THE FAMILY

The Donaldson Family have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. Founder Ivan Donaldson planted one of Canterbury’s first vineyards 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 involved.

THE VINES

The vines are located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces. They benefit from being in the lee of the Teviotdale Range, giving maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes and thus creating a unique mesoclimate. Over 35 years old, a large proportion are still planted on their own roots. They are grown 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 site 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.

THE SEASON

Settled weather over flowering provided a healthy fruit set, which was then thinned back to desired levels. The ensuing summer was dry with very little rain, resulting in perfectly ripened small berries full of intense flavour and concentration. Thankfully, our harvest was able to proceed during the C-19 lockdown, and an unbroken autumn full of warm days meant the fruit was picked at its optimum ripeness.

THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING

Maestro is part of our reserve series and represents the very best of our Bordeaux fruit. As with all our reserves, this celebrated claret style wine is only made in exceptional years. After being picked in mid-April, the grapes began fermentation naturally in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained and sprayed back over the cap of floating grape skins (rather than plunging), to ensure a perfect tannin balance was extracted from the fruit. The wine was then gently pressed off and put into French oak barriques (approx. 50% new). The following summer, when the weather warmed, it underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing in oak for 2 years, a selection from the best barrels was carefully blended to produce the most balanced yet complex wine possible. The finished product is a blend of approximately 45% Merlot, 40% Malbec, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

THE WINE

It has an alluring deep purple tone. The nose is a volley of dark, earthy, and savoury notes, meshed on a lavish and complex canvas. Black forest fruit, mushroom, aged soy, and smoked game, bolstered with hints of liquorice, mixed spice, eucalyptus, and a whisp of tree moss. The palate is rugged and coiled, showcasing bold tannins and exhilarating acidity that converge to create a formidable backbone. Decadent fruit weight and impressive concentration play the perfect support role, giving balance and harmony, ensuring the wine remains expansive and richly textured throughout its sustained and lasting finish.

Download Tasting Notes


2019

94/100
”An inviting nose of blackcurrants, ink, coffee bean, pine and fresh mint … Black fruit laced with oak washes over the palate with pleasant spice and herbal complexity. Lingers on the palate.”
- James Suckling Wine Reviews, www.jamessuckling.com, USA

95/100

The Maestro represents the best of the Pegasus Bay Bordeaux fruit. I was privileged to receive a pre-release sample and all I can suggest is that you get in the queue. There is a class about its swagger and I just want more … Dangerously smooth, its silky presence oozes the prestige of the label it represents … I found fascinating … “

- Steve Leszczynski, Qwine, www.qwinereviews.com, AUS

“… it is a powerful, sturdy red highly concentrated and a silky-smooth texture. Weighty, rich and rounded
- Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz, NZ

19+/20
“… This densely constructed red blend shows power, complexity and a mealy, long, savoury finish.
- Candice Chow, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, NZ

Magnificently styled and seductive … it's gorgeously layered in the mouth displaying velvety texture backed by loads of silky tannins. Plush and multi-layered with stunning complexity and length.” 
- Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz, NZ

2016

19/20
Maestro is one of the top reds in this country … It is a dense, dark, full-bodied red Impressive is an understatement
- Joelle Thomson, drinksbiz Magazine, NZ

“It's superbly fruited and hugely appealing wonderfully concentrated and richly expressed delectably enticing …” 
- Sam Kim, www.wineorbit.co.nz, NZ
19.5/20
“… This is a brilliant NZ South island Bordeaux blend with richness and concentration … Only made in exceptional years”
- Candice Chow, www.raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, NZ
95/100

“… A delicious meaty wine with muscle, power, flavour and finish. Love it!

- Cameron Douglas MS, camerondouglasms.com, NZ
“... One of the South Island's greatest 'Bordeaux-style' reds, it should flourish for a decade.” 
- Michael Cooper, www.michaelcooper.co.nz, NZ
94/100
” … Super fine tannins deliver a ball of spiced, dark-chocolate-coated black cherries and plum liqueur …”
- Nick Stock, www.jamessuckling.com, USA

2015

93/100
This has an attractive melding of bright violet-like fragrance with rich, dark berry fruits. The merlot really has the upper hand: it's all regal tannins and pristine blueberry fruit flavours. A superb mid-weight, flavorsome red.
- Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, USA
19/20
“Full, very dark, deep … the nose is bold and intensely concentrated … The wine carries to an elegant, sustained finish.  This is a bold, fulsome, sweet succulent Merlot blend …”
- Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, NZ
Densely fruited … the flavours harnessed by a touch of silky tannin.  Long finish
- Winestate Magazine, AUS
93/100
"… a medium to full-bodied red, with mouthwatering fruit and a long, dry, silky finish.”
- Joe Czerwinski, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, USA
94/100
“Dark red berry fruits with plums and blackberry, violets and brown spices …. organic earthy quality, complex and engaging … tannins adding a lot of structure.  Lengthy finish and very youthful still
- Cameron Douglas MS, camerondouglasms.com, NZ
94/100
“ … Full bodied powerful style …Good stuff.”
- Gary Walsh, The Winefront, AUS

2009

93/100
Jasmine-tinged blackberry and blackcurrant fruit here, with hints of crème de cassis, purple flowers, clove, macerated plums, milk chocolate and gently spiced oak. It smells delicious. Smooth and svelte on the palate with beautifully detailed fruit, spice and meaty, smoky nuances.
- Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, USA
95/100
Attractive red wine with seductive sweet fruit and flavours suggesting blackcurrant, coffee, chocolate and dried herbs. Rich, almost luscious wine with a long and gentle drying finish. This is the best vintage of this label I can recall tasting
- Bob Campbell MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine, AUS
. . . arguably the best yet. Deep and youthful in colour, it is rich and flowing, with concentrated, beautifully ripe blackcurrant, plum, spice and coffee flavours, complex and finely structured. Drink now and over the next decade.
- Michael Cooper, Buyers Guide 2012, NZ
TOP TIP - This is always a blockbuster of a wine and this 2009 vintage is as good as any. It has a dark, dense nose of plums with chocolate notes whilst the palate is stacked full of sweet, ripe juicy fruit that is concentrated and powerful and counterbalance to the bold tannins.
- TizWine.com, NZ

2007

91/100
“Hearty, rich and warming red in a mellow and flavoursome style. Some ripe plum and berry flavours contrast with more savoury, toasty, spicy notes. A distinctive and characterful wine.
- Bob Campbell MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine, AUS
”Drinking well now, this Waipara red is a blend of merlot (50%) and malbec (40%), with minor portions of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Barrel-aged for two years, it is deeply coloured and fleshy, with generous, spicy, nutty flavours, showing excellent complexity and richness.
- Michael Cooper, Winestate, AUS
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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