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 and two spouses involved, managing various aspects.
THE VINEYARD AND VINES
The vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces carved out of New Zealand’s Southern Alps by an ice-age glacier. 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 soil is free draining and 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.
Warm and settled weather during flowering led to a very large initial set. Fruit thinning was then undertaken to bring the crop back to the desired level. A perfect summer followed by a warm dry autumn, allowed for extra hang time on the vine, encouraging the grapes to shrivel and resulting in beautiful flavour development and concentration.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
We use the traditional French variety of Muscat (Muscat Petit Grains). There are very few rows in our vineyard, so only a small volume of this wine has been made. After picking, the grapes were gently pressed, with only the free run juice being used. The wine was tank fermented to preserve varietal integrity, and slowly matured over four months, until a perfect balance was achieved.
The wine is medium straw in appearance. The aroma serves up intense floral notes such as citrus blossom, along with impressions of exotic spice, orange zest and freshly crushed root ginger. It expands on the palate to become mouth filling and unctuous. Additional hang time has given this wine intense concentration, however there is refreshing seam of minerality and acidity that ensures the off dry finish remains in balance.
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