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.
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 enabled the subsequent grapes to be harvested with excellent flavour development and physiological 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 third 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 18mths 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. The bouquet is packed with red and dark fruit, (raspberry, pomegranate and cherry), with hints of pepper and spice. Layered beneath there are also savoury notes that speak 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. A slightly reduced time in oak has resulted in a harmonious style, one that that is mouth-filling yet elegant.
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."
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.
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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