The Season

This was one of our cooler summers but it was followed by a lingering dry autumn. By leaving the grapes on the vines until later in the season we achieved a beautiful spectrum of ripe varietal flavours with good natural acidity. A modest, but reasonable crop level has contributed to good fruit concentration and body in the wine.                                   

The Vineyard and the Vines

We have about a dozen different clones of pinot noir and often these grow intermingled throughout our various blocks. The vines, many of which are nearly 30 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. This allows the fruit to ripen fully but slowly and to retain good levels of natural acidity. The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil.

Harvest and Wine Making

We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. We picked the various blocks at different stages during late April and early May, depending on their maturity. Most of the grapes were destemmed and put into small fermenting vats, retaining as many whole berries as possible. Ten percent of whole bunches were also added to these vats. They were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from the pinot noir skins. After this time the grapes 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 a week or two to help extract a different range of tannins that 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 these barriques the batches made from the many different plots of pinot were carefully blended in varying portions to produce this wine.

The Wine

On release the wine has a bright ruby hue. The bright aromas and flavours suggest blackberries, raspberries and black cherries supported by an underlay of chocolate and cinnamon. Savoury elements, including impressions of roast meats and grilled mushroom, should become more prominent as the wine ages. It is generous and mouth filling but has a refined palate with plush velvety tannins and a lingering spicy aftertaste. It should develop a range of additional fascinating nuances with careful cellaring over the next decade and live well beyond.

Download Tasting Notes


Awarded Super Classic Status.
- Michael Cooper's Buyer’s Guide, 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

2014

96/100
Top equal wine in a tasting of 2014 NZ Pinot Noirs  Wow! Fabulous, complex bouquet of broody dark red berries, layers of mineral and savoury whole-bunch and dried herb nuances. Juicy, lush, generous and complex on the palate, with generous oak and ripe, very fine tannins.
- Cameron Douglas MS, camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz, NZ
96/100
Rich, weighty, ripe pinot noir with a dense, almost syrupy texture and plum jam, liquorice, Christmas cake flavours. Big and slightly rustic wine with pleasing complexity. It has a suggestion of old vine density with underlying power and a lengthy finish.
- Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz, NZ
94/100
“…A very fresh and concentrated edition of this majestic pinot noir. This is bathed in dark cherry fruits, earth and spices, and there's a meaty depth and plenty of forest bracken too. The tannins are long and grainy, and carry rich dark cherry-plum fruit flavors long” 
- Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, USA

2013

94/100
“ … It’s a wine of undeniable personality and charisma, as ever..." 
- Gary Walsh, winefront.com.au. AUS
95/100
NZ Pinot Noir Tasting among 1 of 7 rated as “Outstanding” 
- Decanter magazine. UK
96/100
“…Appealing, ripe and quite concentrated pinot noir … A supremely elegant wine with an intriguing rustic edge
- Bob Campbell MW, www.bobcampbell.nz, NZ
19/20
“… The rich flavours are mouthfilling and carry to a long, lingering finish.  This is a rich, vibrant and mouthfilling, complex-detailed Pinot Noir … fine-grained, well-structured palate.”
- Raymond Chan, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, NZ
Excellent to Outstanding
“… Deceptively powerful wine that dances on the palate … Delicious.” .
- Otago Daily Times. NZ
96/100
#1 wine under $80   “ … enticingly refined and elegantly understated … a masterfully crafted expression of a remarkable site” 
- Tyson Stelzer, Australian & New Zealand Wines of the Year 2017
18.5/20
“…has the ability to live a long and beautiful life … .  It’s a keeper. (And is consistently among my top five South Island Pinot Noirs.)” 
- Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz Magazine, NZ

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