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.
On release the colour is pale lemon. The nose is powerfully expressive, charred citrus, crushed thyme, and baked apple melded with nettle, blossom, and a whiff of gun smoke. In the mouth it is richly textured, with refreshing acidity and a phenolic drive that adds structure, weight, and complexity. While the Semillon component fills out the palate and gives richness, the wine is vibrant and energised, it’s crisp minerality leading the way to a persistent finish.
There are few SBS blends in New Zealand, so if one winery was going to buck the trend, it was going to be Pegasus Bay. They've been making a Sauvignon Semillon cuvée since the late 1990s, and the 2019 Sauvignon Semillon is the usual 70% Sauvignon/30% Sémillon blend with a characteristic aromatic profile that's all florals, struck flint and nectarines. The Sauvignon is fermented in tank while the Sémillon undergoes its transformation from grape to wine in large oak puncheons before spending 10 months on lees and a further year marrying in bottle – hence 2019 is the current release. It has a light spritz on entry, giving a lively start to proceedings. The small 2019 crop ripened fully and offers an intensity of concentration on the midpalate that packs a punch, making this a Sauvignon blend that's not for the faint-hearted. The finish offers up a light note of minted peas and a hint of phenolics. It's idiosyncratic but it's also intriguing.
92/100 - Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous (Tasted March 2022)