The Vineyard and the Vines

The vines, which are 25 years old, grow on their own roots in well drained, stony soil on a series of north facing, gradually descending terraces. The site is warm during the day but cool at night, resulting in good ripening while retaining the berries natural acids. Our main variety of chardonnay, known locally as Mendoza, typically produces light crops of small berries and hence tends to make concentrated wines.

Season

An exceptionally early budburst was brought about by a very mild spring. Warm summer days with cool nights and a balmy, dry autumn produced healthy, beautifully ripened fruit while retaining a wonderful balance and crispness.

 

Harvest and Wine Making

We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. After picking in mid-April, the fruit was gently pressed and the unclarified juice put into large French oak barrels (puncheons), only 30% of which were new. There it underwent spontaneous primary fermentation by the grapes’ own yeasts, without any attempt at temperature control. The wine then rested on this yeast deposit (sur lie). In the summer after harvest it started to go through natural secondary (malo-lactic) fermentation by its indigenous micro-organisms. It was regularly tasted during this time and the process stopped when ideal balance was achieved. After a total of 1 year in puncheons the wine was blended, which allowed it to further integrate prior to bottling, which was 20 months after harvest. Virtuoso is made from a small selection of barrels which are felt to best express the vintage and terroir.

The Wine

The bouquet and flavour evoke impressions of nectarines, white fleshed peaches, yellow plums and rock melon, coating a core of citrus fruits. These intermingle with hints of toasted hazelnuts, marzipan, breakfast cereal, liquorice and black olives. The wine is concentrated and powerful in the mouth but stays quite restrained and refined. The lingering aftertaste is drawn out by lively minerality and tangy crispness. While ready to drink on release, with careful cellaring it should become more complex and integrated over the next 5 or 6 years and last a decade or more.

Download Tasting Notes


2010

91+/100
The 2010 Virtuoso Chardonnay begins a bit subdued at this stage yet shows notes of apple tart, peach cobbler and ginger-honey, plus some cedar and citrus undertones. The full-bodied palate is solidly structured with tight-knit fruit supported by a vibrant acid line and a finish with great length. It should fan-out with a further year in bottle and drink it 2017+.
- Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, USA
90/100
“Plenty to like about the nose on this wine. Rich, juicy stone fruit characters of white peach and nectarine, with lighter citrus flavours following behind. Spicy and pure on the palate…”.
- Nick Stock www.jamessuckling.com, USA
"A wonderful Waipara wine, just starting to break into full stride, with peach, nectarine and nut flavours,showing lovely depth and drinkability.“.
- Michael Cooper, The Listener, NZ
96/100
A wine of commanding presence, the complex bouquet shows peach, mango, grapefruit and nutty oak aromas with subtle flinty notes. It's undeniably powerful on the palate yet perfectly balanced and harmonious. This formidable chardonnay is multi-layered and sophisticated. .
- Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz

2009

93+/100 Points
“The 2009 Virtuoso Chardonnay is a barrel selection wine, from older vines on their own rootstocks and naturally fermented/aged in French oak puncheons, 50% new. Crisp, concentrated and medium bodied in the mouth, it’s still young and taut but has a gorgeous satiny texture and a long finish.”
—Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, USA
96/100 Points
“One of the great chardonnay labels, Pegasus Bay have delivered an exceptional wine from the 2009 vintage. It's gorgeously complex on the nose displaying stone fruit, oatmeal, cashew, vanilla and subtle savoury notes. The palate is superbly concentrated and focused with rich texture, finishing extremely long and expansive. Matured for three years before release - one year in barrel on lees, one in tank on light lees and one in bottle. Based on previous vintages of Virtuoso, this stunning beauty will develop graciously.”
—Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, NZ

2008

“…Rich, tightly structured Waipara wine, from 24 year- old vines….crisp and minerally. A cool climate style with real verve and drive, still unfolding.”
—Michael Cooper, WineState, Australia

2006

95/100 Points
“…Top wine of the tasting - A heavyweight chardonnay label in every respect. Very intense wine with a strong but appropriate oak influence that is balanced by powerful citrus and stone-fruit flavours. The wine has masses of sizzled butter, savoury yeast lees and roasted nut characters. Assertive acidity adds energy and ageing potential…”
—Bob Campbell MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Australia
“I tasted a bottle of ’06 Virtuoso the other day and I was pole-axed with carnal, vinous desire … this is one of the most riveting whites of the year and for 20 quid you will go absolutely nuts when you taste the lush, cool, layered fruit and the staggering minerality underpinning all of the action…you can put it up against any of your Burgundys and ask your friends for a vote. Do not bet against this Virtuoso.”
—Matthew Jukes, Money Week Magazine, UK

2005

“From Waipara, this is a striking wine-rich, complex and seamless...it shows excellent weight and a fine thread of acidity…”
—WineState, Australia
“…It is a powerful, seamless wine, minerally and complex”
—Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide 2009, NZ
93/100 Points
“The 2005 Virtuoso reminded me of a Corton-Charlemagne…it could still benefit from a few more months in bottle as the oak still needs time to meld into the structure of this outstanding wine”
—Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, USA
Download Reviews

Pegasus Bay

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Off Licence.
Licence Holder:Dr I Donaldson T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
Licence no:057/OFF/001/2015 Exp:22/12/2017