The Season

This was our coolest summer in the 30 years we have been growing grapes at Peg Bay  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 .  Mother nature came to the party by naturally moderating crop levels which 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 .With our original plantings  these grow intermingled throughout the 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 acid levels of natural acidity.  The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil.

Harvest and Winemaking

We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. We picked the various blocks at different stages during  April , depending on their maturity We are looking for ripe fruit to give satisfyingly ripe smooth tannins whilst still retaining an element of vibrancy & red fruit so the wine is always refreshing . Most of the grapes were destemed 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 up to a week 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 gently pressed off and put into artiasan Burgundian barriques (about 40 % new) from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. 

In the springtime 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, we selected those which we felt best typified the vintage and our terroir to produce this wine. As usual, these came mainly from our oldest vines.

The Wine

On release the wine is a bright ruby colour. Its generous aromas and flavours dark cherries, blackberries, raspberries and mulberries, suffused with chocolate mocha and spice. There is an underlying savoury character, suggesting grilled meats and mushrooms with a hint of black olive tapenade. It is seductively light on entry but rapidly expands on the palate to become rich and mouth filling, while retaining elegance and poise. Silky tannins help draw out its lingering aftertaste.

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““… 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