The Season

An exceptionally early budburst was brought about by a very mild spring. Warm summer days followed by an early, dry autumn with cool nights produced healthy, perfectly ripened grapes with vibrant fruit flavours. It was a splendid season in general and an exceptional one for pinot noir, producing wines of high quality.

The Vineyard and the Vines

We have about a dozen different clones planted in our pinot noir blocks. The vines, many of which are 25 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, which allows the fruit to ripen fully while retaining its natural acids. The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil. The crops in 2009 were on the light side, but very well balanced.

Harvest and Wine Making

We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. After picking in mid-April, the grapes, without their stems, were put into small fermenting vats, retaining as many whole berries as possible. They were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from their skins. After this time the grapes had 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 grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for another two weeks to help extract other tannins which 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 with no added micro-organisms. Prima Donna is made in only special years and 2009 was definitely one of these. After maturing for 18 months we select the barriques which best reflect our vineyard and the season. Typically these come from our oldest vines. The wine is then carefully blended according to taste to produce Prima Donna.

The Wine

On release the wine has a vibrant crimson hue. The unfolding aroma is multi-layered and complex, suggesting bright red fruits, blackberries, raspberries, black cherries and purple plums. There are also savoury nuances reminiscent of roast meats and grilled mushrooms, intermingled with whiffs of wood-smoke. The palate entry is seductively light but the wine seems to expand in the mouth to become rich and muscular, while retaining an even flow of velvety, but tangy, tannins. These at the same time excite but soothe the taste buds and draw out the wine’s long lingering finish. Although it will be enjoyed on release, with careful cellaring it should develop other fascinating nuances over the next decade and live well beyond this.

Download Tasting Notes


““… Full body with lively acidity … Bright and crunchy with a fleshy texture. Balanced and layered with a long, precise finish." 
- Nick Stock,, USA
The 2017 Prima Donna Pinot Noir epitomizes what this bottling is all about: finesse, silkiness and harmony ...." 
- Joe Czerwinski,, USA
“… A powerful, weighty red, it is notaby concentrated, … rich and complex, and finely balanced tannins. Still very youthful, it should be long-lived
- Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide, NZ


“… Immensely complex It’s impressively concentrated and persistent classically structured and refined”.
- Sam Kim, Wine Orbit,, NZ
Elegant yet powerful … All the components are there for a long life ahead but it is - surprisingly - already approachable …”
- Stephen Wong MW

   Immediately varietal … Youthful, complex, layered. … “

- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ
“   quality and style tend to be extremely consistent; earthy flavours combined with freshness, power and elegance.”  
- Joelle Thomson,, NZ
“… Dense, silken-textured wine … complex and appealing red”
- Bob Campbell MW., NZ

“   The flavours are with depth and concentration. … integrated with harmony, complex and powerful yet gentle and elegant …”

- Candice Chow,, NZ
A very impressive pinot for the complexity and richness it offers … a very intense and plush feel with plenty of dark cherries and plums, wrapped in smooth and polished tannin”
- Nick Stock,, USA
“ …. vibrant cherry, plum and spice… mouthfilling … concentrated, savoury and supple, that build to a powerful finish.”
- Michael Cooper,, NZ
Take a bow. An excellent Pinot Noir … dripping in elegance … generous … supple and silky smooth … One to savour
- Steve Leszczynski, Qwine,


“ …concentrated yet elegant pinot noir, … Compelling
- Gary Walsh, The Winefront, AUS
This is stunningly beautiful; ..complex bouquet … sumptuous on the palate with rich texture and flowing mouthfeel, offering awesome power and well as elegance …”
- Sam Kim, Wine Orbit,, NZ
“ … rich, concentrated and quite savoury pinot noir, … very complex wine.  Firmly structured but accessible …”
- Bob Campbell MW,, NZ
Grand, majestic and complex pinot noir that has an expansive, entrancing style … deep flavoursome … expansive rising finish.  Superb! …”
- Nick Stock,, USA
“ … Complex … Fine velvet tannins supported by acidity a vibrato of textures, quite a lengthy complex finish"
- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ


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, AUS
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,, USA
'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
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Pegasus Bay

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Off Licence.
Licence Holder:Donaldson Family Limited T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
Licence no:57/OFF/458/2022 Exp:16/3/2025