Woman power! Marie, assistant winemaker at Pegasus Bay, unloads Pinot Noir skins from a vat following fermentation.

On the Problem of having a Swollen Head

Wandering about a vineyard in the grey of dawn, you may see things in a new light, especially if you have been up all-night fighting frost during the spring. At that season, the vines have no leaves and look rather like an army of small people holding their arms out to bar the way or in welcome. What your mind dishes up will depend on how a night without sleep affects you. Imagine it then, their bodies are formed by the vines’ trunks and their arms are the horizontal woody parts that will bear the coming autumn’s fruit.

A spur pruned vine

“But,” you may say, if you are very observant, “where are their heads?” It’s true that many of our little people lack what they need to think for themselves but others have heads. Why the difference? It all depends on how they have been treated.

A caned pruned "fat head"

Grapevines, like most plants, develop their flowers, and hence their fruit, from buds in the wood that grew during the previous season. When pruning in the winter, the vigneron aims to leave the number of buds that will provide the vine’s ideal crop and this usually is done in one of two ways. In the first, which is called “spur pruning”, horizontal permanent branches, called cordons, have been formed from the top of the trunk, usually one coming out of each side. From these cordons there are a series of evenly spaced “spurs” that hold the required flower and fruit bearing buds. The second method, called “cane pruning”, has no cordons. Each winter, canes, which grew from spurs at the top of the trunk the previous summer, are tied down horizontally. As with the cordons, there is usually one cane on each side of the vine and along it’s length it carries the buds for the flowers and fruit.

A "fat head" ready for a "short back and sides".

A spur pruned vine doesn’t usually have a head and over the years its arms or cordons just become thicker. Because a cane pruned vine is renewed each year from spurs on each side at the top of the trunk, however, this region tends to widen and form a “head”. As it does so, it limits the length available for the cane and eventually the head may become so wide or swollen that the vine will produce insufficient crop to make it viable. Then, it has become a “fat head”. Left to their own devices, caned pruned vines may develop extra swellings atop of the trunk, looking even more like a head. With imagination, such cane pruned vines can assume their own personalities, appearing like animal or human faces, especially in the half dark. These “beasts” become akin to the artforms of some driftwood. Around our vineyard, however those with swollen heads are liable to get cut down to size. While some “fat heads” are bald, many have a little seasonal growth and shoots may develop on their “pates”. If these shoots are central enough, we may allow them to grow over the summer. The following winter, we will just give the “fat head” a trim, a “short back and sides”, so to speak. In this way we cut it back to size and can lay down longer canes again.

A “beast” ready for the chop

Unfortunately, the heads of “beasts” contain nothing useful and can harbour all sorts of nasty stuff, rot and the like. It’s the guillotine for them,
off with their heads! It may seem harsh treatment, but we are actually saving the beasts’ mindless lives. Without our intervention they might self-destruct.

Vine Run

As you will have picked up from our last newsletter, preparations are now well underway for the second Vine Run at Pegasus Bay, due to take place on Sunday 27 January, 2019. Our sell-out inaugural event helped raise $19,000 for the NZ Brain Research Institute, and we’re hoping to do even better this time around.

Participants will once again be offered a choice of running, jogging or walking the 6km or 10km routes, with plenty of entertainment and smiling marshals along the way. Dressing up is encouraged and we hope that participants and their supporters will stay on to enjoy some live music and celebrations afterwards. Entries are strictly limited, and can be found at vinerun.co.nz

We look forward to opening the gates of Pegasus Bay once again and welcoming you on the day. Book now to avoid disappointment!
Mike & Di Donaldson – race directors

Some of the happy runners in the last Vine Run.

Introducing Vergence

Pegasus Bay wines are based on classic grape varieties vinted in the traditional ways that have made these styles world famous. This does not mean, however, that we are stuck in our ways. In fact, we are always looking for new ideas and ways to improve our wines. There are a host of unfamiliar wine styles appearing in the marketplace, many of which we have tried and, for one reason or another, found wanting. This doesn’t stop us from looking and trying new grape varieties and winemaking methods. Most turn out not to be as good as the classic and we pass them by without a backward glance. Every so often, however, something stands out. We focus on it and this is how “Vergence” was born. These wines caught our attention and we would like to let you have a look at what goes on behind the scenes Pegasus Bay, by giving you the opportunity to try them. They show the potential of variety and winemaking techniques when you think outside the square.

On this mail order we are releasing a Vergence white and a Vergence red. We made them, but they carry the “Vergence” label to show they are not typical Pegasus Bay wines. Try them side-by-side and you will see the character of each. The Vergence white is a blended wine based on semillon that has been fermented and aged in old barrels for two years. Don’t think Australian semillon here, this wine is its own beast. The Vergence red is a Pinot Noir that has been 100% whole-bunch fermented. Fermenting whole-bunches is a traditional Burgundian method that is used to give a special character to their wines, especially but not solely to increase the tannin content. Generally speaking, Burgundian wines contain only a minority, if any, whole-bunch ferment.

We think our result will surprise you. We will release other wines under the Vergence label from time to time. They won’t necessarily be made from the same varieties or with the same techniques. In fact, the only thing that we can guarantee about them is that you should find them interesting and pretty decent. Keep your eye on them!


Art in the Garden

The flying horse has always fancied itself as having a bit of an arty flair and regularly holds exhibitions of paintings and photographs. Now, it’s excited about hosting a sculpture exhibition. Through spring and into early summer, 14 works of six different sculptors are being exhibited throughout the parklike grounds that surround the Pegasus Bay Restaurant and Winery.

These compliment the statues that are permanently displayed there. If you’re lucky enough to visit over this time, pick up a brochure from the restaurant or tasting room and treat yourself to a leisurely walk by “sip and show”. We are sure you will like them and we hope to make such sculpture exhibitions an annual feature.

Chambré, sculpted by Allan O’Loughlin

Pegasus Bay Restaurant takes the Top Spot

Running a successful restaurant is all about teamwork. Behind-the-scenes, in the kitchen, the chefs work as a group to create you a special meal while the front of house staff aim to make you comfortable and satisfy your every need. But kitchen and front of house need to synchronise perfectly and work as a single team to give you a memorable dining experience rather than just another meal. That is what we attempt to do at the Pegasus Bay Restaurant. How successful we are at this is for others to judge and that they have done.

At the 2018 Christchurch Hospitality Awards the Pegasus Bay Restaurant won the awards for Best Regional Restaurant and the Supreme Establishment in Canterbury. Given that there is now a vibrant hospitality scene with more restaurants in Christchurch than before the 2010 earthquake, this makes the achievement all the more special. Imagine our team’s delight when these two top spots were announced.

We recently gained a new head chef, Jackson Smith, who is brimming with enthusiasm and new ideas but has had a solid stash of just the right kind of experience. Jackson leads the kitchen and comes to us from Craggy Range and Elephant Hill, top vineyard restaurants in Hawke’s Bay. Most recently, Malo restaurant, where he worked in Hawke’s Bay, won a Cuisine award as New Zealand’s Best Regional Restaurant and was awarded a Chef’s Hat. Ayla Latter, our Front of House Manager, leads our skilled wait staff. She is new to this job but has worked with us for several years. We welcome invigorating new skills and ideas, but consistency is also important and Belinda Donaldson, restaurant manager, provides this, overseeing and guiding both kitchen and front of house.

The team; Ayla, Jackson and Belinda.

Yes, we embrace these new changes, but will continue to use the best of fresh seasonal produce to create exciting and delicious dishes, serving them to you in the style to which you have become accustomed!

The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, although the tasting room is open, and the restaurant will be shut between 25 December and 4 January, to give our staff a break over the festive season. It is best to reserve lunch by ringing 3146869, ext 1, to avoid disappointment but feel free to drop in to the tasting room at any time between 10.30am and 5.00pm. It will be open 7/7, except for the statutory holidays. We would love to see you.

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

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

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

Thursday 13 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 Bel Canto Dry Riesling
 Please bring any interested friends

From the Prescription Pad

On a recent trip through some of the less affluent and war-torn regions of former Yugoslavia, I was told by our guide that in all the towns the tap water was potable and, indeed, this proved to be the case. Imagine my surprise when, in a Pisa restaurant, within a stone’s throw of the Leaning Tower, the owner of a restaurant refused to serve me tap water, saying “Oh, no sir, all Italian water is unfit to drink. It’s poisonous. You will have to buy a bottle of pure water.” When asked if he used bottled water for making his coffee and soup or cooking his food, he looked nonplussed. “No,” he replied, “why should I?” The contradiction seemed to have gone right over his head!

The concept that water out of the bottle is somehow superior and better for you than that out of the tap, even in the developed world, is ludicrous and fostered by the bottling companies and their publicity. It is one of the most successful con jobs in our society. In what way is bottled water better? Microbiologically? Chemically? There is a concept that the bottled product is purer. People seem to have forgotten the international recall of Perrier because of its benzene content. If tap water contains harmful contaminants, surely, we should use bottled H²O for all culinary activities.

But there is another consideration with bottled water, and that’s the environment. We all know about the dreadful contamination of the sea by plastic, and it’s more than just plastic bags. One of my sons recently went on a surfing trip to remote uninhabited Indonesian islands and the beach above the high tide mark was smothered with plastic litter, confirming what we already know; this is a worldwide scourge. There is an area approximately half the size of Australia, lying between Hawaii and the United States, which has been called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) and is a floating mass of plastic. This soup is largely invisible to the naked eye because 90% is composed of 1–5 mm degrading particles. French research suggests the GPGP contains about 1800 billion pieces of plastic smaller than a grain of rice and each 20g plastic bottle will degrade into 20,000 such fragments. Each of these can break down into millions of so-called nanoparticles that are taken up by algae and then by the plankton that eat these tiny plants. Fish eat the plankton and become “infected” by these nanoparticles. Recent research from Sweden has shown these can enter and accumulate in the brains of fish and possibly alter their behaviour. These seemingly indestructible nanoparticles can undoubtedly enter you and me and who knows what mischief they might do to us? The jury is certainly out on that question but at present it would seem wise to avoid them when possible.

Like many things these days, bottled water usually comes in plastic but this doesn’t have to be degraded to infect you with nanoparticles. In fact, brand spanking new plastic bottles are full of them. Perhaps plastic bottles of water should sport a health warning on the label to match that on wine, which is almost inevitably bottled in glass. It may be that wine is even better for your health than drinking bottled water. In bygone days wine has sometimes been safer to drink than what came out of your tap and this may have even been behind Louis Pasteur’s famous comment, “Wine is the most hygienic and healthful of beverages.”

Not everyone, however, would agree. A recent study in the Lancet, looked at studies on the consumption of alcoholic beverages and health, which had been published in 195 countries between 1990 and 2016. It was not an original epidemiological investigation itself but reviewed the published work of many other studies. It concluded that all drinking, even in small amounts, was bad for your health, as measured by risk of premature death or disability. The authors estimated that even one standard drink per day increased your risk by 1 out of 250,000. In other words, one person out of 250,000, had a risk of premature death or disability compared with a non-drinker. These results fly in the face of many other studies that have shown the existence of a so-called “J-shaped curve”, in which premature death and cardiovascular diseases are less frequent in mild-to-moderate drinkers than in teetotallers but more common in heavy drinkers.

Recently, a separate investigation has been published in the British Medical Journal showing that drinkers had a lower incidence of dementia than non-drinkers. This is not the first study to come to the same conclusion. Over 9000 British civil servants answered questionnaires on their drinking habits between 1985 and 1993, when they were aged 35 to 55. At follow-up the average age was 76 and 397 had developed dementia. After taking age, sex, ethnicity, occupational status, education and similar factors into account, the rate of dementia was 50% higher in teetotallers than those drinking between 1 to 14 standard drinks a week. Alcohol consumption above this level was associated with an increased rate of dementia, although it did not reach that in teetotallers until 42 standard drinks weekly were imbibed. In addition, the non-drinkers were more likely to have cardio-metabolic diseases, such as strokes, heart attacks and diabetes. Other research in animals has found low levels of alcohol might reduce levels of inflammation in the brain and help clear away the accumulation of two proteins in the brain, beta-amyloid and tau, which are a feature of common dementias.

Like many similar studies that appear these days, the two mentioned above make no attempt to differentiate between different types of beverages, assuming they are all the same and it is only the alcohol that could affect health, despite much evidence to the contrary. Most published research comparing the health of wine drinkers compared with those consuming other types of alcoholic drinks have found that the former are healthier and live longer. Putting this aside, however, what are we to make of these two recent studies?

With tongue in cheek, I would suggest that one interpretation could be that even if it was true that you live a little longer as a teetotaller, your chances of remembering your remaining days could likely be reduced. This could be just as well, as I suspect they might be rather dull. After all, Galileo, who knew more about the universe than most, said “Wine is just sunshine, held together by water” and we all need a bit of sunshine in our lives.


Recent Seasons

The summer of 2008 was excellent and autumn humidity favoured the development of noble botrytis in riesling. 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
In some classic wine producing regions, such as Germany and Alsace, 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. Jancis Robinson MW had this to say about it.  Tastes like mature vines with real depth of flavour.

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, refreshing palate… long lingering finish. 
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

93/100 Off-dry and packed with richness ...Wealth of ripe peach and mango ... Really weighty and concentrated
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

PEGASUS BAY RIESLING 2008 - Special Aged Release

Noble botrytis has made this a special wine and it cellared perfectly.  We have held back a small amount to give you, our special customers, a chance to try this aged gem.

GOLD MEDAL Exotically intense ... Full-bodied, off-dry.
Sommelier Wine Awards, imbibe.com, UK

5 stars Probably most obviously five-star wine tasted in quite awhile.
Giles Hind, TiZwine.com

Top 10 One of my top 10 Favourite wines in the last year.
Geoff Last, Calgary Herald, CA


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

96/100  Explodes with flavour and texture .... A fantastic wine!
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

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


This classic French blend is more than just a punch in the snout from a bunch of herbs on steroids that follow up by hijacking the flavours off your plate.  It's a true table wine that will complement rather than compete with your food.  The sauvignon blanc flavours have been refined and the palate filled out and rounded off by the semillon, which also adds complexity, palate length and longevity.  There is no hurry to drink this wine and we hold it back to give some bottle maturity prior to offering it.  As this is being released for the first time on this newsletter we have only received one review.

93/100 Very alluring bouquet ... Crisp and dry with core of ripe citrus anmd apple flavours ... Complexity ... Length and finish.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ


Pegasus Bay Chardonnays come from old low yielding vines that tend to produce a very concentrated wine. In the tradition of great white Burgundy, the juice is fermented in French puncheons by the grapes’ natural micro-organisms and aged on lees for 18 months. This had produced a flinty, gun-smoke complexity which adds a savoury element. We have used only a minority of new barrels to minimize any oak character and emphasize the power of the fruit.  As it has recently been released we have received only two reviews.

5 stars 19/20  Deep and densely packed core with a layer of mealy-nutty and flinty-mineral elements ... rich and luscious ... underlying power ... very long finish.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars 95/100 Fresh amd flavoursome ... Marmalade, apricot, peach, brioche and flinty mineral flavours ... Complex ... Great texture and very lengthy finish.
Bob Campbell MW. therealreview.com NZ

Intense, urgent style ... Flinty complexity tones down over time ... Bright with attrctive sweetness and poise.


Magnum 1.5 lt
This was made in the same way as the 2016 Chardonnay mentioned above.

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


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. As we restrict sale to our mail order and cellar door customers we usually don't get reviews

92/100  Exotic perfume ... Fleshy, juicy and spicy ... Plenty of acidity with satin and coarse silk textures.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ


We use traditional Burgundian techniques to make our pinot noirs, 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. 

96/100 Super vibrant ... Forest Floor, toasted spices ... A core of pristine dark cherry ... Effortless depth that singles this out as a consistently great New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars 19+/20  Beautifully elegant and harmonious, vibrant ... Dark red fruits ... Savoury plums, dark herbs and frangrant florals ... Long and sustained.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars Boldly aromatic in the darker fruited spectrum ... Blackberry, currant, plum, star anise, liquorice ... Long and generous ... Plenty of potential.  
Winestate Magazine AUS


Magnum 1.5 lt
This Pinot and the others mentioned below were made in the same way as the 2015 above but they have been held back before release because of the larger bottles.  At a large tasting of New Zealand pinot noirs held by Decanter Magazine in London, it was one of only a handful that was rated as "outstanding".  It has also been rated as the best New Zealand and Australian wine uder $A80 (750 ml) tasted during 2017.

96/100 Focused red cherry ... Impeccably mineral ... Grand finish ... Masterfully crafted expression of an exceptional site.
Tyson Stelzer's Australian and New Zealand Wines of the year 2017, tysonstelzer.com AUS

95/100  Vibrant with floral nuances ... Suave structure and poise, showing layers and layers of intensity.
Philip Tuck, MW, Decanter Magazine UK

5 stars 96/100 Silken textural wine ... Extraordinarily lingering finish demonstrating real power.  Supremely elegant. 
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

94/100  Spicy, savoury and fruity all at once ... Undeniable personality and charisma.
Gary Walsh, winefront.com AUS


Jeroboam 3 lt
This wine has now matured beautifully in the large bottle format and is now just the thing for that special celebration. 

96/100  A sense of real depth ... mobile tannins and the sort of structual complexity and completeness that is the envy of most other NZ pinot noir makers.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars  91/100  Full-flavoured ... plum, spice,black cherry, floral/violet ... savoury and mineral.  Mouthfilling with obvious power and a lengthy finish.  Consistently top wine.
Bob Campbell MW, bobswinereviews.com  NZ

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


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.  

5 stars 18.5+/20  Concentrated ... Blackberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants,... spice Refined ...vibrant palate
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars  Dark, weighty ... Complexity ... Concentrated ... Depth and harmony.
Michael Cooper, The Listener Magazine NZ

92/100  Bold and enticing bouquet ... Complexity and muscle ... Ripe and loaded with flavour ... Plenty of length and finish.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ


Magnum 1.5 lt
This wine was made in the same way as the 2016 mentioned above. It was awarded five stars in Australia's Winestate Magazine, not bad going, considering the strength of the Aussie competition.

5 stars Delightful aromas ... Black plum and juicy redcurrant ... Immensely appealing ... Finely judged powdery tannins support the structure ... Excellent length.
Winestate Magazine, AUS

Excellent Perfumed with red fruits, tangy berry and chocolate ...Spice and dried herbs. Deceptively powerful ... Potential.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ

4.5 stars  Deeply coloured, blackcurrant, plum and spice ... Excellent depth, complexity and harmony.
Michael Cooper, michaelcooper.co.nz, NZ


VERGENCE - New Release

These wines are being release for the first time, so we have no reviews.  See "Introducing Vergence" for an explanation.


Reserve Wines

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated


Bel Canto is possible to make only in certain years. The grapes have 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. 

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

94/100  Rich and complex layers of flavour ... Grapefruit, marmalade, quince and honey.
Phil Parker, OnMas Magazine NZ

94/100  Powerful ... Structure is impeccably judged, reining in massive amounts of flavour perfectly.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

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


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

Excellent.  Distinctively different ... fasinatingly complex.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ


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

96/100  Lemon, orange, honey, peach and apples.  Delicious with complexity and great length.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, The Shout Magazine 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

5 stars  Excellent balance ... Pure, rich and long.
WineNZ Magazine 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. 

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

5 stars 96/100  Concentrated, luscious ... Bush honey, pineapple, ginger and ripe peach ... Very lengthy finish.
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

93/100  Lime, peach, marmalade and dried apricots ... Impressive concentration, luscious and balanced.  
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA


375 ml
Finale is a barrel fermented wine in the style of Sauternes and is only made in special years.  Due to the exceptional conditions during the latter part of the vintage (see under 'Recent Seasons'), we selected only the most beautifully noble botrytic sauvignon blanc berries to make this wine.  The smll amount of juice obtained was fermented by the grapes natural yeasts in artisan French oak barriques and matured in these.  

5 stars 97/100  Layers of dried fruits, spice and exotic tropical flavours abd dimension and complexityPure and powerful wine.
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz NZ

Outstanding.  Rich and mouth filling ... intense flavours linger endlessly ... Compelling stuff.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ

19.5/20  Powerful, intense ... Rich, succulent ... opulent flavours ... Great depth
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

4.5 stars Dried apricot, mango and papaya with manuka honey and beeswax ... Lots of barley sugar but limey acid spine keeping it fresh and juicy.  Great Length.
Winestate Magazine, AUS 


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 of 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 only have one review.

5 stars 18.5/20  Intense aromas of musk, fresh grapes and herbs with lifted floral notes ... Dryish and medium bodied ... Soft, refined acidity ... Mineral and smoke on the finish.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ


Magnum 1.5 lt
This reserve wine was made in the same way as Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2016 above but came from the chardonnay barrels that we feel best represented our vineyard and the vintage.  Virtuoso is made only in special years and, as you can see from the reviews above on Pegasus Bay Chardonnay, 2015 was definitely one of these.  This is a refined but more powerful version of that wine.

It sold through so quickly that few had a chance to review it but in the words of one who did it is "Complex, alluring and seductive.  A wine to contemplate the world the world we live in right now". (Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ).  It is clearly one of those rare drops that induce philosophy!


Magnum 1.5 lt
We only produce Prima Donna Pinot Noir in exceptional years as mentioned in 'Recent Seasons', 2013 was certainly one such.  It was made in the same way as Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2015 mentioned above and Prima Donna 2012 below.  Prima Donna is a blend of the barrels that we feel best reflect the vintage and our unique terroir.  It mainly comes from our oldest, lowest cropping vines that are non-grafted.  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".

96/100  Deliciously rich dark cherry aromas and flavours amid silky, refined long-form tannins.  A great wine, in every aspect.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars 96/100  Deeply scented, intense, plum, dark cherry, berry, licorice, mixed spice. 
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbellnz.com NZ

5 stars Savoury, ripe, rich, velvety tannins ... Complexity and harmony.
Michael Cooper, The Listener Magazine, NZ

5 stars Exotic opulence ... So much power and flavour ... Immensely appealing luxurious style.
Winestate Magazine AUS


Jeroboam 3 lt
Just the thing for Christmas or another special occasion.  This wine has matured beautifully and this is what the pundits had to say about it.

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


750 ml
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.  

5 stars 19/20 Bold, fulsome, succulent ... Blackberry and plum ... Plenty of tannin ... Elegant sustained finish.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

94/100 Dark red berry fruits, plums, blackberries, violets and brown spices ... Organic earthy quality, complex ... Tannins and a lot of structure ... Lengthy finish and still very youthful.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz NZ

94/100 Inky red ... Impressive concentration and good weight ... Silken texture.  A seductive combination.
Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbellnz.com NZ

93/100 Bright violet-like fragrance, rich dark berry fruits.  Regal tannins and pristine blueberry flavours.  A superb mid-weight flavoursome red.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

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