Awarded Super Classic Status.
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 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 vines are over 30 years old, with a large proportion planted on their own roots. 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.
Cooler than average Spring temperatures led to a smaller set, resulting in excellent fruit concentration. A warm Summer and long lingering Autumn then followed, allowing this smaller crop to reach optimum ripeness.
Traditional Burgundian winemaking methods were used to make this wine. We picked the various blocks at different stages, depending on their maturity, aiming for a range of red and dark fruit flavours. Approximately one quarter of the grapes were put at the bottom of the fermentation vats as whole bunches, with the balance being destemmed on top, retaining as many whole berries as possible. The vats were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from the pinot noir skins. After approximately a week the must started to ferment naturally. During fermentation, the floating cap of grape skins was gently plunged twice daily. When the fermentation finished, the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for up to a week to help extract a different range of tannins that add structure and depth. The exact duration of this period was determined by daily tasting. Subsequently the wine was gently pressed off and put into oak barriques (40% new) from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. In the summer after harvest, when the weather warmed, the wine underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing for 22mths in these barriques, the batches made from the many different plots and clones of pinot were carefully blended in varying portions to produce the most complex and balanced wine possible.
The wine has a vibrant ruby appearance. On the nose there is a selection of red fruit aromas (raspberry, pomegranate and cherry), as well as pepper and clove. Underpinning this are savoury notes reminiscent of grilled game and black olive tapenade. The palate is satisfyingly concentrated with fine grained tannins, however there is a refreshing minerality which ensures the wine remains tight and focused, with a lasting finish.
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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