Opera in the Vines

Part of the 2017 opera concert crowd in the Pegasus Bay natural amphitheatre

It was raining when we left Christchurch one morning earlier in the year and it looked as though it had set in for the day. It was a short journey but, when we arrived at Pegasus Bay Vineyard, Winery and Restaurant, the sky was blue, the sun was shining brightly and the day was warm. Even before we got out of the car, we could hear the lilting refrain of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO) wafting on the breeze to greet us. It was the most welcoming of sounds. The musicians were busy rehearsing under the baton of Maestro Benjamin Northey in preparation for the PwC Opera Concert that afternoon. What a wonderful afternoon of music and singing it was. The enthusiastic crowd rested on the slopes of the natural amphitheatre, eating, drinking and imbibing the magic of the day as Jarrod Holt, Kiwi baritone and previous Lexus song contest winner, Madeleine Pierard, NZ soprano currently living in London and James Eggleston, Australian tenor, gave a masterful and bewitching demonstration of their art and versatility. They ranged from the classics to the modern accompanied by an orchestra that was beautifully sensitive and attuned to the voices and songs.

The happy spectators left feeling musically satiated and replete but as they approached Christchurch all could see a pall of grey cloud hovering over the city. They were surprised that it had rained there most of the day but that is why most North Canterbury vineyards are based in the Waipara Valley. It’s a tale of two climates!

The CSO in partnership with NZ Opera will be putting on another PwC opera concert at Pegasus Bay on 3 February 2018. It will be under the baton of Kahu Matheson and will feature Amelia Berry, soprano, Henry Choo, tenor and James Ioelu, baritone. We would be delighted to see you there. There will be a special three course feasting-style meal at our multiple award-winning restaurant before the concert but as places are limited it is as well to reserve early. Please feel free to bring a picnic. The conditions of our license do not permit BYO alcoholic beverages. All bookings for the concert and the preconcert meal should be made at www.cso.co.nz.

Fresh as Fresh

At our multiple award-winning Pegasus Bay restaurant, it is our aim to give you the best dining experience that we can, using the freshest and tastiest seasonal produce that is sourced locally whenever possible. And what could be more local than our own gardens and orchards? We can’t grow everything ourselves but over the years we have been increasing the amounts and varieties of food that we supply to our restaurant to an extent that you could say that we have become potty about it; potty about our potager. As an adjective, the French word potager simply means “for the pot” but, as a noun, it signifies a garden for the kitchen. Our chefs are always raiding it for your meals so, should you find it looking rather picked over, we apologise, but it is better to have it this way than looking pristine and never used. We grow over 20 different types of herbs and vegetables, including the exotic, such as kaffir limes, the old fashioned, like horseradish, globe artichokes and rhubarb, as well as kitchen staples, e.g. parsley, chives, thyme, fennel and coriander. We are now looking forward to getting our first truffles from our truffière.

Take a stroll round our gardens and you will see a great variety of fruit trees and bushes, the produce of which also ends up in our restaurant. We have lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges, tangelos, at least 10 varieties of figs, currants, gooseberries, blueberries, quinces, pears, nashi pears, apples, plums, mulberries, loquats, apricots, peaches, olives and nuts, including sweet chestnuts. All these things could end up on our menu so please ask about them when you come to dine and feel free to chat up the gardeners or chefs who are often pottering about.

But we almost forgot to mention our grape vines! The Pegasus Bay wines that we match with our dishes are grown in our adjacent vineyards so they are also very local. Come and try the true North Canterbury experience. It is best to reserve lunch by ringing 03 314 6869 ext 1 to make certain of a place but feel free to drop in to the tasting room at any time. We would be delighted to see you.

Paula Kelly and Chris Donaldson working in the potager

We are delighted to announce that on 28 January 2018 the inaugural Vine Run will be held at Pegasus Bay with proceeds going to the NZ Brain Research Institute. Many people will know my father’s other obsession, apart from my mother and wine, has been neurology, and he’s been on the board of that Institute since its inception. It’s exciting to be able to plan a new event that will not only promote fitness and fun, but also support the Institute. The Vine Run will have both 6km and 10km options available, which entrants can either run or walk. The course will take you through the vineyards and surrounding land, before finishing on the lawns in front of the winery where people can enjoy a picnic, glass of wine and listen to some live music. The idea is to get together with family and friends and have a bit of fun, however, you can take it as seriously as you like! This is a fantastic opportunity to get behind the scenes at Pegasus Bay and also help support a very worthy cause.
Mike Donaldson - Race Director

For further details visit www.vinerun.co.nz

Put Pegasus Pinot in your Decanter

In the last newsletter, we told you that highflying Australian wine writer, Tyson Stelzer, in his extensive review of Australian and New Zealand wines, named Pegasus Bay 2013 Pinot Noir as the top wine that he had tasted during the year that sold for under A$80 across the ditch. Last year, the U.K.’s top wine magazine, Decanter, evaluating a line-up of 116 Kiwi Pinots, placed the same wine in the top bracket (“outstanding”) along with only 6 others. In a similar extensive Decanter write-up of New Zealand Pinots from the 2014 vintage, Pegasus Bay, along with only two other wines, was given the top score of 96/100 (19/20) points. Guess what? The only vineyard name that was at the top in both Decanter evaluations was Pegasus Bay, and the 2014 has just been released to you, our mail order customers, in this newsletter.

The Truant and The Vintner

There is an old saying; “ask and it shall be given” and, like many things in this life, it contains more than a grain of truth. Both The Truant from Medicine and The Vintners Table resulted from us being asked by publishers if we would assist them with the preparation of books about our vineyard and winery. The former a light-hearted account of how a decent young doctor was seduced to the dark side and describes how a budding young neurologist, after many trials, tribulations and a fair bit of fun along the way, ended up as a winemaker. To help pay for his sins the “truant” is donating proceeds from his book to the New Zealand Brain Research Institute. In the second tome, the multiple award-winning Pegasus Bay restaurant called on five of their previous head chefs to reveal their weapons. Dazzling photographs are deliberately strewn throughout this book, which contains the famous fives most closely guarded culinary secrets. Should you be so unfortunate as to not have copies of these, don’t despair because this can be remedied. They are both available on the mail order and would make splendid Christmas presents.

The G.I.s are coming to Canterbury and Waipara

G.I. has been the moniker for many things in its time and in the US military it originally referred to “galvanised iron” but was subsequently used for “Government Issue” or “General Issue”. Later it became a term applied to soldiers, sailors and airmen, in fact anyone in or related to the US armed services. In British military parlance it simply applies to “Gunnery Instructor”. To the medical profession the initials stand for “Gastrointestinal” and in social media parlance “Good Idea”. In the world of wine, it is new speak for “Geographical Indicator” and as you are reading this you should be aware that Kiwi G.I.s are heading directly towards you, the wine enthusiast.

Many countries already have G.I.s that entitle winemakers to use regional names for wines made from grapes grown within tightly defined areas. Perhaps the best known is “Champagne”, which can only be applied to wines from a strictly limited area of France, but there are very many other examples. Our government has now passed the appropriate legislation to enable G.I.s to be registered in New Zealand. Pegasus Bay will be within the area of North Canterbury. There are defined sub-regions within the G.I. of North Canterbury, one of which is the Waipara Valley, where our vineyards are situated. Waipara has tended to be muddled with the many other Kiwi place names that start with “Wai-” and especially with the North island wine region of Wairarapa. The new G.I. allows us to avoid such confusion and we will now be largely promoting our wines as coming from North Canterbury but be assured we haven’t pulled out our Waipara vineyards and transplanted them somewhere else. We would need an army of G.I.s to do that!

Friends or relatives in the UK?

What better way to wish people in the UK a happy festive season by arranging for them to be delivered a gift of Pegasus Bay wine.  The service is also available throughout the year; so simple but yet so classy.  Just email: service@mustwines.com

Wednesday 6 December
5pm - 7pm
QT Museum Hotel
Tamburini Room
90 Cable Street
ph (04) 802 8900

Thursday 7 December
5pm - 7pm
Hilton Hotel
Aquamarine Room 3
147 Quay Street
ph (09) 978 2036

Thursday 14 December
5pm - 7pm
The George Hotel
Parkview Room
50 Park Terrace
ph (03) 379 4560


All orders placed on the night will go into 2 draws for a chance to WIN!
1st draw - Magnum of Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir
2nd draw - Magnum of Pegasus Bay Aria

 Please bring any interested friends

From the Prescription Pad

An astute American politician, perhaps it was president Roosevelt, said he would invest his money in farming when they put roofs over farms. As a winemaker, I can understand his sentiment because viticulturists, like farmers, seldom seem to be happy with what mother nature dishes up in the way of weather. Is it just because we are moaners or do we have a just reason to complain? I can’t answer for all who depend on the land to make a crust but grape growers and winemakers do have fairly stringent requirements for what constitutes the perfect season and not surprisingly they are not all met very often. This doesn’t mean that you can’t produce a decent wine most years but to have all the stars perfectly aligned might happen only once a decade. I have written plenty of prescriptions in my time but if I had to write one for the weather of the 2018 vintage, what would it be?

The building blocks the 2018 vintage were actually laid down in late 2016 and early 2017, during the growing season that produced the 2017 vintage. It was in that summer that the embryonic structures, which determine the number of flowers on a vine, were laid down in small buds that remained tightly closed over the winter of 2017. The weather that summer had been warm, which means that the potential flower and hence grape berry numbers for the 2018 vintage are good. My prescription for the winter of 2017 would have been for plenty of rain because North Canterbury had experienced three years of drought prior to that and groundwater reserves were low. As it turned out, we got just what the doctor would have ordered with a wet winter and enough frosts to help kill some of the vine’s insect pests.

A grape grower is usually happy with a slow start to spring, during which the buds swell, split their hard outer-capsules and reveal their fluffy white interiors, because these are tender and easily damaged by frost. The time of the first “bud burst”, as this growing process is called, can vary for us by as much as three weeks from one year to the next. Naturally, the later the date of bud burst the lesser risk of a spring frost. At first sight, it seems curious that the Ides of September are frost prone but the Ides of March are not. Let me remind you that the Ides are the midway points between the longest and shortest days so, given that the hours of daylight during the spring and autumn Ides are identical, you might reasonably expect the same risk of frost. This is not the case and the autumn Ides are frost free. In New Zealand, frost usually occurs at the tail end of a southerly gale that dies out later in the day, parking a mass of cold Antarctic air over the country with insufficient sunshine hours to warm the environment before nightfall. Southerly storms are more common in spring and they are cooler because the Antarctic is colder coming out of winter than when coming out of summer. Hence, the greater risk of a spring frost. If the sky is clear at night the temperature drops by about 1°C every hour and this occurs at any time in the year, independent of latitude. Should the temperature drop below 0°C the water vapour in the air freezes, causing a frost. Grape leaves, shoots and flower buds are very frost tender, which means that the water inside them freezes, damaging or killing plant cells.

Without a frost, spring is the most wonderful time in the vineyard as tiny pale green leaves, sometimes with a splash of red on the tips, timidly poke their way out of the swollen buds and the skeletal, dead-looking plants show signs of life. As the days unfold, this tentative exploration by the vine becomes a verdant riot. As different vine varieties come into leaf at varying times, a glorious green wave appears to sweep across the top of the vines, breasting hills and filling hollows. It’s exciting but also nerve racking because lurking around the corner is Jack Frost, who, in a couple of hours, could wreak havoc and total disaster.

Just about every Kiwi grape grower needs a frost management plan, including people as far north as Auckland. Most frosts in New Zealand are of the inversion type, which signifies that the coldest air is at ground level and it gets warmer as you go upwards. This is the inverse of the normal situation but it means that you can fight the frost by bringing warm air down and spreading it around the vineyard, using a helicopter or a wind machine. You can also fight frost by sprinkling your vines with water, which releases a small amount of heat as it freezes. If you continue to apply water, it will hold the temperature at 0°C and, as damage only occurs below this level, they will be safe. We use both of these methods of frost protection at the Pegasus Bay Vineyard. Our main spring frost risk occurs during September and October but rogue dog frosts can chase after their southerly masters even into the month of November. Frost over winter doesn’t hurt the vines because they are deciduous.

My prescription for December would surely suit all Kiwis; keep calm and carry on (being warm, that is). But I have an additional requirement that may not be what you personally want in your lead up to Christmas – it is to be dry. Why? Because this is when things get flowery! December is when most of our vineyard is in blossom and as grapes pollinate themselves, rather than relying on insects, they don’t like wind or rain that will blow or wash away their pollen. When a male pollen grain lands on the sticky stigma in the centre of the flower, it grows a small pollen tube down into the female ovary. There, it should fertilise an ovule that will eventually become a seed. A pollen tubes only lives for about 10 hours and its rate of growth depends on the temperature. If it is too cold then the tubule won’t reach the ovule in time and there will be no seed. Plants don’t waste their time growing fruit without seeds so cold weather over flowering means a reduced crop of grapes at harvest.

Once flowering is over, however, my prescription gets a bit loose and reads, “don’t fuss about fine days but please avoid hail”. Unlike you, who are probably on holiday and keen to have a hot, fine January, I’m ambivalent. I’m generally happy to take what comes along, apart from hail. At any stage during the spring, summer and autumn, hail can damage the fruit and the leaves. Should it occur, it usually comes in December or January. Much of January is taken up by what is called the “lag phase”. This is after the fertilised berries have formed and grown a little. At that point, their growth slows or “lags” for a number of weeks and not much seems to be happening before it finally takes-off again as the fruit heads towards veraison.

Veraison is when the fruit softens, swells, ripens and “black grapes” start to turn red. For us, this usually starts at the end of January or beginning of February but it very much depends on the variety. From that time onwards, my prescription will be for warm dry weather over the next three months. Yes, New Zealand’s health regulations permit three months to be dispensed at once so such a prescription is not outrageous. In fact, mother nature’s pharmacy usually gives North Canterbury an Indian summer so I have high expectations she will dish out my request. I would be happy with a few dewy mornings in May, just to encourage some noble botrytis in late harvest white varieties, such as riesling, but I don’t want to confuse her with too many instructions. Perhaps you can see why she sometimes gets muddled and just dispenses what she has in stock rather than what I want. But then, I guess you might like to have your own prescription and it’s likely that your condition is different from mine. Perhaps it is just as well mother nature doesn’t dish out weather on request as one treatment wouldn’t be what the doctor ordered for everybody’s ills.


Recent Seasons

The 2011 vintage followed a very warm season and was one of the earliest we have experienced, producing beautiful physiological ripeness. It was a complete contrast to the following season and 2012 was one of the slowest ripening vintages that we have seen. Dry weather in late autumn allowed a prolonged hang time, which produced a splendid spectrum of flavours and a lively freshness. A mild spring, a warm summer and a long lingering autumn created a perfect prelude to the 2013 vintage. Autumn rain in 2014 caused us to pick sooner than usual but the ripening had been precocious so the pinot noir was excellent. Later noble botrytis favoured the aromatic whites, such as riesling and gewürztraminers. A spring frost reduced the crop of the 2015 vintage but the rest of the growing season was excellent and the resulting wines are well balanced and have good concentration. A perfect summer and a warm dry autumn in 2016 enabled us to pick each variety at the optimum time and it has been an exceptional vintage for both reds and whites.

Current Vintages / Releases

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
Classic wine producing regions, such as Germany and Alsace, believe that riesling is their top grape variety and many international wine writers regard it as the king of white wines.  We think that the soils and climate of the Waipara Valley are ideally suited to this grape.  Our riesling has been awarded super classic status by Michael Cooper in his book Classic Wines of New Zealand and this 2015 shows why. Reviews are just starting to arrive.

5 stars 95/100 Rich, concentrated and flavoursome ... Powerful with character.
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

5 stars 18.5+/20 Elegantly rich and luscious… fine textured, refreshingpalate… long lingering finish. 
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

93/100 Wild flowers, honeysuckle and a dash of marmalade… delicate complexity… lengthy finish.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

PEGASUS BAY RIESLING 2007 - Special Aged Release

2007 crop levels were considerably less than normal due to blustery weather conditions over flowering but this gave special richness and flavour to the well ripened fruit.  As always, we aimed to maintain the wine’s integrity and purity by sensitive wine making. The fermentation has been stopped off-dry with plenty of natural acidity to keep it lively and crisp.  This aged release has recently been given 5 stars by the reviewers.

5 stars 19+/20 The flavours unfold in layers ... exotic ... enjoy marvelling at the complex development ... bright palate finishing dry.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ 

5 stars Full of vigour ... lovely poise and energy ... promises to be very long-lived.
Michael Cooper, michaelcooper.co.nz NZ 


As mentioned under ‘Recent Seasons’ this was an exceptional vintage. This wine is unashamedly made in the big boned Alsatian style.

5 stars Very classy… Beautifully perfumed… Powerful… Well spiced… Full of personality… Delicious. 
Winestate Magazine AUS

5 stars 18.5+/20 Exotic tropical fruits, root ginger, Turkish delight… Rich, luscious, powerful… Medium dry. 
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars Powerful… Beautifully perfumed… Unusual complexity and harmony… Delicious. 
Michael Cooper, michaelcooper.co.nz NZ


The normal practice in Bordeaux is to blend sauvignon blanc with semillon to give more complexity, tone down the dominating herbaceous characters, add richness and enable it to age.  This makes it a true table wine that can be enjoyed with food rather than the highly perfumed kiwi sauvignon that is ideal as a  beverage to be sipped at a party.

Pegasus Bay is one of a handful of New Zealand wineries to follow the Bordelaise in this tradition, including wild fermentation by the grapes indigenous yeasts, and aging on it yeast deposit (sur lie) for 6 months, the semillon portion being in old French oak barrels. This fills out the palate, adds a creamy texture and gives the wine more complexity. Accordingly, we hold this wine back and regularly release it when much sauvignon blanc of the same vintage is going over the hill.

91+/100 Fascinating… leaves the taste buds quivering… smooth, dry, long… an infant. 
Stephen Tanzer, vinous.com USA

91/100 Intensely scented, honey drizzle peaches, lemon marmalade, musk perfume… Medium – full-bodied, decadent… Great persistence. 
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, erobertparker.com USA

91/100  Intoxicating bouquet .... firm, dry, packed with flavour, long finish ... Delicious.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

4.5 stars …Concentrated, ripe peach and passionfruit… Excellent complexity… Rich, dry finish… Very distinctive. 
Michael Cooper, michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

4.5 stars Powerful, complex, fragrant, full body... delicious. 
Winestate Magazine AUS


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
Pegasus Bay Chardonnays come from old low yielding vines that tend to produce a very concentrated wine. In the tradition of great white Burgundy, these wines are fermented in French puncheons by the grapes’ natural micro-organisms and aged on lees for 18 months. We use only a minority of new barrels to minimize any oak character and emphasize the power of the fruit.

5 stars  Distinguished… palate weighty, sweet-fruited and smooth… long, savoury… delicious.. 
Winestate Magazine AUS

18.5/20 It’s not often you find a chardonnay as good as this one… complex, dry, richly flavoursome… super delicious… outstanding potential. 
Joelle Thompson, Drinksbiz Magazine NZ

5 star 18.5/20 Elegantly concentrated… Intense and complex flavoured. 
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars Outstanding, sophisticated… one of the country’s best Chardonnays… Very generous… Seamless. 
Michael Cooper, michaelcooper.co.nz, Listener Magazine NZ

PEGASUS BAY MUSCAT 2016 - New Release

We have a tiny plot of muscat à petits grains, a variety that is used in Alsace and the Rhône Valley. It is used to make Muscat Beaumes de Venise in the latter place (see Fortissimo). This 2016 Muscat has the intensity of Muscat Beaumes de Venise but is made in a drier style. We restrict sale to our mail order and cellar door customers. We think it is very special but as it is not a general release we do not have any reviews. Here are some cellar notes.

“Baked pears, pawpaw, citrus flowers, organge zest, cinnamon, root ginger and butterscotch … mouth filling and unctuous… seam of minerality and a tangy acidity balance its off-dry finish”.


This is only the second Pegasus Bay Pinot Gris that we have released and it was the result of exceptional vintage conditions (see under ‘Recent Seasons’). This botrytic wine was fermented and aged for 18 months on its natural yeast lees in old French oak puncheons and made somewhat in the style of an Alsatian Vendange Tardive or Selection des Grains Nobles. The reviews are just starting to appear.

Top Value. The Donaldson family of Waipara sure know how to make pinot gris… Toasty, creamy/buttery nose… toffee, apricot… maple syrup… long and rich with a good finish. 
WineNZ Magazine NZ

Excellent. Beeswax, honey, fig and marzipan… Utterly different but fascinating. 
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ

93/100 Quite floral… White pepper and freshly baked pears and apples… Creamy, lush, sweet and delicious. 
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, 
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

Deliciously concentrated… baked quince and baked pear… works magically with blue cheese. 
Dish Magazine NZ


We use traditional Burgundian techniques to make our pinot noir, including natural primary and secondary fermentations by indigenous micro-organisms. Primary fermentation is carried out in small vats that are gently plunged manually to avoid excessive extraction. This wine is then matured for 18 months in oak barriques from artisan Burgundian coopers. While only a baby, this is already starting to strut its stuff and it was one of only three top scoring kiwi Pinot Noirs in a line up in UK's Decanter Magazine (see "Put Pegasus in Your Decanter").  Although it is being released for the first tme in this newsletter a couple opf reviewers have had a crack at it.

96/100 Wow! Fabulous, complex bouquet of broody dark red berries, layers of mineral and savoury nuances ... Juicy, lush, generous and complex ... Very fine tannins.
Decanter Magazine, UK

95/100  Rich, ripe ... dense... plum, liquorice and Christmas cake flavours ... underlyging power and a lengthly finish
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

5 stars  18.5/20  Gently concentrated, harmonious ... Complex, Savoury, smooth.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ


Magnum 1.5 lt
96/100 A sense of real depthnoble tannins and the sort of structural complexity and completeness that is the envy of most other NZ pinot noir makers. 
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars 93/100 Full-flavoured… plum, spice, black cherry, floral/violet… savoury and mineral. Mouth filling with obvious power and a lengthy finish. Consistently top wine. 
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

92+/100 Stunning perfume… Beautifully elegant and ethereal… silky tannins… Finishes long. 
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, erobertparker.com USA


Jeroboam 3 lt
As this is from one of the hottest summers that we have experienced, it was born with a big structure and it has needed time to show its best.  This i has now done by being left to slowly mature in a big bottle.  We think it has developed beautifully.  Here are reviews from when it was first released.

93/100 Lifted spicy cherry ... Lively and driven on the palate ... Great... lingering finish
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com USA

90/100 ... Wild on the palate... Complex flavours of red currant, raspberry, pomegranate and spices... energetic wine. Vintage in and vintage out, Pegasus Bay makes one of New Zealand's finest pinots. 
Steve Tanzer, internationalwinecellar.com USA

91/100  Intense and moderately complex... plum, dark berry, raspberry, dark chocolate, spice and savoury flavours ... Richly textured with a very slight rustic influence that helps make it stand out from the crowd.
Bob Campbell MW, bobswinereviews.com  NZ


We make this blend of traditional Bordeaux claret grapes in the Bordelaise manner with pump-over and aeration of juice during fermentation, followed by maturation in French oak barriques for 18 months. It was clarified by racking it off its natural yeast deposit on several occasions prior to bottling. As this wine was from a very warm year it is only just starting to flex its muscles. 

5 stars … Blackcurrant… black plum and juicy red currant… finely judged powdery tannins… Excellent length. 
Winestate Magazine. AUS

Excellent. Perfumed red fruits, tangy berry and chocolate Deceptively powerful: appealing now but with potential.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times. NZ

92/100  Aromas of dark cherry, plum... blackberry... complex and intriguing... Palate equally enticing... adding complextity and fine tannins. 
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, 
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ


Magnum 1.5 lt
This wine was made in the same way as the 2013 mentioned above. Although it comes from a cooler season, the Indian summer and the prolonged hang time (see under "Recent Seasons') have produced a wine that has surprising ripe fruit "sweetness".  It has matured nicely in magnum and is ready to drink.  Here are some of our cellar notes from a recent tasting to give you some idea of its development:

"... Ripe fruit flavours, suggesting purple plum, cassis and wild blackberry, supported by a underlay of cigar smoke, vanilla pod, chocolate mocha and spice... lively charm without being ponderous but with a satisfyingly dry finish".


Exceptional vintage conditions in late autumn (see under ‘Recent Seasons’) meant that merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc did not have the concentration for long ageing and we thus did not make any Pegasus Bay Merlot Cabernet 2014. The earlier ripening Malbec, however, was picked in perfect condition and has made an exceptional wine. This is the first time we have made it as a single varietal. As it has only been released to our mail order customers, we do not have any wine reviews but we think it is pretty smart. Here are our cellar notes:

Purple plums, blackberries, cranberries… savoury hint of freshly roasted coffee beans and roasted game.… Unashamedly mouth filling, broad shouldered and muscular, plush tannins… spicy finish”.

Reserve Wines

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


Bel Canto is possible to make only in certain years. It is made from riesling with almost the same ripeness as that used for Aria, but it is fermented to dryness. Because of the low crop this wine has extra concentration. Despite its youth, it is certainly ready to drink but it will cellar well. 

94/100 Enticing… core of citrus flavours… Manuka honey, wildflowers and minerality, lovely… long. 
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

93/100  Flavoursome with honey, toast, ginger and floral flavours... A rich and complex wine that should develop well. 
Bob Campbell MW, bobswinereviews.com  NZ

5 stars 18.5/20  Dense heart packed with harmoniously integrated flavours ... Real body and persistence.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ


Magnum 1.5 lt
Because of the vintage conditions this wine had more noble botrytis than the Bel Canto above.

5 stars 95/100 Complex with apricots, honey, spice, clove floral and citrus characters… Gives a nod in the direction of Alsace.
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

19/20 Harmoniously intertwined flavours of ripe citrus fruits, marmalade, honey, musk and minerality. Smooth texture with considerable power and drive. 
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars Outstanding… Full-bodied white with all the richness and complexity of the great chardonnay Deliciously long finish. 
Joelle Thompson, Drinksbiz Magazine. NZ


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
Over the years, this late harvest riesling has been one of our most popular wines but is made only in special vintages.  2014 was definitely one of such (see under 'Recent Seasons'), in making this wine we hand-selected only bunches that had 30% or more of noble botrytis.

5 stas 19/20 Exotic, citrus fruits and florals flow with honey and musk. Excellent acidity and tension to match the unctuousness. 
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars 95/100 Peach, honey, mango, pineapple, liquorice and exotic spice. Yum! 
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

5 stars Wow… Luscious, tangy, honeysuckle and spice soaked… Cleansing yet indulgent at the same time. 
Yvonne Lorkin, yvonnelorkin.com NZ

93/100 Bold and rich… Honey, syrup, sweet citrus apple tart and poached orchard fruits. Delicious. 
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, 
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ 

Excellent.  Distinctivly different ... Fasinatingly complex.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, NZ


375 ml
It is possible to make this riesling, which is in the style of an Alsatian Selection des Grains Nobles or German Trockenbeerenauslese, only in very special years and this is only the third vintage that we have produced since 2011. Late in the season we carefully hand selected only the most perfectly shrivelled botrytic fruit and the small amount of juice that we obtained was left to slowly ferment at a low temperature over the winter and spring. As this wine has only recently been released we have only received one review.

5 stars 18.5/20  Concentrated core of ripe exotic tropical fruits... deliciously rich, nearly unctuous... lingering finish.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ


375 ml
Finale is made in the style of French Sauternes and is a blend of semillon and sauvignon blanc.

We selected only the most beautifully noble botrytic berries and the small amount of juice obtained was fermented in French artisan oak barriques, using the grapes’ indigenous yeasts. Subsequently the wine was matured in these barrels.

94/100 Fantastic! Delicious, honeyed, oozing flavour and texture… Citrus and stone fruit… Long finish. 
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, 
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

5 stars Super-rich peach and apricot… Oily texture, lush raisiny, superbly sustained finish. 
Winestate Magazine. AUS

EXCELLENT A flavour explosion in the mouth… Honey, orange and then toffee. 
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times. NZ


375 ml
This wine is made in the style of Muscat Beaumes de Venise (see Pegasus Bay Muscat) and is what the French call a Vin Doux Naturel or wine natural sweetness.

A small amount of spirit is added to stop the fermentation and retain some of the grapes natural sugars. We have made only a tiny amount and as it is solely available through our cellar door and this mailing list we do not have any wine reviews but here are some cellar notes.

Tropical fruits, lychee, quince, spice, citrus, zest and curd… opulent and rich.”


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
Made in the same way as the Pegasus Bay Chardonnay2015 (mentioned above) this wine is selection of the barrels that we feel best express the vintge and our terroir.

As it is being released for the first time on this newsletter we do not have any reviews but here are our cellar notes.

"Citrus and stone fruits (peach and nectarine) with underlying savoury impressions of brioche, toast and struck match complexity.  Mouthy filling and powerful with a core of minerality and acidity which draws out the finish".


We only produce Prima Donna Pinot Noir in exceptional years (see 'Put Pegasus in Your Decanter') and 'Recent Seasons' 2013 was certainly one such.  It was made in the same way as Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2014 mentioned above.  Prima Donna is a blend of the barrels that we feel best reflect the vintage and our unique terroir.  As ususal, it mainly comes from our oldest, lowest cropping vines that are non-grafted.  As is being released for the first time in this newsletter the reviews are only starting to appear but this is what leading UK wine writer Matthew Jukes has to say about it.

"It is one of the greatest wines that I have ever seen from this country.  Satiate your palate ... and cement this wine in your mind for all time".


Magnum 1.5 lt
97/100  Defined, articulate ... red cherries, dark spices earth and fine chocolate... Will age magnificently.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars Powerful, silky textured … Plum, spice and nut … Strong sense of depth and potential… Already lovely but should be long-lived. 
Michael Cooper, Buyers’ Guide to New Zealand Wines 2014. NZ

93/100 Rich perfume… Complex… Savoury… Lengthy finish. 
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, 
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

92/100 Great core of tense, tight flavours… Firm fine tannins and great length. 
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, erobertparker.com USA


Jeroboam 3 lt
95/100 Powerful mix of flavours with a haunting floral note… Intriguing savoury/forest/rustic character. Delicious.
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

93/100  Complex…terrific depth and intensity…solid tannic spine for ageing.
Steve Tanzer, internationalwinecellar.com USA

5 stars Great finesse… savoury, supple... deep plum, cherry, spice and nut ... Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ.
Michael Cooper, Buyers’ Guide to New Zealand Wines 2014. NZ


750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
As with Prima Donna, Maestro is prodced only in special years and this is the first we have produced since 2009.  As usual, this one is a blend of the barrels of merlot, cabernet and malbec that we feel best reflect the vintage and our terrior.  As it is being released for the first time on his newsletter we do not have any reviews but we feel it is quite special.  Here are some cellar notes:

"Bursting with dark fruits (blackberry, blackcurrant, plum) intertwined with complexing elements of vanilla pod, cigar box, liquorice and black olive ... mouth filling, rich and muscular but tannins surprisingly fine grained and polished".

Download the Summer → Newsletter

Pegasus Bay

Are you over 18?

To enter this website you must be of legal drinking age.

Off Licence.
Licence Holder:Donaldson Family Limited T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
Licence no:57/OFF/458/2022 Exp:16/3/2025