Cool weather over late spring and early summer affected the pollination of the grape flowers and led to a marked reduction in the amount of fruit setting in our block of Mendoza Chardonnay, a clone which, even at the best of times, has only low crops. During the rest of the summer the weather was excellent and autumn was warm, dry and long. This enabled us to pick a small crop of beautifully ripe, healthy grapes.

The Mendoza clone of chardonnay, of which this wine is entirely made, is recognised as producing wines of exceptional flavour, concentration, structure and length. It is not suitable for wide-spread commercial use and because of its tendency to crop shyly it is generally reserved for making special wines.

In making this wine we have used methods traditional to the famous white wines of Burgundy. After harvest the grapes were gently pressed and the juice, without clarification, was put into oak puncheons 500L (30% new) made by artisan Burgundian coopers. It was then allowed to undergo natural fermentation by the action of the grapes own yeasts. Following this the puncheons were topped up and the wine was left undisturbed in these on its natural yeast deposit or lees, until the following spring and early summer. At that time our cool wine cellar began to warm a little and the wine started secondary, or malo-lactic, fermentation through the action of its indigenous micro-organisms. Throughout this gradual process each puncheon was regularly assessed by taste and the malo-lactic fermentation was stopped when the balance was considered ideal. After approximately 12 months this wine was carefully removed from selected puncheons, blended and put into stainless steel tanks to allow it to integrate for another 6 months prior to bottling without any further oak contact.

The wine is a star bright lemon colour. Impressions of yellow plums, white peaches, nectarines and melon seem to reflect off a core of citrus fruits, especially limes, lemons and grapefruit. These are overlain with savoury elements, evoking the smoky aromas of a wood fired barbeque of white meats, mushrooms and sweet corn. This complex array of elements is refined and elegant, rather than upfront and brash. While the palate entry is restrained and unassuming, the wine gradually expands in the mouth to become broad-shouldered, muscley, taut and powerful. There is a decisive spine of acidity and minerality which run through the wine, extending into a long, lingering after-taste.

Although this wine is ready to drink on release, we believe with careful cellaring it will develop additional fascinating nuances and improve for 6-10 years after harvest and live well beyond.


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
“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, 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
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,


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


“…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


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


“From Waipara, this is a striking wine-rich, complex and 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

Are you over 18?

To enter this website you must be of legal drinking age.

Customers from our old website will need to create an account with your existing email address.

Re-register your account →

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