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 now involved.
The vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces. It benefits from being in the lee of the Teviotdale Range, giving maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes and thus creating a unique mesoclimate. The vines are over 30 years old, with a large proportion planted on their own roots. They are located on the “Glasnevin Gravels” where greywacke stones, silt and loam have been washed down from the mountains over the millennia. The soil is of low fertility, resulting in naturally reduced vine vigour. This produces low yields of optimally ripened, high quality, flavourful grapes, which fully express the qualities of this unique terroir. The vineyard has warm days, but the nights are amongst the coolest in the Waipara Valley, drawing out the ripening period of the grapes, while still retaining good natural acidity.
Settled weather during December provided optimal conditions for flowering. A very hot summer then enabled the grapes to ripen beautifully. Free draining stony soil helped mitigate the effects of some late summer rain, and the ensuing dry autumn meant the fruit was able to be picked in excellent condition.
Made using traditional Bordeaux methods, the grapes were picked in April and then left to ferment naturally. The wine was then gently pressed off and put into French oak barriques, where it was aged for 18 months. The following summer, when the weather warmed, it underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation.
On release the colour is deep carmine, its bouquet an ethereal potpourri of bright red fruit, violet, mineral undertones and a whisper of morning dew. The palate is soft and inviting, with plush ripe tannins and vibrant acidity that create a pleasing tension. While mouth filling and well weighted, there is an elegance and poise that ensure it remains graceful. This is a delicate yet intricate wine, a lovers playfight with a velvet pillow.
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