A mild spring was followed by extremely hot weather over the early and middle part of summer. Initially we thought the season might be too hot for pinot noir but the latter part of summer was quite cool, bringing things back into balance. The autumn was dry, lingering and warm. Overall, this pattern resulted in early development and maturation of the grapes but fortunately it drew out the crucial ripening period, promoting a full spectrum of ripe varietal pinot flavours and tannins with good levels of natural acidity.

This wine was made utilising the centuries old techniques that have been used to make red Burgundy. The fruit was carefully hand selected after harvest so that only the best grapes were used. These were then put into small vats, retaining as many whole berries as we could. The fruit was kept cool for several days before a natural fermentation commenced through the action of the pinot’s own yeasts. The floating cap of skins was then regularly, but gently plunged by hand to keep it moist, while avoiding excessive extraction. After the fermentation ceased, the new wine was kept in contact with the remnants of the grapes for a period, the optimal duration for each vat being determined by daily tasting. The wine was then put into barriques, (40% being new) made by French artisan cooper and allowed to mature there for 18 months. In the spring after the harvest, when the weather warmed and hence the cellar temperature warmed, the wine underwent natural malo-lactic fermentation by the action of its indigenous micro-organisms. Multiple batches of pinot noir wine were made, each coming from different parts of the vineyard. This final wine was produced by blending these according to taste prior to bottling.

The wine has the rich carmine hue, typical of pinot noir, but we have purposely avoided the dark, inky colours which result from over-extraction. The aromas and flavours are a complex intertwining of fruity and savoury nuances with impressions of cherries, plums and red berry fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries. These are over-lain with hints of black olives, liquorice, coffee, grilled meats and mushrooms. There are also whispers of mocha, chocolate and cinnamon. While elegant, the wine seems to expand in the mouth and has a backbone of fine tannins and acidity which keep its structure focussed and tightly-knit. A haunting array of impressions linger on the palate well after swallowing. Although the wine is ready to drink on release, with careful cellaring it should continue to develop additional layers of complexity for 6-10 years after harvest and live well beyond.


Awarded Super Classic Status.
- Michael Cooper's Buyer’s Guide, 2013, NZ
"The flight of Pegasus Bay Pinot Noirs continued to illustrate their burgundy influence, the reds often reminiscent of Morey-saint-Denis".
- Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, USA
"Felton Road, along with Pegasus Bay has been my favourite pinot producer in New Zealand for years."
- Steve Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, USA

2012

18.5/20
"The oak control is phenomenal, showing more elegance and sophistication than hundreds of Burgundies”
- Matthew Jukes, UK

93/100
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.
- Wine Enthusiast, USA

96/100
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” .
- Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com, USA
93/100
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.
- Bob Campbell MW, NZ

2011

94/100
“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”.
- Jamie Goode, www.wineanorak.com, UK
93/100
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".
- Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com, USA
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Pegasus Bay

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