The Season

The growing season was longer than usual as mild spring weather resulted in early bud-burst, but was followed by cool nights which prevented excessively rapid growth. We had good accumulation of summer heat and a long, dry autumn. Harvest was, as usual, in April. The fruit was beautifully physiologically ripe when picked, but yet had good levels of natural acid without excessive concentration of sugar.

Harvest and Winemaking

In making this wine we have employed traditional Burgundian techniques. After picking the fruit was put into open top vats, our aim being to retain the individual berries whole, we also include about 10% whole bunches. The vats were kept cool for 4 or 5 days and then allowed to gradually warm. At this stage primary fermentation commenced by the action of the grapes' own yeasts and we started by hand plunging the floating cap of grapes to keep it moist and healthy twice daily. This was carried out very gently to avoid excessive extraction of rough tannins and it was continued throughout the 6 days of the fermentation phase. After this there followed a period of post-fermentation maceration, during which we pushed down the floating cap of skins once per day with our hands. The total time in vat or cuvaison, varied from batch to batch but was in the order of 3-4 weeks. The time of pressing for each vat was decided by daily tasting to assess to tannins. The new wine was then put into barriques, 30% new, of French artisan coopers.                                                                                                     

When the winery warmed in the summer after harvest, the wine in these barriques underwent spontaneous secondary or malo-lactic fermentation by the action of their own natural indigenous micro-organisms. It remained in barriques for a total of 18 months. The multiple individual batches were then tasted and the final blend or assemblage made prior to bottling.

This wine was made from a selection of our best barrels which were, as usual, from our oldest vines.

The Wine

The wine has a vibrant carmine hue. Its aromas and flavours are a complex interplay of fruity and savoury elements, suggesting cherries, raspberries and blackberries, intermingled with roast game, grilled mushrooms, black olives, liquorice and coffee. There is a dense core of fruit in the mouth that is supported by a backbone of firm, ripe tannins which flow evenly through the palate and should help the wine age gracefully. While ready to drink on release it will develop additional fascinating nuances and become increasingly mellow with careful cellaring.

Download Tasting Notes


The refinement and brilliance of the fruit on offer here really sets this wine apart from the regular Pegasus Bay pinot noir. Deliciously rich dark cherry aromas and flavors are presented amid silky, refined and long-form tannins. A great wine, in every respect.
- Nick Stock,, USA
"Prima Donna Pinot Noir is an elite barrel selection and in 2013 it is one of the greatest wines I have ever seen from this country. ….”
- Matthew Dukes. UK
“ …. Deep, plush, rather powerful Pinot Noir with rich, ripe tannins and excellent length. 
- Steve Tanzer,, USA
” …. mouth-filling red berry flavours supported by finely grained tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and earthy.
- Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW,, USA


Rated one of the best Pinot Noirs in the world (outside of Burgundy)
- Decanter magazine, UK

“…immense purity and is terrifically crunchy. There are red cherries at the core, dark spices, earth and fine chocolate at the edge. It's very long and direct. Will age magnificently”
- Nick Stock, USA

….rich and complex wine with impressive weight and intensity….Powerful wine with obvious cellaring potential”.
- Bob Campbell MW, NZ


Pegasus Bay’s winemaking team uses traditional Burgundian methods, including small vat fermentation and ageing the wine in French oak barriques for 18 months. Made “in small quantities in the best vintages from the oldest vines”, this flagship pinot noir is a powerful combination of intense plum, cherry and berry flavours with haunting floral notes, Oriental spices and an intriguing savoury, forest floor, rustic character. A delicious pinot with ageing potential.
- Bob Campbell MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine, Australia
A composed, svelte and powerful pinot with terrific focus and a real sense of freshness. The complexity has been cleverly engineered into place and is all spicy, brambly and foresty. The palate has sheets of tannin tilted upright, is very linear, focused and composed, long and uncompromising, yet smooth and polished. A class act.
- Nick Stock, USA
“… opens to reveal complex scents of raspberry, cola, musky spices and flowers. Sappy and fresh, with terrific depth and intensity to the lightly saline flavors of raspberry, bitter cherry and spices. This very firmly built wine finishes with a youthfully bitter quality and solid tannic spine for aging. Give it a double decanting if you plan to broach a bottle any time soon--or, better yet, cellar it for five years….”
- Steve Tanzer,, USA


“Medium-bodied, the palate is led by a solid structure of medium to firm grainy tannins and crisp acid supporting the muscular red berry and savoury flesh, finishing long.”
- Lisa Perrotti Brown, MW,,
'Top Wine of NZ tasting (100's tasted)' “…downright Chambolle-like. Sweet and densely packed but youthfully tight, with impressive inner-mouth energy giving the intense red berry and mineral flavours terrific penetration. The superb rising finish saturates the palate with mineral-driven fruit. This is painfully backward today and may yet merit an even higher score with a few years in bottle.”
- Steve Tanzer,, USA
This is crazy pure with strawberry, flowers, raspberries and licorice. Full and very dense with fabulous tannins and length. Chewy yet polished. Drink or hold.”
- James Suckling, USA
“... should flourish for a decade. Deep and youthful in colour, it is powerful and finely fragrant, with dense cherry, plum and slight liquorice flavours, deliciously rich and well-rounded.
- Michael Cooper, Buyers Guide 2013, NZ
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