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Owned and operated by the Donaldson family, Pegasus Bay is situated in the Waipara Valley, South Island, NZ, about 30 minutes drive north of Christchurch. Its sheltered position, but proximity to the sea, gives it warm days, cool nights and a dry autumn, resulting in a very prolonged ripening period. This promotes intense flavour development and optimal ripeness, while retaining good natural acidity.

The Donaldsons have been seriously involved in winemaking since the early seventies and were pioneers of local grape growing and winemaking in this region. Pegasus Bay is a member of the NZWG Sustainable Viticulture programme. This involves minimal handling and intervention in wine grape production. The winery's philosophy is to grow grapes of the highest quality and to fully express the features of the vineyard. These are handled with the utmost respect.

The bouquet and flavour suggest raspberries, blackberries cherries and purple plums. These are supported by a savoury complexity, reminiscent of grilled mushrooms, roast game and black olive tapenade. The wine is powerful, yet elegant and understated with an even flow of fine grained tannins across the palate. A whisper of dark chocolate lingers in the mouth long after swallowing. Careful cellaring should bring out a range of other fascinating nuances is a wine develops.

Dark, bunchy, spicy and brooding with cinnamon studded dark cherry and a whiff of new leather. It’s medium bodied, or just a little over, all earth and spice and polished boots, but bright and fresh too with cherry flavour and silky tannin – a wine of contrast and undeniable charisma. Long and spicy to close with a tweak of acidity on the finish. Wild good times. Rating: 94+ Points; Drink: 2015-2021+; Price: $49.99; Date Tasted: March 2014; Alcohol: 13.8%; Gary Walsh - The Wine Front


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