“Pegasus Bay Merlot Cabernet ages like clockwork”
The vineyard experienced a cool, wet December when the vines were in flower, which resulted in poor pollination and a very low crop. The rest of the summer was very good and the autumn warm and dry. Leaves were removed in the fruiting zone early in the season to allow the bunches to be fully exposed to the sun to aid their ripening. We were thus able to harvest fully mature, healthy fruit and the low yield has given the wine extra concentration and depth.
After picking the grapes were carefully hand selected so that only the best were used. These were fermented in vats in the traditional Bordeaux manner with the developing wine being drained from the bottom of the tanks, aerated by splashing and then being pumped back over the floating cap of the skins, to keep them moist. Following fermentation, the new wine was kept in contact with remnants of the grapes, the exact duration of which was determined by tasting each vat daily. When it was felt to be optimal, the wine was removed and put into oak barriques, 30% of which were new. In the spring after harvest, when the barrel cellar began to warm, the wine underwent spontaneous malo-lactic fermentation by the action of its own indigenous micro-organisms. It remained in these barriques for a period of 2 years, during which time 3-4 rackings were carried out so that it achieved clarity without filtration.
We have 6 clones of merlot, 3 of malbec, 2 of cabernet sauvignon and 1 of cabernet franc in our vineyard, which has helped give the wine extra complexity and integration. Merlot provides a purple plum fruit character, a plump fleshy structure and a backbone of ripe tannins. Malbec supports this and adds an aromatic rose-petal-like element. Cassis and blackcurrant impressions come from the cabernet sauvignon, while cabernet franc gives an ethereal fruitiness. Underlying and integrating these are savoury nuances suggestive of black olives, coffee beans, cigar smoke and dark chocolate. While it is a big, muscular, mouth-filling wine it has a refined palate structure with velvety tannins and a lingering flavoursome finish.
It is ready to drink on release but careful cellaring should bring out additional layers of complexity and interest.
“Pegasus Bay Merlot Cabernet ages like clockwork”
“It's gorgeously ripe and lifted on the nose … wonderfully flavoursome palate delivering excellent weight and plump mouthfeel. Well structured by beautifully infused tannins, it's bold yet stylish with a persistent robust finish.”
“A delicious dark and complex blend … from North Canterbury, where long, dry autumns can offer ripe, rich, dark flavours. Add great winemaking into the mix and here is an exceptional value red that drinks beautifully now and can age further.”
“I really like the flower and red fruits here that flow across the palate. Medium-bodied with fine tannins and a reserved finish. Very classy ...”
“… Savoury chocolate notes add depth to the black-fruited palate.”
“This superb full-bodied blend hails from the Waipara Valley in the heart of North Canterbury … Dark blackberry fruit flavours marry nicely with the smooth soft appeal of Merlot.”
“… A saucy blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, malbec and cabernet franc … velvety-smooth textures and layers of plum, mocha, hints of leather and tobacco leaf on the palate … Yum!.”
“… very good complexity, gentle tannins, and a supple, finely textured finish.”
“Big, brooding, earthy, Bordelais style … full-bodied, nicely weighted with rich, chewy tannins and positive length ….”
“ … Seductively smooth-textured wine … Delicious, complex red with good cellaring potential. Clearly from a top vintage …”
“Richly fruited and enticing … flavoursome in the mouth with excellent weight and persistency. Plump and fleshy with a prolonged delicious finish.”
“The wine possesses power and good energy generated by richness and concentration. This is readily delicious, with elegant and poise on a well-structured palate….”
“Remarkable red that probably owes much of its rich, ripe flavours to relatively old vines and the experienced hand of winemaker, Mat Donaldson …”
“… Well made, youthful, fleshy and long. A lovely example ready to enjoy …”
“… mouthfiling with concentration, vibrant blackcurrant, plum, herb and spice flavours, showing good complexity, finely balanced tannins and obvious cellaring potential.”
"Delightfully fruited and fragrant … succulent and smooth … finishing long and flavoursome"
“...Concentrated … This is a refined Merlot and Cabernet based blend … on a vibrant palate with fine structure”
“ … Dry, firm textures, youthful, ripe and loaded with flavour …Plenty of length and finish … “
“ … Powerful, juicy, dark fruits dance on the palate …Sumptuous fine-grained tannins and beautiful balance… Amazingly long and delicious finish …”
“ … This has richness and fullness on the palate with plump plums holding very deep, fleshy and long”
“An impressive wine for the ball of succulent ripe plum-flavored fruit it dishes up amid succulently ripe tannins and fresh, earthy, background complexity. This has all-round appeal, casual or formal!”
“ … strong, vibrant blackcurrant, plum and spice flavours, finely integrated oak, ripe, supple tannins, and excellent depth, complexity and harmony.”
“ …. immensely appealing …. Excellent length"
“ … Lovely bouquet of fruit, mineral, concentration and charm … complex and intriguing … Great example from Canterbury”
"…The nose is seamlessly melded and reveals fragrant spices, musk and a suggestion of camphor. Medium-full bodied, the palate is softly concentrated with integrated flavours ... good depth and the palate flows smoothly with satin-like tannins, and underlying acid vitality. ... long, complex….”
“Full-coloured, with fresh plum, spice and nutty oak flavours, showing excellent complexity and depth."
impressive complexity…” Good intensity of flavours…The oak is perfectly integrated and there’s a lovely round, supple texture in the mouth, giving superb structure and balance
100 best wines "Chewy, fleshy red with plum, dark berry chocolate/mocha and nutty oak flavours. Deliciously accessible red.”
"Top Tip" “From an excellent vintage this is a bold and intense wine with aromas and flavours of dark plums, blackberries, cassis and blueberries. It has mealy style that makes it dense and long lasting.”
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