Selected for the 2020 Fine Wines of New Zealand List
Pegasus Bay have an illustrious history with Riesling and would have to be considered as one of New Zealand's very top Riesling producers and many peoples favourite. From vines that are now over 30 years old, Bel Canto is Pegasus Bay's 'dry Riesling' and although technically dry at only 5 grams per litre of residual sugar it offers a wonderfully rich, complex and luscious palate.
Winery notes (2019 Vintage)
"Variable conditions over flowering resulted in a moderate fruit set. The subsequent warm summer then allowed the grapes to ripen beautifully. Late season conditions were favourable for the development of noble botrytis, essential for the production of this wine style.
Upon release it is lemon-straw in colour. The bouquet is an enticing medley of citrus and stone fruit, interspersed with floral notes of elderflower and honeysuckle. Layered beneath there are also hints of ginger, honey and spice. The long hang time and influence of botrytis has resulted in a wine that is rich and full bodied, with ripe phenolics that add structure and length. It is concentrated yet delicate, with invigorating acidity and a satisfyingly dry finish."
Rated Excellent & 94/100 Cameron Douglas MS, January 2021 (2019 Vintage)
"Closed on the nose for the first minute or two – then the bouquet begins to reveal aromas of apricots and apples, preserved lemon and honey, a moment or two of orange marmalade then a quiet seam of minerality. The core of fruit suggests some residual sweetness as the wine touches the palate, but immediately turns dry with focused and intense acidity. Flavours of lemon and orange, zest and apple, citrus peel and marmalade return. There’s a spice to the fruit and an intense core revealing more mineral then honeysuckle, flowers and orchard fruits. Delicious, dry, long. Another captivating Bel Canto from the PB team. Drink now and through 2029+."
Reviews for previous vintage s below…
5 Stars & 95/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, May 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"A gorgeous rendition of dry riesling; it is richly fruited and fragrant on the nose showing grapefruit, orange peel, potpourri and subtle honey characters, followed by a concentrated palate that is generously flavoured and persistent. The wine is elegantly opulent and delectable. At its best: now to 2025."
5 Stars Michael Cooper (2017 Vintage)
"Bel Canto means 'Beautiful Singing'. Based on the estate's mature, ungrafted vines at Waipara, in North Canterbury, late-harvested with 'a good portion of noble botrytis', the 2017 vintage is a very powerful, weighty wine (14.5 per cent alcohol), with concentrated, peachy flavours, hints of oranges and honey, good delicacy and a dry (5.2 grams/litre of residual sugar), lasting finish. It should be long-lived; open 2021+."
95/100 Mike Bennie, The Wine Front, May 2020 (2017 Vintage)
"It is a dry style but late picked and sees botrytis affect the grapes. Complex, is the by-word. Complex, yes. Texture is crackling and lashed with nutty, mushroomy, honey and dry citrus characters, the bouquet a posie of floral, sweet, savoury too. Such good energy in this wine, layers of flavour and texture, chew and pucker, zing and juiciness. No wallflower, it’s an assertive and wild, wonderful ride. Brilliant really."
19/20 Joelle Thomson, October 2020 (2017 Vintage)
"Bel Canto is one of New Zealand’s greatest Rieslings from the outstanding Pegasus Bay team in North Canterbury. This wine from the 2017 vintage contains 5.2 grams per litre of residual sugar which is dry and also concentrated thanks to lengthy hang time on the vines. All grapes were hand-harvested at 25 brix with a portion of botrytis to accentuate the ‘citrus on speed’ aromas in this sensational Riesling. Drinks very nicely now and will reward time in cellar."