Awarded Super Classic Status.
Budburst was early because the weather over that period was one of the warmest ever recorded. Late spring and early summer however, were unseasonably cool and cloudy, sufficiently slowing the development of the grapes to cause us concern. The skies then cleared and we had three to four months of unbroken sunshine. This enabled us to leave the fruit on the vine to attain excellent maturity and ripeness.
We have about a dozen different clones planted in pinot noir blocks. The vines, many of which are 25 years old and on their own roots, grow on a series of north facing, gradually descending terraces. While the site is warm during the day it is cool at night, which allows the fruit to ripen fully while retaining its good, natural acid levels. The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil. The period of cooler weather, mentioned above, occurred over flowering and lead to naturally low crop levels, which has given the wine extra depth and concentration.
We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. After picking in mid-late-April, the grapes, without their stems, were put into small fermenting vats, retaining as many whole berries as possible. They were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from their skins. After this time the grapes had warmed enough to start fermenting. During fermentation the floating cap of grape skins was twice daily gently pushed back under the wine by hand to keep it moist and healthy. When the fermentation finished the vats were sealed and the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for several weeks to help extract other tannins which add structure and depth. The duration of this period was determined by daily tasting. Subsequently the wine was drained off and put into oak barriques (30% new) from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. In the summer after harvest, when the weather warmed, the wine underwent malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. Both this and the original fermentation phase were completely natural and without added micro-organisms. After maturing for 18 months in barriques the batches made from the many different plots of pinot were carefully blended in various portions according to taste to produce this wine.
On release the wine has a deep carmine colour. The bouquet and flavours evoke impression of black cherries, purple plums, blackberries and raspberries. Beneath these is a savoury underlay of black olives, liquorice, grilled mushrooms and proscuitto. There is a dense core of ripe fruit which is coated with fine-grained, velvety tannins. It is robust, but refined and savoury/spicy overtones linger in the after-taste. Although it is ready to drink on release, with careful cellaring it will become more complex and multifaceted over the next 6-8 years and live well beyond.
Awarded Super Classic Status.
"The flight of Pegasus Bay Pinot Noirs continued to illustrate their burgundy influence, the reds often reminiscent of Morey-saint-Denis".
"Felton Road, along with Pegasus Bay has been my favourite pinot producer in New Zealand for years."
"The oak control is phenomenal, showing more elegance and sophistication than hundreds of Burgundies”
Pegasus Bay is the flagship winery of Waipara, yet the wines remain realistically priced. Plum, cola and cherry notes are accompanied by strongly umami sensations akin to mushroom and roasted beef, giving this wine ample complexity. While the wine is concentrated, it has an airy, graceful feel to it. Drink 2016–2024.
A sense of real depth, soothing dark cherry notes, some forest floor and deeply knitted oak. The palate has noble tannins and the sort of structural complexity and completeness that is the envy of most other NZ Pinot Noir makers” .
Full-flavoured Pinot Noir with plum, spice, glazed cherry, floral/violet and a hint of savoury and mineral character. Mouth-filling wine with obvious power and a lengthy finish. A consistently top wine.
“Fine, fresh, vivid and interesting with an assertive cherry fruit nose. Lovely supple, elegant palate shows nice precision. Lovely sweet fruit combined with spicy structure”.
Lifted spicy cherry fruit on the nose with higher tones of raspberry coulis and cranberry…. Lively and driven on the palate, the red fruits show supporting characters of Asian spice and a waft of forest floor. Roast game, red licorice, milk chocolate and spicy oak complete the picture. Great line, lively acidity and a balanced, lingering finish".