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 now involved.
THE VINEYARD AND VINES
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.
Variable conditions over flowering resulted in a moderate fruit set. The subsequent warm summer then allowed the grapes to ripen beautifully. Late season conditions were favourable for the development of noble botrytis, essential for the production of this wine style.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
Finale is part of our reserve series and is only made in exceptional years, being dependent on specific conditions at the end of the season leading to noble rot. Modelled on a French Sauternes using traditional Bordeaux techniques, the wine is a Semillon/Sauvignon blend. Only the most beautifully raisined, perfectly botrytic bunches were selected to make this wine. A small amount of very concentrated juice was then obtained from these grapes and put into new French artisan oak barriques (50% new), where the two varieties were left to ferment separately. The wine was then matured in these barriques on its natural deposits of yeast lees (sur lie) for 12 months, prior to blending and bottling. This is a lesser amount of new oak and shorter ageing period than previous Finale’s, the intention being to accentuate the wine’s vitality and finesse.
On release it is bright gold in colour, the bouquet an enchanting medley of ripe apricot, ginger and lemon curd, with a hint of honeysuckle and a whisp of baking spice. Botrytis has resulted in a mouth feel that is rich, textural and unctuous. The Semillon contributes structure and length, while the Sauvignon component adds refreshing acidity to ensure the wine remains perfectly balanced with a lasting finish.