing raspberry, white flesh peach, orange peel and subtle savoury notes, leading to a concentrated pal ate displaying excellent weight and persistency. It’s brilliantly structured by bright acidity and delicately fine tannins, finishing wonderfully long and pleasingly dry. At its best: now to 2023.

The Real Review – Bob Campbell – 94/100 – 5 Stars.
Plumper, more concentrated and more fruit-focused than the Mediator, with pleasing layers of flavour. An attractively juicy pinot noir.

Decanter Asia Wine Awards
Silver Medal – 90 points

Wine Enthusiast
This vintage of Urlar’s biodynamically farmed Pinot once again offers bang for buck. It’s quite reductive at first, so best to pop it in a decanter. Patience will be rewarded, however, for oxygen reveals a multifaceted nose of cherries and strawberries laced with savory, spicy, and green herbal notes and a touch of a something meaty. The fruit feels plump and sun-kissed on the palate but not heavy or overly ripe, gripped gentle by grainy, savory tannins. A lovely savory, peppery note slinks over the tongue on the finish. CHRISTINA PICKARD
92 Points

Michael Cooper
Certified organic, this distinctive, savoury red is estate-grown in the northern Wairarapa. The 2017 vintage was hand-picked, matured for 10 months in french oak barriques (45 percent new), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Re-tasted in mid 2019, it is full, bright ruby, with a finely scented bouquet. An immediately engaging style, with deep cherry, plum, spice and nut flavours, slightly earthy notes adding complexity and a softly textured finish, it’s full of personality. Best drinking 2020+.
4.5 Stars

Winestate Magazine
Certified organic, this attractive, deep ruby Wairarapa red is full of personality. French oak-aged for 10 months, it is youthful and fragrant, with a complex, savoury bouquet. Mouth-filling and supple, it has deep, cherryish, spicy flavours, hints of plums and nuts, excellent complexity and a softly textured finish. Drink now or cellar.
5 Stars

Raymond Chan
Moderately deep ruby-red colour with slight purple hues on the rim, lighter edged.  The nose is elegantly concentrated with good depth of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with subtle notes of fresh and dark herbs, some savoury whole bunch stalk nuances, and lifted florals.  This has interest and detail.  Medium-bodied, the palate has bright and vibrant fruit flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with an amalgam of dark herbs, hints of whole bunch stalk and lifted florals, along with nutty and mineral nuances. The palate possesses richness and sweetness, balanced by fine-grained tannin extraction, and fresh lacy acidity lending energy and vitality.  The flavours carry to an elegant and refreshing finish.  This is a bright and vibrant, dark-red cherry and berry fruited Pinot Noir with herb, stalk and floral notes with some oak, on a fine-textured, poised palate.  Serve with poultry and pork dishes over the next 6 years.  Hand-picked fruit predominantly indigenous yeast fermented with approx. 10% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 33% new French oak barriques.  Certified BioGro organic.

Cameron Douglas
Complex bouquet of Pinot Noir with ripe red fruits including red and darker cherry, raspberry and baked strawberry, a layer of fine oak and silty soil earthy qualities. Dry on the palate with youthful fine tannins and abundant acidity, a chalky texture and flavours that reflect the nose. Lengthy finish, balanced and well-made. Drink now and through 2024.
91 Points


NZ Organic Wine Awards
Silver Medal

Raymond Chan
Moderately dark, deep, garnet-red colour, lighter on the rim. The nose is full and voluminous with harmoniously interwoven, complex aromas of savoury red berry fruits, dried herbs, whole cluster stalk elements and secondary earthy nuances that build in depth and intensity in the glass.  Medium-full bodied, the palate is soft and gently layered with complex flavours of savoury dark-red berry fruits melded with dark and dried herbs, undergrowth and stalk suggestions, earth and cedar. The fruit has sweetness and lusciousness and is supported by fine, grainy tannin extraction and structure, forming a concentrated core. The acidity is integrated, lending soft energy and linearity, and the wine leads to a long, lingering, lively finish with an array of savoury complexities.  This is a complex flavoured and layered Pinot Noir with savoury red fruits, undergrowth and earth, with a well-structured core. Match with casseroles and slow-cooked game dishes over the next 5 years. Hand-picked fruit, clones 5, 115, 667, 777 and 114, indigenous yeast fermented with 15% whole clusters to 14.5% alc., the wine aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barriques. Certified BioGro organic.
18.0+/20 – 4 Stars

Peter Saunders
Certified organic. Very inviting aromatics, clean, and alive. Subtle Pinot palate, tasty and suited to red meat or spicy food. Ready from now on, into 2018.

Michael Cooper
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
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 4 Stars

Sam Kim
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.

Urlar Wine Review – Singapore
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.

Raymond Chan
Even, light ruby-red colour, a little paler on rim. The bouquet is full, deep and solidly packed with aromas of ripe, dark berry fruits with dark herbs and earth, unfolding layers of spice and oak notes. This is brooding and has the potential to blossom. Medium-full bodied, a weighty and rich, juicy core of dark red berry fruit and plums intermingle with spicy elements and oak. Fine-grained, supple tannins and balanced acidity support the fruit with good structure and vitality. The mouthfilling presence and line carry through to a very long finish featuring spicy plum flavours. This is a full and weighty Pinot Noir with rich, spicy flavours. It will reveal more complexity and interest over the next 4-5+ years. Serve with duck, pork, stews and casseroles. Hand-picked fruit given a cold soak and fermented to 14.0% alc., the wine aged in 25% new French oak barriques. Certified BioGro organic.

Wine Orbit – Sam Kim
Fragrant and complex, the engaging bouquet shows dark cherry, floral, game and subtle truffle notes. It’s ripe and beautifully weighted on the palate with rich texture and superb intensity, leading to an expansive finish well supported by plenty of supple tannins. Lovely harmony and balance. At its best: now to 2018.
5 Stars

Sue Courtney Tweets
Here’s what Sue Courtney (at Winescribe) tweeted about Urlar Pinot Noir 2011:
Savoury & gamey with bittersweet cherry, sensual silkiness, deep smoky spiciness, underlying freshness.

Peter Saunders
Not a heavy style this vintage yet carrying its Pinot flavours very well and with some elegance. The typical Urlar subtlety, a very approachable silky texture and the wine will continue to unfold over the next two or three years.

Winestate Tasting by Micahel Cooper
Rich, instantly appealing wine from the northern Wairarapa, full-coloured and generous, deep and finely textured. Very ripe and savoury, with dense, sweet fruit and lovely weight, balance and length.
5 Stars

Wine Orbit – Sam Kin
It’s delightfully fragrant on the nose displaying red/dark cherry, spice, dried herb and game characters. The palate is beautifully ripe and engaging with silky texture, excellent mid palate weight and fine, chalky tannins. An outstanding wine full of character and style, and shows lovely harmony and firm structure. At its best: now to 2015. 14.5% Screw cap. Grapes are grown using biodynamic principles and in conversion to organic certification.
4.5 Stars

Winestate Magazine
We were very pleased to read in the latest edition of Winestate Magazine that our Urlar Pinot Noir 2009 was voted top Wairarapa Pinot Noir (equal with Palliser Estate’s Pinot Noir 2008). The judges were Michael Cooper, Simon Nunns and Corey Hall who awarded the maximum 5 stars. They wrote “Rich, instantly appealing wine from the northern Wairarapa, full-coloured and generous, deep and finely textured. Very ripe and savoury, with dense, sweet fruit and lovely weight, balance and length.”

John Saker
Shy nose, Palate is forward and energetic, red & dark fruit, good depth, awkward texture, but good length

Raymond Chan
Does the wider Wairarapa behave similarly in vintage expression? The general belief is ‘yes’. If so, there will be a great debate over whether 2008 or 2009 is the better vintage. For Angus Thomson and Guy McMaster, 2009 is the preferred, as the 2008 warmth gave a bigger, more powerful wine. Size isn’t everything… Deepish, purple-hued ruby red, this has a refined, tight aromatic nose of enticingly sweet and ripe red berry fruits with dark fruit and oak spices adding interest. The perfumed expression is reinforced on the palate. Fine and elegantly proportioned, this has intensity and concentration with real refinement that belies the 14.5% alc. Fine-grained tannins lend suppleness and this allows the fruit to feature. The 25% new French barrique maturation is perfect and will add shine over the next 5-7 years. Roast duck will be the best food match.

Cameron Douglas – Hospitality Magazine
Nose: A lovely expression of pinot – an iron fist in a velvet glove springs to mind – generous and ripe fruits with both dark and light cherry then a surge of youthful oak and florals followed by whispers of herb. There is also a terrior note with a ripe soil and mineral aroma.
Palate: Dry, tight and youthful, a wine to follow and watch mature over the next few years. The flavours reflect the nose with weighted generosity on the palate and a focus on the fruit flavours mid palate, dusty yet to integrate tannins and quite a long finish.

New Zealand Listener – Michael Cooper
This richly scented, deeply coloured red is flourishing with bottle age, unfolding cherry, plum and spice flavours; it possesses lovely vibrancy, concentration and complexity.
5 Stars

Jamie Goode drinks Urlar Pinot Noir at Hakkasan
Here’s what Jamie Goode says about Urlar’s 2008 Pinot Noir at Hakkasan, London’s famed Chinese/fusiony restaurant; Urlar Pinot Noir 2008 Gladstone, Wairarapa, New Zealand.
“This is a delicious young, full bodied Pinot Noir with reach, meaty, spicy dark cherry and plum fruit. Lots of presence and admirable freshness with cherries, plums and spice on the palate. 91/100″
Click here to see the original article.

Harpers Wine & Spirit Magazine
Here’s what some wine and food critics are saying about Urlar’s 2008 Pinot Noir. Urlar Pinot Noir 2008 – Paired with Shitake, enoki and shimeji mushrooms mixed together, wrapped in cheung fun pastry and steamed. “Mushrooms are well understood to be a great friend of Pinot Noir,” explained Parkinson, who went on to describe the wine as “very capable”. “It has purity of fruit and a delicious texture but it’s also got leathery, savoury notes and some minerality,” she said. Barden favoured its “intoxicating nose” and Rousset summed up the wine as “very elegant”. Chaniac pinpointed Urlar as one of his favourite matches, with “animal as well as leather notes, which worked very well with the dish, especially with the mushrooms”. “The very upfront sweetness also worked well,” he said.