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 one spouse 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 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.
Settled weather over flowering resulted in a moderate fruit set. The subsequent warm summer then allowed the grapes to ripen beautifully. Naturally smaller berry size and loose open bunches helped accelerate maturation, allowing us to pick the fruit a little earlier this season than usual.
THE HARVEST AND WINEMAKING
We use the traditional French variety of Muscat (Muscat Petit Grains). There are very few rows in our vineyard, so only a small volume of this wine has been made. After picking, the grapes were gently pressed, with only the free run juice being used. The wine was tank fermented to preserve varietal integrity, and slowly matured over four months, until a perfect balance was achieved.
The wine is light straw in appearance, with explosive aromas of lemon zest, mandarin, crystallised ginger and exotic perfume. Spicy on the palate, it rapidly expands to become mouth filling and unctuous. Intensely concentrated, backed by a core of refreshing acidity and ripe phenolics that balance the wine’s off dry finish perfectly. Ravishingly decadent.