The Season

A mild spring was followed by a warm summer and a lingering, dry autumn. Occasional well spaced rain kept the vines happy. This enabled physiological ripeness to be obtained in wonderfully healthy fruit before end of season humidity produced bunches and berries with perfect noble botrytis.

The Vineyard and Vines

The outcrop of land on which these grapes were grown consists largely of weathered stones and mineral rich gravels. These were shorn off New Zealand’s Southern Alps by an ice-age glacier, which carried them down the valleys and deposited them in selected sites. The vineyard has warm days, but the nights are amongst the coolest in the Waipara Valley, which helps draw out the ripening period and retain good natural acidity. This individual terroir is especially suited to riesling.

The Harvest and Winemaking

The grapes were hand harvested during late May, selecting only bunches that had at least 30% noble botrytis. These were then gently pressed. The small volume of juice that was obtained was fermented slowly at cool temperatures in stainless steel to help the wine retain its vibrant fruit characters and varietal purity. At all stages, from fermentation to bottling, it was handled very carefully to help it retain a little of its natural carbon dioxide. This provides additional crispness and may result in a small amount of spritzig when first poured.

The Wine

On release it has a bright lemon hue shot with hints of gold. The abundant aromas and flavours suggest limes, mandarins, peaches, cantaloupe melons and comb honey, with a hint of root ginger. While mouth filling and concentrated, it has a lively core of crisp acidity and minerality that provides a perfect foil to its lusciousness and draws out the lingering aftertaste. With careful cellaring this wine should develop extra complexity and depth over the next decade and live well beyond.

Download Tasting Notes


“… Full-bodied and sweet with dried apricot and candied lemons that follow through to a sweet finish of Turkish delight” 
- James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA


“Fabulous aromas … A delicious wine, perfect as an aperitif and some less sweeter dessert .”
- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ
Gorgeous perfumed nose with aromas of lemon, grapefruit, magnolia and struck match/gunflint sulphide complexity… lively, invigorating, fruity-style with good drive and phenolics to balance the sweetness.
- New Zealand Wine Rater, Stephen Bennett MW & Lynnette Hudson, NZ

“… A luscious dessert wine … Sweetness is perfectly balanced by crisp acidity … ”

- Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, NZ

Luscious and sumptuous … richly textured palate that’s dazzling and delectable. Gorgeously sweet with excellent balance and harmony, offering terrific drinking”

- Sam Kim,, NZ
“The seductive and shapely 2020 Riesling Aria Late Picked may have generous sweetness (70g/L) but a prickle of retained CO2 combined with the naturally vibrant acidity of Riesling and lightly phenolic character provide the structured framework for this wine to remain focused and clean…. It's excellently balanced …” 
- Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous, USA
“… This harmonious late-picked Riesling with luscious fruit, honey and spice shine with vibrant acidity, complexity and a moreish, long finish.” 
- Candice Chow,, NZ
“… Full-bodied and sweet, yet fresh, with sharp acidity and bright, zesty character. Excellent balance” 
- James Suckling Wine Reviews,, USA


Decadently luscious Riesling"
- Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, AUS & NZ
This is one of New Zealand’s great white wines each year… It’s a stunning balance between luscious, textual richness and the refreshing delicious succulence provided by the acidity.”  
- Joelle Thomson, Drinksbiz, NZ
“… A luscious, opulent, viscous, full-bodied botrytis style with enough acid to balance the richness. Well done.”
- New Zealand Wine Rater, Stephen Bennett MW & Lynnette Hudson, NZ
“… The wine is refreshing and uncloying, supported by mouthwatering acidity, carry this flavoursome nectar through the palate with ease … refreshing palate with the usual complexity” 
- Candice Chow,, NZ
Offering opulence as well as sophistication … delicious sweetness and refreshing acidity”
- Sam Kim – Wine Writer,, NZ
“… notable depth and harmony. It should be long-lived, but is already a lovely mouthful.
- Michael Cooper, Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide, NZ


“Off-dry and very impressive … The palate has immensely fleshy appeal and a neat resolve and balance”
- Nick Stock,, USA
“Pure, fresh, fruity and alluring bouquet … Long and delicious finish.  A lovely wine ….”
- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ
“   stunning delicious wine … bright and mouthwatering … lingering finish”
- Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, USA
Luscious Riesling … a delicious wine …”
- Bob Campbell MW,, NZ
“  one of New Zealand’s most seductively succulent Rieslings. … full body and powerful lingering finish”
- Joelle Thomson,, NZ


“Offering up pronounced notes of lemon marmalade, acacia honey… offers a fair bit off rich, unctuous sweetness. Marked by a racy acid backbone, which cuts through the appealing viscosity …, the refreshing finish goes on and on.”
- Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW,, USA
“Bold and rich scents of honey, syrup, sweet citrus, apple tart tatin and poached orchard fruits. On the palate - lush and juicy with significant acidity and weight …. A delicious wine!“ 
- Cameron Douglas MS,, NZ
“... It’s cleansing yet indulgent at the same time. Gorgeous stuff.“ 
- Yvonne Lorkin,, NZ
Excellent to outstanding
“…A sweet, powerful and intense wine … layers of flavour: textural and richly creamy: sweetness yet with zingy acidity keeping it fresh.  Delicious.
- Mark Henderson, Otago Daily Times, NZ
“…. excellent acidity and tension to match the unctuousness, … carries with brightness and energy to a very long moderately sweet and luscious finish ….  This is a beautifully elegant and harmoniously entwined late-pick Riesling” 
- Raymond Chan,, NZ


“. . Exotic fruits and spices offer a delicious package of flavours. Full-flavoured wine with a smooth texture and lingering finish. Very classy sticky . “
- Bob Campbell MW,, NZ
This has an elegant, fresh and tightly bound nose with excellent presence and depth of exotic floral fragrances and lime fruit aromas intermixed with wild honey and marmalade botrytis. The integrity of the fruit shows in floral and lime clarity and the detail of nuance is beautiful….The fruit is underlined by subtle phenolic textures that emerge to balance the richness and lusciousness. This has great weight, depth and presence, with lively acidity providing the palate energy and drive. The wine flows positively to a full blossoming, sustained finish with florals, honey and musk notes.This is a beautifully fragrant and exotic sweet Riesling with a rich, finely textured palate of great presence and line.
- Raymond Chan,, NZ


Made from a selection of bunches with shrivelled berries for greater concentration. A delicious vintage for Aria with tree fruit and bush honey flavours. Moderately sweet Riesling but not so sweet that it can’t be enjoyed as a delicious aperitif. A successful vintage for an iconic New Zealand dessert wine style.
- Bob Campbell MW,, NZ
"The cool 2012 season has given this sweet and rich Riesling precision and drive. It has dense concentration of fruit suggesting low yields in the vineyard….. While sweet, it is clean and precise, and would suit spicy food although I'm happy to drink glass after glass of it without any accompaniment.
- Rebecca Gibb,, NZ 
This is a beautifully elegant and refined sweet Riesling with a balance between decadence and freshness.
-Raymond Chan,, NZ


92/100 Points
“wonderfully honeyed/musky character on the nose … rich and generously fruited in the mouth, it has a good backbone of refreshing acidity and a very long finish.”
—Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, USA
“A very classy wine … It should flourish for many years.”
—Michael Cooper's Buyer’s Guide 2012, NZ
95/100 Points
“It’s stunning on the nose … the palate is concentrated and generous with rich texture and lovely sweetness which is superbly balanced by the refreshing acidity.”
—Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, NZ


“Peach, honey and mandarines with a mineral delicacy. Lovely freshness on the finish balanced by residual sugar. Delicious.”
—Rebecca Gibb, Decanter, UK
“Stunning – THE wine of the tasting and a sure fire GOLD in any tasting it enters. The flavours just go on and on and the mouthfeel is oily and opulent. You MUST try this.”
—, NZ
“Just one of the many strings in the bow of top-notch New Zealand producer Pegasus Bay, this is a wonderfully refreshing yet intensely sweet wine. Immediately identifiable as Riesling, it has a lemony, zesty freshness and superb balance. It’s hard to imagine anyone not loving this wine.”
—Beverley Blanning MW, Sommelier Journal, US
“… is a classy, very elegant Waipara wine, … fresh, pure, late harvest fruit flavours, showing excellent richness. Finely focused, with a luscious sweetness … coupled with mouth-watering acidity, it’s a beauty.”
—Michael Cooper, Winestate, AUS


17.5/20 Points
“Deep lemon with lots of evolution on the nose. Honeyed wine with lots of acidity and lots of sugar - probably very difficult to make and much more complex and ambitious than most. Bravo! A real product of the vineyard. Very zesty. Hovers between medium dry and medium sweet”
—Jancis Robinson, UK
“…This wine underscores the multi-talented nature of Riesling. Poised, balanced and far from sugar dominated…”
—Cuisine Magazine, NZ
97/100 Points
“Pegasus Bay, in the Waipara region near Christchurch, makes some of New Zealand's most exotic wines. This magnificent sweet wine, perfumed beautifully and beguiling. Pristine fruit flavours and perfect balance in the mouth.”
—Huon Hooke, Sydney Morning Herald, Good Living, AUS
“The 2007 Vintage is an elegant, slightly honeyed Waipara wine with lovely ripeness and richness...great harmony.”
—Michael Cooper’s Buyer’s Guide, 2009, NZ
—WineState Magazine, AUS
Download Reviews

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