“Pegasus Bay Merlot Cabernet ages like clockwork”
Spring and the first half of summer were so warm and dry that we were worried the vines might be affected by drought. Then we had a brief torrential downpour which recharged the groundwater reserves and refreshed the vines. The rest of the summer was excellent. There was some late autumn humidity, but as we had exposed the berries to the sunlight they remained healthy and ripened excellently.
The vines are grown in stony, freely draining soil on north facing terraces. Being in the most sheltered and warmest part of our vineyard they receive extra heat and we removed the leaves from around the bunches early in the summer to accentuate this effect. Some of the blocks are over a quarter of a century old and are on their own roots.
We use the traditional methods which are employed to make Bordeaux’s celebrated red wine, Claret. After picking in mid-May the grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained from the tanks and sprayed back over the surface of the cap of floating grape skins to keep it moist and healthy. After fermentation ceased the tanks were sealed and the grape remnants allowed to steep or macerate in the newly formed wine for several weeks, the exact period being judged by daily tasting. The wine was then drained and put into French oak barriques. In the summer after harvest it underwent natural spontaneous malo-lactic, or secondary, fermentation. It remained in these barriques for 2 years, during which time it underwent several rackings, enabling it to clarify naturally. The various batches were then blended according to taste before bottling.
The merlot has given the wine beautiful plum and purple peach fruitiness, while the cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc have added cassis, tobacco and spicy ethereal notes. The palate entry is deceptively soft, but the wine expands in the mouth to reveal a broad framework of ripe tannins, that draw out its length and support a lingering after-taste.
“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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