Awarded Super Classic Status.
This was one of our cooler summers but it was followed by a lingering dry autumn. By leaving the grapes on the vines until later in the season we achieved a beautiful spectrum of ripe varietal flavours with good natural acidity. A modest, but reasonable crop level has contributed to good fruit concentration and body in the wine.
We have about a dozen different clones of pinot noir and often these grow intermingled throughout our various blocks. The vines, many of which are nearly 30 years old and on their own roots, grow on a series of north facing, gradually descending terraces. While the site is warm during the day it is cool at night. This allows the fruit to ripen fully but slowly and to retain good levels of natural acidity. The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil.
We use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. We picked the various blocks at different stages during late April and early May, depending on their maturity. Most of the grapes were destemmed and put into small fermenting vats, retaining as many whole berries as possible. Ten percent of whole bunches were also added to these vats. They were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from the pinot noir skins. After this time the grapes warmed enough to start fermenting. During fermentation the floating cap of grape skins was twice daily gently pushed back under the wine by hand to keep it moist and healthy. When the fermentation finished the vats were sealed and the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for a week or two to help extract a different range of tannins that add structure and depth. The duration of this period was determined by daily tasting. Subsequently the wine was drained off and put into oak barriques (30% new) from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. In the summer after harvest, when the weather warmed, the wine underwent malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. Both this and the original fermentation phase were completely natural and without added micro-organisms. After maturing for 18 months in these barriques the batches made from the many different plots of pinot were carefully blended in varying portions to produce this wine.
On release the wine has a bright ruby hue. The bright aromas and flavours suggest blackberries, raspberries and black cherries supported by an underlay of chocolate and cinnamon. Savoury elements, including impressions of roast meats and grilled mushroom, should become more prominent as the wine ages. It is generous and mouth filling but has a refined palate with plush velvety tannins and a lingering spicy aftertaste. It should develop a range of additional fascinating nuances with careful cellaring over the next decade and live well beyond.
Awarded Super Classic Status.
"The flight of Pegasus Bay Pinot Noirs continued to illustrate their burgundy influence, the reds often reminiscent of Morey-saint-Denis".
"Felton Road, along with Pegasus Bay has been my favourite pinot producer in New Zealand for years."
“Superbly complex and enticing … Silky-smooth and multi-layered with loads of delectable flavours.”
“Intense pinot noir with cassis, blackberry, black cherry, spicy oak, dark chocolate and ripe plum flavours .. appealing purity and nicely layered flavours that linger long after the wine has been swallowed.”
“This is one of North Canterbury's greatest Pinot Noirs … . rich, complex and very savoury. A youthful, harmonious red … ”
“… Its distinctive boldness and complex flavours make this a wine to sip and savour … Drinking beautifully now and it has the structure to age a lot longer. A keeper.”
“The 2020 Pinot Noir is a mouthfeel, combining ripeness and fruit concentration with the cool climate tension of the Waipara Valley … There’s plenty of fruit weight here and an abundance of fine-grained tannins in the context of Pinot Noir, providing a sturdy frame for this wine to evolve. Give it time in bottle.”
“… deliciously savoury … There is concentration in the mid-palate that pushes the palate through to a generous finish. Deep and complex.”
“Moreish and delicious in equal doses, the delicacy and generosity of these Pegasus Bay Pinots are captivating … . A divine mouth perfume clings to a persistent finish calling you back for more, an invitation that is hard to resist. Great stuff!”
“Pinot noir is characterised as the most cerebral of grapes, but always in combination with the pure sensual pleasure it gives. Both are embodied in the complex and concentrated Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Pinot Noir 2020. Powered by a thrilling line of acidity ….”
“Rich, mouth-filling red … Complex, generously proportioned and slightly rustic wine that is certainly approachable now but should mellow nicely with bottle age."
“Superbly complex … Silky-smooth and multi-layered with loads of delectable flavours.”
“…This is a rich, dark-toned Pinot Noir packed with earth, savoury elements, and a silky, fragranced palate.”
“… an elegant Pinot Noir … A really intriguing meaty-savoury nose … It’s ripe and concentrated but well balanced, with a good tart finish."
“Pegasus Bay winemaker Mat Donaldson and his team made this exceptional Pinot Noir, which expresses both vineyard and climate of North Canterbury … This drinks well now and will evolve for at least a decade”
“There is a lovely aromatic lift here … There is richness and warmth but also sinuous outlines with freshness alongside a velvety texture. The finish is generous, seductive, complex with exquisite depth.”
“Gorgeously styled and seductively complex `… The concentrated palate offers outstanding power and drive … impressively long and expansive.”
“Lots of ripe strawberries with some citrus and cream. Some meat, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with round, ripe tannins and a delicious, juicy finish.”
“Ripe, concentrated, varietal and complex … Youthful, vibrant and promising. On the palate - delicious! … ” Wood spices with fine through firm tannins building power and length.”
“…This is a charmingly fragranced Pinot Noir with flavours of floral, black fruit and earth with concentration and finesse.”
“ … Complex pinot noir … Dark berry, cassis, violet, mixed spice, new leather and spicy oak flavours supported by firm, ripe tannins.”
“… concentrated and muscular, … Unlike many New Zealand Pinot Noirs, I expect this will last well beyond a decade.”
“…a great expression of North Canterbury Pinot Noir … stands head and shoulders above many others from this vintage …”
“ … More elegant than the usual blockbuster style … A supple, medium-bodied pinot noir that is accessible now but should develop well with bottle age.”
“…Highly aromatic … Well-structured Pinot … all in balance to age well, with a long spicy tail …”
“… this is definitely not your average bright and breezy Pinot. It’s serious …”
“…Spicy and long with joyous persistence, it's hard not to be captivated by the weight. A super impressive wine.”
“ … A robust and slightly rustic wine that's a pleasure to taste.”
“ … wonderfully fruited and gorgeously styled … excellent weight and power … mouthfilling and delectable with seductive complexity”.
“ … Mouthfilling, sweet-fruited, savoury and supple … oak complexity and a rich, smooth finish.”
“… youthful and complex pinot … a very succulent and vibrant feel … So youthful and powerful, this is another great Pegasus Bay pinot.”
“ … it’s clear that this is an elegant, medium weight style with a precise structure …”
“Wild herbs, bracken, red fruits … dense, succulent and seamlessly polished …Long and taut. Needs time.”
“ … a silky feel and a lingering finish that echoes with attractive tea-like nuances.”
“ … dark fruit richness as well as savoury undertones … awesome power and concentration … stylish and structured … expansive and velvety, finishing persistent and engaging.”
“Dense, seamless and flavoursome pinot noir … Distinctive wine which is an expression of variety, place and winemaking …”
Super vibrant with plenty of earthy forest floor aromas as well as toasted spices. The palate reveals a core of pristine dark cherry fruit flavor, beautifully judged ripe tannins and a level of effortless depth that singles this out as a consistently great New Zealand pinot noir.
“A bouquet filled with raw energy, Pinosity and an abundance of individuality … Long finish. Very Pegasus Bay”
“Boldly aromatic …. The finish is long and generous. Plenty of potential here ….”
“Intense, youthful …elegant wine with power and a lingering finish …”
“ ...A beautifully elegant and harmonious, vibrant and bright-fruited Pinot Noir …”
“...Sense of deliciousness from the first sip, Effortless. Proper pinot”
Top equal wine in a tasting of 2014 NZ Pinot Noirs Wow! Fabulous, complex bouquet of broody dark red berries, layers of mineral and savoury whole-bunch and dried herb nuances. Juicy, lush, generous and complex on the palate, with generous oak and ripe, very fine tannins.
Rich, weighty, ripe pinot noir with a dense, almost syrupy texture and plum jam, liquorice, Christmas cake flavours. Big and slightly rustic wine with pleasing complexity. It has a suggestion of old vine density with underlying power and a lengthy finish.
“…A very fresh and concentrated edition of this majestic pinot noir. This is bathed in dark cherry fruits, earth and spices, and there's a meaty depth and plenty of forest bracken too. The tannins are long and grainy, and carry rich dark cherry-plum fruit flavors long”
“ … It’s a wine of undeniable personality and charisma, as ever..."
NZ Pinot Noir Tasting among 1 of 7 rated as “Outstanding”
“…Appealing, ripe and quite concentrated pinot noir … A supremely elegant wine with an intriguing rustic edge”
“… The rich flavours are mouthfilling and carry to a long, lingering finish. This is a rich, vibrant and mouthfilling, complex-detailed Pinot Noir … fine-grained, well-structured palate.”
“… Deceptively powerful wine that dances on the palate … Delicious.” .
#1 wine under $80 “ … enticingly refined and elegantly understated … a masterfully crafted expression of a remarkable site”
“…has the ability to live a long and beautiful life … . It’s a keeper. (And is consistently among my top five South Island Pinot Noirs.)”
"The oak control is phenomenal, showing more elegance and sophistication than hundreds of Burgundies”
Pegasus Bay is the flagship winery of Waipara, yet the wines remain realistically priced. Plum, cola and cherry notes are accompanied by strongly umami sensations akin to mushroom and roasted beef, giving this wine ample complexity. While the wine is concentrated, it has an airy, graceful feel to it. Drink 2016–2024.
A sense of real depth, soothing dark cherry notes, some forest floor and deeply knitted oak. The palate has noble tannins and the sort of structural complexity and completeness that is the envy of most other NZ Pinot Noir makers” .
Full-flavoured Pinot Noir with plum, spice, glazed cherry, floral/violet and a hint of savoury and mineral character. Mouth-filling wine with obvious power and a lengthy finish. A consistently top wine.
“Fine, fresh, vivid and interesting with an assertive cherry fruit nose. Lovely supple, elegant palate shows nice precision. Lovely sweet fruit combined with spicy structure”.
Lifted spicy cherry fruit on the nose with higher tones of raspberry coulis and cranberry…. Lively and driven on the palate, the red fruits show supporting characters of Asian spice and a waft of forest floor. Roast game, red licorice, milk chocolate and spicy oak complete the picture. Great line, lively acidity and a balanced, lingering finish".
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