Awarded Classic Status.
The whole growing season was ideal apart from the period when the vines were in flower. This was the coldest and wettest December Waipara has ever experienced and as a result the number of berries setting was extremely low, resulting in the smallest crops we have seen. Because of this the wine has extra concentration and depth.
It has been made utilising traditional techniques which have made the chardonnay of the Burgundy region in France so famous. After harvest the grapes were gently pressed and the unclarified juice was put into oak barriques and puncheons (500L) made by artisan Burgundian coopers where it underwent natural fermentation by the action of the grapes' own yeasts. It was then matured in these barriques and puncheons, 30% of which were new, on its yeast lees (sur lie).
When the temperature in the cellars warmed in the spring after harvest, the wine started to undergo natural malo-lactic fermentation through the action of its indigenous micro-organisms. While all the wine commenced this secondary fermentation the exact amount which was allowed to occur in each barrique and puncheon was determined by taste. Multiple batches of chardonnay were made, each coming from a different part of the vineyard. The final wine was produced by blending these according to taste prior to bottling.
This wine is a complex blend of primary fruit and secondary wine making characters. The aromas and flavours are chiefly those of citrus fruits, yellow plums, melons, white peaches and nectarines. These are intertwined with savoury elements, hinting of barbequed and buttered sweet corn, grilled mushrooms, wood smoke, liquorice and spice. While the wine is rich and powerful it has a spine of crisp acidity, which keeps it tightly knit, elegant and focussed. There is a haunting after-taste which lingers on the palate long after swallowing. Although ready to drink on release, with careful cellaring it should continue to develop additional layers of complexity for 6-8 years after harvest and live well beyond.
Awarded Classic Status.
"Although wine maker Matthew Donaldson look as though he has just got in from an all night rave they are presently producing some of New Zealand’s most exhilarating, Burgundy inspired white wines...".
“… An absolute Southern icon chardonnay … generously layered … It’s beautifully balanced, and boasts slightly charred oak and waves of gumtingling textures that last and last. It’s outstanding. … “
“There’s no mistaking the power and intensity of this wine … Bold and proud bouquet … a decent acid line and persistent lengthy finish.”
“… fragrant, complex bouquet. Mouthfilling, it is concentrated, with vibrant, peachy, mealy flavours, oak complexity, fresh acidity and the structure to mature well. Full of personality …"
“Lots of flint and stone aromas with lemons and green apples. Medium-bodied with a tight and linear palate and a long, flavourful finish. Very intense.”
“… a smooth-textured chardonnay with white peach, lemon curd, grapefruit and spicy oak flavours. Appealing purity and power. A sophisticated and complex wine.”
“This is one of the South Island’s most powerful, full-bodied, dry and rewardingly complex Chardonnays … The flavours are elegant and focused with a lingering finish.”
“Superbly complex and inviting with ripe stone fruit, grapefruit, gun smoke … it's powerful and richly expressed on the palate offering outstanding depth and textured mouthfeel. Great presence with a prolonged gratifying finish.”
“ … This rich, multi-layered Chardonnay shows power and abundance of vivid fruit across a lengthy, sustained finish.”
“…The wines is creamy, dry, full-bodies and savoury with an incredibly refreshing taste of ripe, citrusy grapefruit and a lingering finish.”
“…This is not your shy and retiring Chardonnay … it’s a real mouthful … “
“Strapping yet delicate, richly flavoured yet subtle, this sophisticated North Canterbury wine is one of the country’s best Chardonnays … “
“Intense, richly textured … A generously-proportioned and complex chardonnay”.
“… a wonderfully weighted palate that offers outstanding depth and richness … gloriously satisfying” .
“… Masterfully, this speaks the language of Burgundy with all of its familiar inflections; flint, restraint, the phenolics of a delayed whole-bunch press … An intellectual rendition and very well done.”
“…Great intensity and concentration. Complex and rich; long finish with grapefruit citrus … “
“This powerful, North Canterbury wine has a definite ‘wow’ factor. … Full of personality, ... weighty but elegant palate, … lovely depth.”
“Impressive, vibrant and flinty …Great wine that is packed with interest”
“Superbly fruited and impressively lifted …. Seductively flinty complexity. … The palate is equally engaging with excellent weight and concentration … finishing extremely long and expansive”
“Bold, complex and flavoursome Chardonnay … A rich, weighty, textural wine that ‘feels’ as good as it tastes”
“ … the wine posses underlying power carrying the palate to a long finish. … a rich and luscious chardonnay …”
“... satisfylingly complex wine with a great texture and very lengthy finish. A bright high energy wine …”
“…Right out of the blocks …drinking superbly”
“...Quite complex … tasty and very moreish. Lengthy finish, balanced and well-made”
“...Excellent … a walk on the wild side …”
“Handy concentration and integration of some very complex traits … long smooth finish”
“Very complex, very concentrated and very good. This has a big hit of grapefruit and lemon citrus. Quite pithy and flinty. The palate has layers and layers of fruit, delivering flavors that follow in the stone fruit and citrus threads seen on the nose. Spicy oak warms up through the finish”
“ …. The bouquet is fragrant and youthful; the palate weighty … a very finely balanced, long, savoury finish. Already delicious ….”
“ … the palate is elegantly concentrated with an intense heart … The mouthfeel has fine textures guiding the fruit, and the acidity is refined and refreshingly crisp … to a long, lingering finish of stonefruits and nuts. This is an intense and complex flavoured Chardonnay” .
“It’s not often you find Chardonnay as good as this one,…a complex, dry and richly flavoursome white…super delicious…”
“Strapping yet delicate, richly flavoured yet subtle, this sophisticated North Canterbury wine is one of the country's best Chardonnays. …. Weighty, sweet-fruited and smooth, it has very generous, peachy, mealy, slightly buttery and spicy flavours, and a long, dry, savoury, seamless finish”
“ …. punchy and bold in expression. Full-bodied and with immense presence and power …. This is a very powerful, flavour-packed, complex-layered Chardonnay …”
“ … a rich, intense Chardonnay that has plenty of power …A wine that shows class"
“...Bold, powerful wine with a lingering finish.” .
“ This is an outstanding white wine, year on year; modelled on the great Burgundian whites … An exceptional South Island Chardonnay that says ‘drink me now’ but also clearly has the staying power to age and evolve beautifully …” .
“..complexity builds as the wine rests on the palate; specific use of oak adds texture and length.A great wine that teases the palate in all the right ways..”
“…The wine has a linear core following a fine, textural thread, unveiling layers of savoury stonefruit and nutty detail with subtle oak and minerally nuances as it carries to a long, softly refreshing finish. This is a complex-flavoured savoury, stonefruit and nutty Chardonnay with excellent vitality and fresh acidity . . .”.
This Chardonnay comes from North Canterbury’s best known winery, Pegasus Bay, whose reputation has been forged on making great whites – particularly full bodied Rieslings but also exceptional good Chardonnays, which can age well. This is due to the cool climate delivering grapes with vibrant acidity, which preserves these lovely fleshy whites.
One of the best NZ Chardonnays I’ve tasted this year. This youthful Chardonnay is taut and linear, focused and elegant. It gives attractive flinty sulphide-derived characters, as well as white stone fruit. New French oak adds a hazelnutty layer. High level of concentration in mouth suggests low yields, and combined with a long finish, this Chardonnay exudes quality.
“…Reticent, pure aromas of lemon peel, lime, minerals and white pepper. Densely packed and subtly complex, with citrus and nectarine flavors complemented by spicy oak and a captivating leesy quality that contributes texture as well as another flavor element. More Burgundy than New World in style in spite of its mid-palate sweetness….” .
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