THE FAMILY

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 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.


THE SEASON

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.

THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING

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. Our house style involves giving the grapes an extended “hang time”, and picking where possible with a small portion of noble botrytis, to accentuate the region’s unique varietal features. Following harvest, the free run juice was fermented slowly at cool temperatures to help the wine retain its vibrant fruit character. 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. 

THE WINE

The colour is lemon-straw. On the nose there is an abundance of citrus, particularly the orange zest that so defines North Canterbury Rieslings. There are also hints of red apple and apricot, layered with honeysuckle and guava. The extended hang time has added concentration to the palate, together with ripe phenolics that give structure and length. Despite its body, the wine still has a crisp and refreshing acidity that matches its off-dry finish perfectly. 

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Awarded Super Classic Status "This is classy stuff."
- Michael Cooper's Buyer’s Guide, NZ
“Surely a classic in its own right”
- Michael Broadbent, Decanter, UK
“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.”
- Chris Losh, Imbibe Magazine, UK

2016

“ … crisp but not high acidity, …   A very harmonious wine, it’s delicious …”
- Winestate Magazine, AUS
93/100
“ … long, fluid build of concentrated citrus and stone fruit flavours.  Terrific depth
- Nick Stock, Jamessuckling.com, USA
18.5/20
"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….”
- Drinksbiz magazine, Joelle Thomson, NZ
95/100
“...irresistibly delicious … sumptuous palate … excellent depth and intensitybalanced and harmonious
- Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, wineorbit.co.nz, NZ

2015

95/100
“… Rich, concentrated and flavoursome Riesling … Sweetness is balanced by fruity acidity and fine tannins. A powerful wine with character.”
- Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz, NZ
93/100
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 …” 
- Nick Stock, jamessuckling.com, USA
16.5/20
Very nice balance for a Spätlese style of wine.  Real refreshment and vitality.  Nice savoury undertow.  Racy and with good length.”
- Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com, UK
94/100
“ Very aromatic bouquet … very fresh, lively - dancing on the palate …”
- Cameron Douglas MS, camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz, NZ
18.5/20
“ … The wine carries smoothly to an elegant, long lingering finish. … elegantly rich and luscious medium Riesling … a fine-textured, refreshing palate. …” 
- Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, NZ

2014

18.5/20
“…is a soft, rich, medium Riesling with exotic flavours of limes, honey and musk."
- Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz, NZ
93/100
A richly-textured wine with benchmark varietal flavours.”
- Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbell.nz, NZ 
92/100
“ … beguiling core of intensity and complexity … A delicious example of Riesling … ” 
- Cameron Douglas MS, camerondouglasms.blogspot.co.nz, NZ

2013

92/100
This distinctive style of Riesling is jam-packed with honey, tree fruit/apricot and orange marmalade flavours (among many others). . . .
- Bob Campbell MW, bobcampbellwinereviews.com
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.
- Vino - joellethomson.co.nz
18.5/20
“… 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.”
- Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz

2012

19/20
“…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. . . ."
- Raymond Chan, raymondchanwinereviews.co.nz
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.
- Michael Cooper’s Buyers Guide, NZ
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Pegasus Bay

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Off Licence.
Licence Holder:Donaldson Family Limited T/A:Pegasus Bay Winery.
Licence no:57/OFF/458/2019 Exp:16/03/2022