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 (2017 Vintage)
"Variable conditions over flowering resulted in a moderate fruit set. The subsequent warm summer then allowed the grapes to ripen beautifully. Naturally smaller berry size and loose open bunches helped accelerate ripening, allowing us to pick the fruit a little earlier this season than usual.
Upon release the wine is bright ruby in colour. There is a teasing array of vibrant red fruit on the nose including raspberry, pomegranate, cherry and plum. Spice and herbal notes, as well as a savoury underlay, add to the wine’s complexity. While the palate has generous fruit weight and velvety tannins, it is balanced with refreshing acidity and a structure that gives the wine classic North Canterbury tension and pinosity."
94/100 Gary Walsh, The Wine Front, April 2020 (2017 Vintage)
"So packed with dried herb and amaro fragrance, almost like a hit of Fernet Branca, though obviously much easier on the gums than that gear is. Black and sour cherry, cedar and dried flowers, chocolate and curry spices. It’s deep and silky, raspberry and sap, black olive and dried herb, tart but balanced acidity, deep set ripe silty tannin, and a long finish of ample proportions. Charisma plus. It’s a terrific wine. So often off-piste, but so rewarding and wonderful to experience. It’s a big YES from me."
93/100 Cameron Douglas MS, March 2020 (2017 Vintage)
"Aromas of chalk and red berries, roses and dried herb, soft brown baking spices and toasty oak. On the palate – firm youthful textures with ripe red berry fruit flavours, medium+ acidity, chalky fine grained tannins and a core of pinosity. A classic example of Peg’ Bay Pinot with a youthful energy, ripe through slightly tart red berry fruit messages. A lovely wine, well made, medium+ complexity with a long finish. Drinking well now and through 2025."
Reviews for the 2016 vintage below…
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."
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."
5 Stars Michael Cooper, 2020 Edition (2016 Vintage)
"This is one of North Canterbury's greatest Pinot Noirs, typically very rich in body and flavour. Many of the vines are over 25 years old and the wine is matured for 18 to 22 months in French oak barriques (about 40 per cent new). The 2016 vintage is a fragrant, deep ruby wine, full-bodied and rich. It has deep cherry and plum flavours, with hints of herbs and spices, fresh acidity, and a very harmonious finish. Already delicious, it should be at its best 2020+."