The Donaldson family has been involved in wine since the early 1970’s and are pioneers of winemaking in Waipara. Pegasus Bay remains an entirely family-owned and operated enterprise in the Waipara Valley, where the vineyard gets maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes. Planted in 1985 the Pegasus Bay vineyard is largely un-grafted producing ultra-low yields of grapes per vine with loose bunches and small berries.
The nose is layered and complex, with earthy notes of undergrowth, woodsmoke, truffle and pot pourri juxtaposed against dark cherry, cranberry, crushed lavender, and hints of clove. In the mouth the wine is generously proportioned, polished tannins and a seam of refreshing acidity tap dancing cheekily across on a broad silky palate. Fresh and vibrant yet concentrated, with a structured frame. The finish is spicy, decadent, and sustained, leaving lingering impressions of velvety depth. Enjoy with breaded chicken with a mushroom sauce.
The 2019 Pinot Noir is full-bodied yet seamless. It’s always been a big mouthful of Pinot, but in recent years, its slightly rustic muscularity has been toned and honed, creating a more refined expression. The naturally lower yields in 2019 – resulting from poor spring flowering – have imbued the wine with a rich core of fruit intensity. While 40% of the fermentation contained whole bunches, which can sometimes overpower the wine, it has worked well here, adding a layer of additional aromatic complexity in the form of subtle woody herbs and an attractive textural drive. The red cherry and strawberry fruits shine, while the French oak barrel maturation (40% new), which took place over more than a year, has added subtle nutmeg and cinnamon spice to the mix. Overall, this is a harmonious and well-judged Pinot Noir that is attractive now but has the concentration and structure to age gracefully over the coming decade and more.
93/100 - Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous (Tasted April 2022)