Barrels after vintage awaiting their precious cargo of pinot noir.

What’s the Harm in Exposing Yourself?

We all need light to remain healthy. Amongst other things, it is essential for the metabolism of vitamin D, on which our bone structure depends, and most of this beneficial light comes from the sun. Sometime during the 20th century, it became fashionable for pale skinned people to sport a tan and the craze of sunbathing came into existence. How much people exposed themselves to sunlight was a matter of personal preference and results ranged from the pasty pallid to the chestnut shade of leather handbag with boiled lobster in between. Later in the 20th century, the negative impacts of this fad became apparent and now few such sun addicts venture out without sunscreen. Results of sun exposure, namely increased pigmentation and a change in the structure of the skin, are the body’s natural response to the harmful effects of solar radiation. As such, it is not surprising they are mimicked by other animals and even plants.

Left to their own devices, grapevines usually cover their deliciously fruity parts with shady green leaves. This serves them well in a hot climate, but it is not so hot in cooler regions like New Zealand, where shade encourages fungal pests and may result in greenish flavours. Thus, removal of leaves in the fruiting zone has become a tool for vignerons, especially for red/black grape varieties, in which herbaceousness has become unfashionable. This was pioneered in the new world but has now been taken up in many European grape growing areas. It certainly lessens the chances of rot and results in riper flavours but what else does it do? Well, a grape berry protects itself from the harmful effects of solar radiation by altering its skin, in much the same way as we would. A grape’s skin contains a group of natural chemical compounds called flavonoids, which include anthocyanins and tannins, and sunlight increases these. Anthocyanins give red/black grapes their colour, while tannins and other flavonoids alter mouth feel, producing sensations of “dryness”, astringency and bitterness. Sunlight exposure also helps fill out the palate, giving the wine more body and richness. As red wine ages, its colour reduces but the higher levels of tannins and other flavonoids interact with the anthocyanins and lessen this trend. Generally, the same changes occur in white grape varieties and wines, particularly with regard to flavour and mouth feel, but they don’t contain anthocyanins.

When it comes to exposing yourself, it can be better to feel your way rather than overdoing it, and the same applies to grapes. They, like you, can get sunburned. Excessive sunlight can make wines harsh and bitter and sunburn accentuates this. Thus, most Kiwi vineyards prefer only partial leaf removal in the fruiting zone in certain varieties, such as Pinot Noir, aiming for dappled sunlight on the bunches. But, as they say, there are horses for courses and the flying horse agrees, matching the amount of any leaf removal with vine variety and vineyard site. Like most things in life, moderation and balance are the keys to success.

Sunburnt chardonnay


Sculpture North Canterbury Returns

If you were lucky enough to visit us last spring and meander around the gardens, you would have been treated to a fantastic array of over 30 pieces of outdoor art as Sculpture North Canterbury came to Pegasus Bay for the second time. In fact, we’re delighted to announce that it was such a success we’ve been asked to host it again, this time from October 16th to the end of November. Come and explore the winery grounds with our garden trail map and discover unusual and quirky exhibits from local artists along the way! 

Stairways by Anna Korver.


Cellar Door and Gardens

You’ll be pleased to hear that our cellar door is still open for wine tastings, but over winter it will be only during the weekends. Please check the website closer to the time for opening hours in spring and beyond. Our beautiful gardens are also still available for you to explore, and if it happens to be a day that the cellar door is closed and there is no private function being held, you are still welcome to access the gardens via a small pedestrian entrance, which is located approx. 30 metres past the main entrance.


Respect Your Elders

Aged Release 2010

During the last few Covid-19 infused months, most people will have been reminded of the phrase “respect your elders”. Well here at Pegasus Bay we think the same should apply to our more senior vintages of the vinous world. Pegasus Bay wines are made to put away, which is why we tend to release them later than most wineries. We also appreciate that most people don’t have the restraint to actually cellar their wines, the vast majority being consumed within 24 hours of purchase. Our aged release program started back in 2006 and has continued ever since. We set aside a small amount of our key varieties, Riesling and Pinot Noir, which we carefully cellar on your behalf and then make available 10 years later. This year we are releasing:

2010 Pegasus Bay Riesling
2010 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir
2010 Pegasus Bay Prima Donna

We only produce a Prima Donna in exceptional years, which is saying something about this vintage (see The Seasons). We feel these wines have matured perfectly, and with the added complexities of bottle age, this is an opportunity not to be missed.


A New Era for Pegasus Bay as a Premium Events Venue

Feasting at Pegasus Bay restaurant

Most of you will by now be aware that after much deliberation we’ve decided to close our restaurant, for the time-being, and convert it into an events space. From our humble beginnings in 1992, serving bread and cheese on plastic tables amongst the fermentation tanks, to the heady heights of being awarded two hats and winning the Cuisine Winery Restaurant award an unprecedented 8 times, it has been an emotional journey.

Our anchor woman throughout has been one of the family, Belinda Donaldson, who has worked tirelessly at the helm over the past 15 years as our restaurant manager. Never without a smile, Belinda has calmly navigated the pressures of haute cuisine and with a formidable team of carefully selected front of house and kitchen ninjas, consistently delivered the perfect blend of exquisite food and exceptional service, in an unpretentious yet engaging way.

Restaurant stalwart Belinda Donaldson

We’re incredibly proud of Belinda and her amazing restaurant team who have put their heart and soul into delivering a truly remarkable experience for our customers over the years and we will be forever grateful for this.

Belinda has now stepped into a new role as our events manager, and we’re very excited to be able to now offer our restaurant and beautiful gardens for private functions, the first time in almost 20 years. We anticipate considerable interest and have already received many enquiries from people wanting to celebrate their special occasions.

For private events, please contact Belinda
events@pegasusbay.com

We also plan on collaborating with some of our favourite chefs/restaurants around the country so we can continue hosting our own events, which would be open to the public. The first of these will be our much-loved truffle lunch, taking place Sunday 26th July. Working with us for the day will be the talented hospitality duo, Simon and Lisa Levey, co-owners of award winning Inati restaurant in central Christchurch. There will be an optional truffle hunt with Rosie, the truffle dog, at Gareth Renowden’s Waipara truffière. Following this, Simon will be wowing the crowd with a truffle inspired degustation lunch paired with aged wines from the Donaldson family library.

Unfortunately, as we go to print, the lunch has already sold out, however we thought you might enjoy a sneak preview of one of Simon’s dishes.


Poached grouper, fermented tomato & truffle.
Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized grouper fillets
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g butter, cubed
  • Handful of wild leeks (or substitute with spring onions)
  • Foraged herbs/greens such as chickweed, wild fennel, miner’s lettuce (or substitute with store bought fennel/dill and mixed salad leaves)
  • Lemon vinaigrette
  • (lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic & salt)
  • Fresh Périgord black truffle

For the fermented tomato

  • 2 cups of diced tomato or leftover scraps
  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Prepare the fermented tomato stock in advance by mixing the tomato scraps and salt in a jar. Cover with a cloth and leave in a warm place to ferment, normally around 3-4 days. You will know the mixture is fermenting when there are small bubbles around the edges and the colour changes to a cloudy yellow. Once ready, strain and refrigerate or freeze for later use.
  2. When ready to cook, heat 250ml of the fermented tomato in a small saucepan.
  3. Warm 2 tbsp of the oil in a pan over medium heat, add the fillets and sear on one side until browned. Turn over and baste each fillet with some of the fermented tomato mixture. After 2-3 mins, add the butter and continue basting with the remaining fermented tomato for a further 3-4 mins. Take off the heat and let the fish rest for a few mins.
  4. While the fish is resting, heat the remaining oil in another pan over high heat. Add leeks and cook for 1-2 mins, until nicely charred. Remove and roll in the lemon dressing.
  5. To serve, divide the leeks among 4 bowls and place a fillet of grouper on each. Pour over leftover juice from the pan and top with shaved truffle and a garnish of herbs & greens. Add a dash of aioli if desired for a creamier texture.

Suggested wine match: Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2017


Early Bird Vine Run 2021

Vine Run 2020

Vine Run, with its walking option, is now into its 3rd year and going from strength to strength. Our 2020 event attracted a record crowd of over 700, and with 3 distances to choose from, including a new 18km course, there really is something for everyone.

As always, proceeds go to the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, an organisation that Ivan Donaldson helped establish during his medical career and continues to be involved with.

Early Bird entries are now open for our 2021 event, taking place on 31st January. So why not set yourself a challenge, support a very worthy cause and join us for a day of fun, fitness and frivolity. www.vinerun.co.nz


From the Prescription Pad

It was always going to be memorable, the vintage of 2020, being the 30th harvest at Pegasus Bay and my 40th year of involvement in vintning grape wine, but, when it kicked off, we had no idea of how unique it would be. It was as though the stars had aligned to make it special but, as it turned out, it was special in a very testing sort of way.

Like other viticultural regions on the east coast of New Zealand, the summer in North Canterbury had been hot, advancing ripeness to such an extent that at Pegasus Bay we began picking earlier than ever before. There were signs things were well and truly amiss even before starting and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to work out we wouldn’t be spared, but the speed at which the Covid-19 lockdown occurred caught most of us by surprise. When it came into force on 25 March, we had picked only about 20% of our crop. Imagine our relief when we learnt winemaking had been declared an essential industry and we would be allowed to continue working. The naysayers, with their Victorian attitudes to pleasure, sin and alcoholic beverages, were quick to denounce the decision.

“How could wine be considered essential?” they cried. “How could we let our whole year’s work drop on the ground and rot?” winegrowers retorted.

Not to mention the economic flow on effects to the Kiwi hospitality industry and the country’s fifth largest dollar earning export. Fortunately, the government’s sensible decision meant we didn’t have to worry about losing our crop but that’s not where the Covid-19 story ended.

Each year, we have young winemakers, most commonly from Europe, who come to do vintage, gaining experience and bringing new ideas. Christian, from Germany, and Nicco, from Italy, were in transit but had to return home as their ongoing flights were cancelled. George, from Switzerland, had just finished vintage in Victoria, but wasn’t allowed on a flight out of Melbourne. Jean Baptist, from France, got the last flight from Singapore but arrived an hour after lockdown so had to self-isolate in our cottage for a fortnight. Moritz, from Germany, arrived safely but was concerned for the health of his parents’ back home, and wanted to leave. His mom and dad knew he was safer here than Germany and convinced him to stay, but he left early on the last Lufthansa repatriation flight, along with Joel, from Sweden. Lucca, Elisa and Philippo from Italy, having arrived early, worked right through and finished vintage but, like Jean Baptist, were then unable to get flights home, so went off touring to help prop up New Zealand’s crumbling economy.  Against this fast-changing collage, our four Kiwi winemakers provided the glue of stability and experience to stick the vintage together.

But, you can’t make wine without grapes, so the vineyard team valiantly soldiered on throughout, picking each block as it became ready and at a pace the winemakers could handle, before delivering the full bins to the winery. There, they were unloaded and replaced with empties by the winery staff, who lived on site and had a separate “bubble”. In fact, Pegasus Bay had to have a number of bubbles that remained quite separate but had to communicate closely in order to integrate the process.

We welcomed the multiple visits by the “Covid-19 police”, aka Ministry of Primary Industries, to advise on and ensure due process. All the sanitising, personal spacing, and other requirements made the 2020 vintage difficult but not impossible and every day that passed without incident was another step towards the end of harvest and a cause for rejoicing. And, when it came, the finish of picking at Pegasus Bay was also exceptional. Despite being slowed by strictly fulfilling all the Covid-19 requirements, it was the earliest of our 30 vintages.

And what will the 2020 wines be like?  Any wine is the lovechild of the growing season and the vintage conditions and reflects both its parents. The growing season of our 2020 was almost too gentle and kind. The shoots got away to a good start and were untouched by frost. Weather over flowering was warm and still, leading to a plentiful set and a potentially bumper crop. It was all too comfortable for our liking and, while the size of the crop would have pleased our accountant, we felt the wines would be soft and seductive but lacking the incisive bite of flavour and concentration we wanted. Accordingly, we thinned the crop heavily. The summer was hot and dry, so the first parent did her bit, giving us optimally ripened grapes in beautiful condition. The vintage started well, with early ripening varieties coming in perfectly. A burst of heavy rain mid vintage had us worried, but it was only a minor tantrum. There followed an Indian summer with dry warm weather, allowing the second parent to strut his stuff. It’s always difficult to estimate the amount of crop and its physiological ripeness when it’s still on the vine and sometimes you get a shock when it’s brought into the winery. Not this time, it was spot on. We got exactly what we wanted and how we wanted it.

Although it’s early days, Covid-19’s baby seems as special as its parents. It still must go through what the French call élévage, which literally means being raised and trained. That will occur over the next few years but, at this stage, 2020 looks set to be recognised as an exceptional year, in more ways than one.

How did I enjoy my 40th vintage? It was one of the easiest and most relaxed I’ve had. Why? Because, although I was an “essential” worker, our sons banned my wife and me from the vineyard and winery during level 4 lockdown, which was just when most of the action was happening. Their feeble excuse being they were “protecting” us.

Oh well, we suppose we need someone to look after us in our dotage, but we would like to say a big thank you to our vineyard, winery, maintenance, warehouse, office and marketing/sales staff for all the extra effort put in to make vintage exceptional. And we would also like to thank you, our loyal customers, who are the most important part of any vintage. Without you, we wouldn’t be here, and we hope that you will find Pegasus Bay’s 2020 vintage as exciting as we have.

Cheers,


The Seasons

The summer of 2010 was cool, but a long unbroken autumn allowed us to hang the fruit out late until it reached optimal ripeness. The autumn rain of 2014 occurred after the pinot noir was harvested and that variety has produced fine wine. A spring frost reduced our 2015 crop, 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. Autumn rain in 2017 caused us to pick a little earlier than usual but the naturally small berries and good physiological ripeness has given these wines extra vibrancy and poise. 2018 was one of the hottest summer’s on record, and although there was some late season rain, the ensuing dry autumn has delivered red’s that are fruity, supple and smooth.


Current Vintages / Releases

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated

PEGASUS BAY RIESLING 2016

750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
Like classic wine producing regions, such as Germany and Alsace, we take our rieslings seriously.  Pegasus Bay Riesling has been awarded super classic status by Michael Cooper in his book Classic Wines of New Zealand and this 2016 shows why.  It is made in the off-dry style.

96/100  Distinctive ... Fantastic flavour and impact ... Mineral core and pure expression.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, www.camdouglasms.com NZ

19/20 North Canterbury is one of the world's great Riesling regions and to call this wine "iconic" is wildly understated. 
Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz Magazine NZ

5 stars 95/100  Irresistibly delicious ... sumptuous palate ... Mouth filling and lavish ... balanced and harmonious ...
Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz NZ

PEGASUS BAY RIESLING 2010 - Special Aged Release

We specially put this wine away to show you how carefully aged riesling can develop.  We think it has matured perfectly and this is what the experts say:

18.5/20  ... Exotic tangerine and jasmine characters ... Restrained decadence and quite delicious in a fulsome manner.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

5 stars   Top wine of tasting ... The Valerie Adams of riesling!
WineNZ Magazine NZ

5 stars  ... Last wine we tried and the best! Flavours just go on and on.
www.TizWine.com NZ

PEGASUS BAY GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2018 - New Release 

Left on the vine until llater in the season, the grapes developed some noble botrytis, resulting in a wine that is rich and unctous, with intense varietal character.  As this is being released for the first time with this newsletter, we do not have any reviews but here are some cellar notes.

"Leaps out of the glass with Turkish delight and rose petal, underscored with nuances of struck match and almond.  The palate offers terrific fruit power and intensity, together with velvety mouthfeel and elegant sweetness, backed by refreshing acidity"

PEGASUS BAY SAUVIGNON SEMILLON 2017

We have never released a straight sauvignon blanc wine - why?  Because we prefer one that has more texture, mouth feel and complexity than sauvignon blanc can produce by itself. By blending in semillon that was fermented in seasoned barriques we follow the old Bordeaux tradition, aiming to soften the sauvignon's pungency that can sometimes be over-the-top.  It takes longer to integrate and express itself than sinmple sauvignon blanc so we purposely delay its release.

We are particularly pleased with this wine as we feel we have achieved that balance while still clearly retaining the sauvignon varietal character.  

5 stars  Distinctive ... Loads of personality ... Fragrant and full-bodied with tropical fruit flavours.  Tightly structured, lasting finish.
Michael Cooper, New Zealand Listener Magazine NZ

94/100   Complex, zesty style ... Delivered in a rich powerfully concentrated frame.  So much fruit here.
Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com USA

94/100  Alluring bouquet ... green herbs, tropical fruits, crushed limestone and a whisper of salty air ... vibrant texture and a long steely finish.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, www.camdouglasms.com NZ

PEGASUS BAY CHARDONNAY 2017

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 12 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. 

This wine has been rated 95/100 or greater or 5 stars by at least 8 wine writers or publications, including Wine State Magazine (AU), Gourmet Traveller Magazine (AU), New Zealand Listener Magazine (NZ), www.jamessuckling.com (USA), www.camdouglasms.com (NZ), www.bobcampbell.nz (NZ), www.wineorbit.co.nz (NZ), www.yvonnelorkin.com (NZ). 

PEGASUS BAY CHARDONNAY 2016 

Magnum 1.5 lt
This was made in the same way as the 2017 Pegasus Bay Chardonnay mentioned above.  

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 and flavoursome ... Marmalade, apricot, peach, brioche and flinty mineral flavours ... Complex ... Great texture and very lengthy finish.
Bob Campbell MW. therealreview.com NZ

94/100  Struck match with intensity of fruit to cover.  Excellent but you have to enjoy a walk on the wild side.
Gary Walsh, www.winefront.com.au AUS

PEGASUS BAY MUSCAT 2016

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 wine in the latter region.  This 2016 muscat has the intensity of Muscat Beaumes de Venise but is made in a drier style.  This is one of our personal favourites.

5 stars  Alsace style ... Perfumed, mouth filling with vigorous peach, orange and spice flavours.
Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

92/100  Aromatic, fruity and enticing with abundance of flowers, white fleshed fruits and exotic perfume ... Fleshy, juicy, ripe and spicy ... satin and coarse silk textures.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.com NZ

92/100  The ultimate aromatic grape variety with pure floral flavours ... Impressive.
Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz NZ

PEGASUS BAY PINOT NOIR 2017

750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
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 to avoid excessive extraction. This wine was then matured for 18 months in oak barriques from artisan Burgundian coopers. 

5 stars 95/100  Wonderfully fruited and gorgeously styled ... black doris plum, vanilla and almond ... excellent weight and power ... mouth-filling and delectable with seductive complexity.
Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz NZ

5 stars   Mouthfilling sweet-fruited, savoury and supple ... Concentrated ripe cherry, plum abnd spice.
Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

94/100   Complex ... Succulent, vibrant, sturdy tannins, holding plenty of fresh blueberry and blue plum flavour.  So youthful and powerful, this is another great Pegasus Bay Pinot.
Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com USA

PEGASUS BAY PINOT NOIR 2014 

Jeroboam 3 lt
This wine was made in the same way as the 2017 Pinot Noir mentioned above.  It has been held back as large bottles take longer to mature.  We think it is drinking perfectly.

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 textured wine ... Extraordinarily lingering finish demonstrating real power.  Supremely elegant.
Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz  NZ

4.5 stars  Mouth filing ... Concentrated, savoury and complex.
Winestate Magazine AU

PEGASUS BAY PINOT NOIR 2010 - Special Aged Release

5 stars  Authoritative ... Powerful but silky textured, hightly concentrated, well ripened cherry/plum flavours and excellent harmony.
Michael Cooper, Buyers' guide to New Zealand Wines NZ

5 stars 18.5/20  Robust with good power complexity of flavour.
Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

94/100 So much character and interest.
Gary Walsh, www.winefront.com.au AU

PEGASUS BAY MERLOT CABERNET 2018

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 24 months. It was clarified by racking it off its natural yeast deposit on several occasions prior to bottling.  

94/100  Remarlable red ... rich ripe flavours ... luscious plum, cassis and leather ... spicy oak flavours with a smattering of dried herbs.
Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz NZ

5 stars 93/100  Delightfully fruited and fragrant ... dark plum, olive, hazelnut with dried herb complexity.  Succulent and smooth, beautifully rounded mouthfeel backed by polished tannins.
Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz NZ

93/100  Inviting bouquet of dark plums, black cherry and dark spice ... Juicy with a plush vibrant texture and minerla layers.  A lovley example ready to enjoy.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.com NZ

PEGASUS BAY MERLOT CABERNET 2016

Magnum 1.5 lt
This wine was made in the same way as the 2018 Merlot Cabernet mentioned above.

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

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

Outstanding.  Dark fruits dance on the palate, filling every corner of the mouth.  Sumptuous ... Amazingly long and delicious finish.  You just don't want to put the glass down.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ

PEGASUS BAY MALBEC 2017 

We only have a small patch of malbec and it normally is blended with our Merlot Cabernet but sometimes it deserves to be its own wine and this one shows why.  We think it is the best we have made and you can be the judge.  We don't have any reviews because the wine is not for general release but here are some of our cellar notes.

"Generous aromas and flavours of black plums, cherries, cranberries, violets, vanilla and roast coffee beans ... mouth filling with ripe tannins that give structure and draw out the length."

PEGASUS BAY VERGENCE WHITE 2016

At Pegasus Bay, we are always exploring new wine styles and our "Vergence" series gives you the opportunity to see what we are up to behind-the-scenes.  They show the potential of variety and winemaking techniques when you think outside the square.  This Vergence white is a blended wine based on semillon that has been fermented and aged for two years in previously seasoned barrels.  Don't think Australian semillon here, this wine is its own beast.

5 stars 94/100  Impressively complex and fragrant ... Grapefruit, baked apple, golden peach and toasted nut characters with a hint of gun smoke ... Wonderfully weighted delivering rich texture ... Finishing long and attractively savoury.
Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz NZ

Very good - excellent.  Bold with intense grapefruit, oranges, mandarin dried herbs and nuts ... Complexity, finely balanced silky palate.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, NZ

4 stars 91/100  Flavoursome richly textured and quite complex.  More savoury than fruity.  I like it.
Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz  NZ

PEGASUS BAY VERGENCE RED 2018 MARK I

Vergence is all about looking beyond tradition.  The composition of these wines may well change from vintage to vintage and we may also decide to create different batches or "marks" within the same season.

Our 2018 Mark 1 was made in the same way as the 2017 Vergence Red, with 100% whole bunch fermentation of pinot noir, meaning that all bunch stems were retained during fermentation.  This gives the wine more vibrant fruit character and adds a different structure and range of tannins.

5 star A distinctive, generous red ... concentrated plum and spice, impressive complexity, firmly structured with a long spicy finish.
Winestate Magazine, AU

5 stars  Generous, supple, plummy, spicy ... Deep and complex with refined tannins and long finish.
Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

Reserve Wines

All bottles 750ml unless otherwise stated

PEGASUS BAY BEL CANTO DRY RIESLING 2017

Seven Masters of Wine and a Master Sommelier have named Bel Canto as one of five rieslings that are New Zealand's finest. Bel Canto is possible to make only in certain years. The grapes have almost the same ripeness as those used for Aria, but their juice is fermented to dryness. Because of the low crop and some noble botrytis, this has extra concentration. It is drinking beautifully now but will cellar well. 

5 stars 95/100  Gorgeous ... Richly fruited and fragrant, concentrated and generously flavoured ... Opulent and delectable.
Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz NZ

95/100  Lemon curd, white peach, apple, white rose and honeysuckle ... Core of minerality ... Complexity ... Delicious!
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.com NZ

5 stars  Powerful, weighty ... Concentrated peachy with hints of oranges and honey ...Lasting finish.  Should be long-lived.
Winestate Magazine, AU

PEGASUS BAY BEL CANTO DRY RIESLING 2015

Magnum 1.5 lt

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

94/100  Enticing ... core of citrus flavours ... manuka honey, wildflowers and minerality, lovely ... long
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier,
camerondouglasms.com 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, www.jamessuckling.com USA

PEGASUS BAY ARIA LATE HARVEST RIESLING 2016

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 and 2016 was definitely one of such (see under 'The Seasons').  In making this wine we hand-selected only bunches that had 30% or more of noble botrytis.

19/20  Seductlively succulent ... Ripe peach, mandarin and lemon ...  Full-bodied with powerful lingering finish.
Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz Magazine NZ

95/100  Alluring bouguet ... mandarin, lime flower and apple blossom ... Intense ripe citrus and apple tart tartin.  Long and delicious.
Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, The Shout Magazine NZ

Excellent/Outstanding  Sumptuous, delightful complexity ... Bittersweet element and hints of almond provide lovely counterpoint ... Savoury elements create a lovely balance ... to ponder over.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ

PEGASUS BAY ENCORE NOBLE RIESLING 2016

375 ml
The seven MW's and one MS, mentioned above under Bel Canto 2017, include Encore as one of the five best NZ sweet wines.   This riesling is in the style of an Alsatian Selection des Grains Nobles or German Trockenbeerenauslese.  We can make it only in very special years and this is only the second 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 19+/20  Concentrated core of ripe exotic tropical fruits... deliciously rich, nearly unctuous... lingering finish.
Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

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

96/100  Rich with pristine apricots and marmalade notes balanced by bright acid ... Balance is superb and the finish lasts into next week.  Wow!
Joe Czerwinski, www.robertparker.com USA

PEGASUS BAY FINALE (NOBLE SAUVIGNON BLANC SEMILLON) 2017 

375 ml
Finale is a barrel fermented wine in the style of Sauternes and is only made in special years and this is the first we have produced since 2014.  We selected only the most beautifully noble botrytic sauvignon blanc and semillon berries to make this wine.  The small amount of juice obtained was fermented by the grapes' natural yeasts in artisan French oak barriques and matured in these. 

96/100  Stunning ... Intense apricots, dried mango and peach.  Lusciously flavoured, super rich ... A great sweet wine.  World-class!
Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars  Strong presence ... Full-bodied ... Rich ... Complexity, poise and vigour.
Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

94/100 Intense ... Bush honey, grapefruit marmalade, spice, anise, peach, musk and exotic floral flavours ... Concentrated.
Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz NZ

PEGASUS BAY VIRTUOSO 2016

750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
This reserve wine was made in the same way as Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2017 above but came from the barrels that we feel best represented our vineyard and the vintage.  Virtuoso is made only in special years and 2016 was definitely one of these (see under 'The Seasons' and 'Pegasus Bay 2016 Chardonnay').  This is a refined but powerful wine that is maturing nicely.

18.5/20  Toasty, dry, full-bodied ... Loads of weight and a lindering finish.  What more could you ask for in a top-notch Chardonnay?
Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz Magazine NZ

5 stars 95/100  Intense, rich, weighty, with peach, biscuit, hazelnut, struck flint.  Deliciously drinkable now but should develop well.
Bob Campbell MW, www.therealreview.com NZ

Outstanding  White peach, citrus, struck match and smoke ... Powerful, wonderful drive and energy.  Density but impressive freshness and vibrancy.
Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times NZ

PEGASUS BAY PRIMA DONNA 2016

750 ml and Magnum 1.5 lt
We only produce Prima Donna Pinot Noir in exceptional years.  It was made in the same way as Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2017 mentioned above and Prima Donna 2015 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. 

96/100  Very impressive ... Complexity and richness ... Earthy, savoury elements intertwined rich dark red cherries ... Intense and plush.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

5 stars  Vibrant cherry, plum and spice, mouth filling, concentrated savoury and supple building to a powerful finish.
Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

94/100  An excellent Pinot Noir.  Pomegranate, red cherries and ripe strawberries.  Dripping in elegance ... supple and silky smooth with a never-ending finish.  One to savour.
Lyszcynski, Qwine, www.qwinereviews.com AU

PEGASUS BAY PRIMA DONNA 2015

Jeroboam 3 lt
97/100  Stunningly beautiful ... Complex with dark plum, vanilla, hazelnut and smoked game characters, sumptous, rich texture and awesome power as well as elegance.
Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz NZ

96/100 Rich, concentrated, quite savoury ... Plum, dark berry, violets and spice ... Very complex ... Worth cellaring.
Bob Campbell MW, www.therealreview.com NZ

96/100  Grand, majestic and complex ... Expansive, entrancing style.  Black and red cherries, plums, earthy notes, woody spices, with a wealth of pot-pourri and forest floor complexity ... Long succulent tannins.  Superb!  Good ageing potential.
Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com USA

19/20  Super concentrated flavours ... Delicious intensity and power.  Great Piont Noir.
Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz Magazine NZ

PEGASUS BAY PRIMA DONNA 2010 - Special Aged Release

5 stars  Powerful and finely fragranbt, with dense cherry, plum and slight liquorice flavours, deliciously rich and well rounded.
Michael Cooper, Buyers' Guide to New Zealand Wines NZ

5 stars  Very rich and supple ... A real sense of poise and power.
Winestate Magazine AU

5 stars  Waves of svaoury dark berry and cherry ... Full, rich and layered.
Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz NZ

PEGASUS BAY MAESTRO 2015

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

18.5/20  Stunning wine now and for the long haul.
Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz Magazine NZ

5 stars  Vibrant blackcurrant, plum and spice ... delicious ... Powerful, dense, set for a very long life.
Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz NZ

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

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Off Licence.
Licence Holder:Donaldson Family Limited T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
Licence no:57/OFF/458/2019 Exp:16/03/2022