“A true New Zealand classic …”
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 involved.
The vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces. 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. They are located on the “Glasnevin Gravels” where greywacke stones, silt and loam have been washed down from the mountains over the millennia. The soil is 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.
Settled weather over flowering provided a healthy fruit set, which was then thinned back to desired levels. The ensuing summer was dry with very little rain, resulting in perfectly ripened small berries full of intense flavour and concentration. Thankfully, our harvest was able to proceed during the C-19 lockdown, and an unbroken autumn full of warm days meant each variety was picked at its optimum maturity.
With its large diurnal range and long lingering autumns, North Canterbury is an ideal playground for riesling, making it possible to create concentrated wines that still possess favourable acidity and finesse. Our house style involves giving the grapes an extended “hang time” and picking (when possible) with a portion of noble botrytis, to enable our site to express itself harmoniously through this variety. Following harvest, the free run juice was fermented slowly at cool temperatures to help the wine express the unique characters of our region. At all stages, the wine was handled very carefully to help retain a little of its natural carbon dioxide. This has resulted in a small amount of spritzig, which adds extra liveliness to the wine.
Upon release the colour is lemon-straw. The nose is an invigorating concoction of tropical, citrus and floral notes. Impressions of pineapple, passionfruit and mandarin lead the way, flanked by crunchy apple, apricot and lemon curd, with teases of honeysuckle and orange blossom. The mouthfeel is zesty and energised, displaying both richness and an elegant structure. A seam of refreshing acidity combined with a hint of spritzig compliment the wine’s body perfectly, leaving the imbiber to savour a lengthy and crisp, satisfying finish.
“A true New Zealand classic …”
Awarded Super Classic Status "This is classy stuff."
“Surely a classic in its own right”
“Canterbury with its sunshine and big diurnal shifts is the beating heart of NZ Riesling production with Pegasus Bay arguably the country's best-known producer for the grape.”
“Pegasus Bay's riesling remain New Zealands benchmarks”
“Complex, layered aromatics … A taut, salivating, and intense palate with concentrated lime fruit, a crystalline texture, and bracing zippy acid. A touch of sweetness on the finish provides the perfect balance.”
“The 2020 Riesling from Pegasus Bay is a succulent and satisfying mouthfeel … well balanced, running the gauntlet between austerity and sweetness, sweetly.”
“Wonderfully fruited and immediately appealing … Opulent yet harmonious … long and luscious."
“Fantastic bouquet, pure, ripe, zesty and fresh … Delicious, fresh and just dry on the finish.”
“… Sweetness is nicely balanced by tangy acidity giving the wine an exquisite tension. Complex and concentrated.”
“ … This complex, heavy-weight Riesling is packed with flavours, concentration and a long, balanced drive”
“Classy stuff … it is weighty and rich … a very harmonious finish”
“ … Articulate and rounded with the sweetness adding definition and depth … Delicious.”
“ … Quite rich, full bodied and flavoursome with a spritz element and a zesty finish.”
“… A light CO2 spritz on the entry makes for a lively start … Satisfying weight and depth are accompanied by roundness from the residual sugar (28g/L) while the fine acidity and textural phenolics provide a sense of structure …”
“ … Pegasus Bay Riesling is one of New Zealand’s greatest white wines every year. It’s a maverick, brave, adventurous white that is delicious now and ages for a decade and then some.”
“Immensely complex and enticing … ” gorgeously flavoursome palate that's filled with succulent fruit flavours and spicy nuances. It's generous and opulent yet refined and structured with a persistent delicious finish.”
“ … Delicious, fleshy and long.”
“ … vibrant and refreshing … multilayered richness and precision”
“ … delicious wine is full of youthful impact. Rich and vibrant, …”
“ … rich, luscious … unctuous. A big, bold, beautiful statement wine.”
“ … a distinctive wine with notable persistence"
“Gorgeously ripe and inviting … awesome concentration … Splendidly harmonious and filled with delectable flavours”
“ … Restrained lusciousness with a lingering finish."
“ … Concentrated, with gentle sweetness … good acid spine”
“ … The palate has a very supple and succulent feel … Very complex texture. Superb.”
“ … crisp but not high acidity, … A very harmonious wine, it’s delicious …”
“ … long, fluid build of concentrated citrus and stone fruit flavours. Terrific depth”
"North Canterbury is one of the world’s great Riesling regions … To call this wine ‘iconic’ is to wildly understate the greatness of both the region and of the winemaker….”
“...irresistibly delicious … sumptuous palate … excellent depth and intensity … balanced and harmonious”
“… Rich, concentrated and flavoursome Riesling … Sweetness is balanced by fruity acidity and fine tannins. A powerful wine with character.”
“Off-dry and packed with richness, this has a wealth of ripe peach and mango fruits. The palate has bracing acidity that lifts really weighty …”
“Very nice balance for a Spätlese style of wine. Real refreshment and vitality. Nice savoury undertow. Racy and with good length.”
“ Very aromatic bouquet … very fresh, lively - dancing on the palate …”
“ … The wine carries smoothly to an elegant, long lingering finish. … elegantly rich and luscious medium Riesling … a fine-textured, refreshing palate. …”
“…is a soft, rich, medium Riesling with exotic flavours of limes, honey and musk."
“ A richly-textured wine with benchmark varietal flavours.”
“ … beguiling core of intensity and complexity … A delicious example of Riesling … ”
This distinctive style of Riesling is jam-packed with honey, tree fruit/apricot and orange marmalade flavours (among many others). . . .
Top wine of tasting - “. . . an absolutely outstanding wine with intense concentration of colour, aroma, flavour, body and acidity; The finish is very long finish and this wine shows an exceptional response to the climate that it comes from. . . serious and very complex….This wine was my favourite for its great balance and intense fresh flavours.”
“… This has much more to unfold…. the palate features soft, ripe, up-front citrus fruit and honied flavours along with nuances of exotic yellow florals. The mouthfeel is smooth-flowing with a fine phenolic line and discreet, lacy acidity guiding the palate….This is a soft, rich and gently succulent medium Riesling with citrus and honied flavours and toasty detail.”
“…This has developed some secondary nuance and is quite complete in expression. Medium in sweetness and medium-bodied, the palate is rich and harmoniously melded with concentrated flavours of yellow florals, citrus fruits and honey, along with subtle toasty nuances. The flavours are mouthfilling with a degree of opulence, but the wine is vibrant and lively with underlying, thirst-quenching acidity. The wine has concentration and follows a very fine line leading to a very long and sustained honied finish. This is a rich and harmonious medium Riesling with complex nuances, underlying vitality and a complete mouthfeel. . . ."
Bright, light lemon/green, with lovely poise and concentration. Showing real depth through the palate, it is peachy, slightly limey, and honeyed, with gentle sweetness, good acid spine, and a touch of bottle-aged complexity. Drink now or cellar.
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