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 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. 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.
Cold weather during bud burst resulted in lower crop levels, hence no further fruit thinning was carried out. The subsequent warm dry summer served up perfectly ripened small berries full of intense flavour and concentration. Favourable conditions continued into autumn, allowing the fruit to be picked at optimum ripeness.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
Harvest was deliberately delayed until the berries had developed an ideal amount of botrytis. After picking, the grapes were crushed and then left in contact with their skins. Following pressing, the cloudy juice was transferred into old oak puncheons, where it was left to ferment naturally. The wine was then matured for approximately 6 months in these barrels prior to bottling.
On release the wine has a bright lemon tone. Exotic and perfumed, the nose is an enchanting patchwork of floral, tropical and spicy fragrances. Impressions of roses, honeysuckle, and wildflower cascade from the glass, flecked with pineapple, ginger, nutmeg and Turkish delight, along with a whisp of barrel flint. Due to the varietal intensity of Gewürz, some additional winemaking techniques have been employed to give the wine extra complexity. Skin contact and fermenting with solids provide increased structure and a subtle hint of struck match, while the oak aging and lees contact adds mouth feel. The palate is textural and weighty, framed with ripe phenolics and mellow acidity that balance the wine. A touch of bittersweet apricot kernel compliments its off dry style, adding length and prolonging the finish.