You could safely say that Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir is always a stand out wine but the recently released 2016 stands out even more than usual. It is an absolute stunner from a near perfect vintage in North Canterbury and quite possibly the best ever release under this label.
This is not the Pegasus Bay's flagship Pinot Noir, but it sometimes beats its big brother and has been consistently good for many years. A much-lauded style with intensity and an array of plum, berry, oak, toasted nut, mineral and anise spice flavours. There's a delightfully rustic hint to the wine, perhaps from the fine, ripe tannins.
Winery notes (2016 Vintage)
"Warm and settled weather during flowering led to a very large initial set. Fruit thinning was then undertaken to bring the crop back to the desired level. A perfect summer, followed by a warm dry autumn enabled the subsequent grapes to be harvested with excellent flavour development and physiological ripeness.
The wine has a vibrant ruby appearance. The bouquet is packed with red and dark fruit, (raspberry, pomegranate and cherry), with hints of pepper and spice. Layered beneath there are also savoury notes that speak of grilled game and black olive tapenade. The palate is satisfyingly concentrated with fine grained tannins, however there is a refreshing minerality which ensures the wine remains tight and focused, with a lasting finish. A slightly reduced time in oak has resulted in a harmonious style, one that that is mouth-filling yet elegant."
5 Stars Yvonne Lorkin, May 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"As soon as this niceness from North Canterbury nibbles its way up your nostrils, you’ll need to grab hold of a piece of solid furniture to ensure you remain upright enough to put it in your mouth safely. The wobble factor is a result of the exotically perfumed aroma spectrum saturated with rosehip tea, red rose, charcuterie and wild red fruits like pomegranate, redcurrant and cherry. On the palate it’s slippery, silky and succulent to sip. There’s method in the 1/3 whole bunch ferment, extended cold-soak period, long, gentle, wild-yeast fermentation and an 18 month maturation in 40% new French oak barrels madness of this smorgasbord of clones from multiple sites. It’s headscratchingly delicious in every single way. The fruit, the spices, the smoky oak, the powerful yet powdery tannins and the marathon-like length of flavour. Outstanding."
19/20 Joelle Thomson, Drinks Biz Magazine, June 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"Ivan Donaldson planted the first vineyard in Canterbury in 1976 and founded Pegasus Bay winery with wife Christine a decade later. Today, their four sons run the winery and restaurant with two of their partners and continue to spearhead innovative wines from the outstanding North Canterbury region. Winemaker Mat, the eldest son, leads a talented team who used an increasing amount of whole bunches in the ferment to make this spicy, structured Pinot that was aged in oak (40% new) for 18 months. It gets better by the year. It wasn’t that long ago I was singing the praises of the 2015 as the best Peg’ Bay Pinot yet. Now, meet this well-balanced, intensely flavoursome, silky smooth Pinot."
94/100 Mike Bennie, The Wine Front, September 2018 (2016 Vintage)
"Bold, strong perfume of dark berries, earthiness, truffle, cedar and clove. Big scent. Powerful style, concentrated, dark-fruited and herb-spiked, shows some light chew of tannins, brisk-crispness of acidity. It's a hefty pinot that finds balance in the middle of everything and has strong personality. It’s very good."
5 Stars & 95/100 Sam Kim, Wine Orbit, May 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"The wine offers dark fruit richness as well as savoury undertones, showing Black Doris plum, spiced cherry, charcuterie, dark mushroom and toasted almond characters on the nose. The palate delivers awesome power and concentration, as well as being stylish and structured at the same time. It is expansive and velvety, finishing persistent and engaging. At its best: now to 2026."
94/100 Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, October 2018 (2016 Vintage)
"Wild herbs and bracken with red fruit and darker, more earthy notes. Rose hips, black tea and plums. The palate has a dense, succulent and seamlessly polished, tightly wrapped feel. Long and taut. Needs time."
93/100 Cameron Douglas MS, July 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"Intense, vibrant, fruity and varietal bouquet of Pinot Noir. Aromas of toasty wood and spices, plum, dark cherry and some forest berry notes. A distinctive clay, gravel and dry stone mineral layer adding complexity and depth. Fleshy, fruity and dry on the palate with some youthful tannins and acidity to match. Fruit and earth flavours mirror the nose especially the cherry and plum. A light savoury dried herb layer on the finish adds to the length and concentration. A well made wine ready to enjoy. Decant for service with best drinking late 2020 through 2026."
92/100 Rebecca Gibb, Decanter UK, June 2018 (2016 Vintage)
"Pegasus Bay have implemented a policy of releasing their wines after they have had at least a year in bottle. Tasted pre-release, the oak on this youthful Pinot is prominent on the nose and front palate. Nevertheless, it's clear that this is an elegant, medium-weight style with a precise structure thanks to 40% whole-bunch fermentation. It has fine-grained tannins, pure fruit flavours and an English breakfast tea leaf character that lingers on the long finish."