The Donaldson Family have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. Founder Ivan Donaldson planted the first Canterbury vineyard in 1976 and went on to establish Pegasus Bay in 1986 with his wife Christine. It is a true family business, with all four of their sons and two spouses involved, managing various aspects.
THE VINEYARD AND VINES
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil. Being in the most sheltered and warmest part of our vineyard they receive extra heat. Early in the summer we removed leaves from around the bunches in order to promote physiological ripening. Crop levels were kept modest in order to enhance the concentration in this wine.
A mild spring, a warm summer and early autumn produced beautifully ripe, healthy fruit. Late-season rain did not affect this variety.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
As malbec is a Bordeaux varietal we used that region’s traditional methods to make this wine. After picking during May the grapes were fermented by their indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained from the tanks and sprayed back over the surface of the cap of floating grape skins to keep it moist and healthy. The wine was drained off skins and put into French oak barriques shortly after fermentation in order to prevent excessive extraction from this tannin rich variety. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malolactic or secondary fermentation. It was in these barriques for 18 months, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally prior to bottling.
On release the wine is a deep ruby colour. The aromas and flavours suggest purple plums, blackberries, cranberries and vanilla pod with a savoury hint of freshly roasted coffee beans and roasted game. It is generously structured, unashamedly mouth filling, broad shouldered and muscular, with a wide sweep of plush tannins and a spicy finish that draw out and supports the lingering flavours.
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