The Donaldson Family, who have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years, have been setting aside each year a few cases of their key varieties - Riesling and Pinot Noir – with the intention of releasing them 10 years later; this practice has been taking place every vintage since 2006 with a release date of around August each year. The inspiration for this came from the desire to offer customers the opportunity to taste these wines in full maturity, something that is relatively rare these days. Pegasus Bay consider ten years to be a very satisfying time to experience these wines with the added complexities of bottle age, while still offering years of good drinking ahead. Pegasus Bay is an accredited member of the NZWG sustainable viticulture programme and firmly believe in the principles of using natural methods to counteract pests and diseases, rather than the application of unnecessary pesticides and herbicides. Structure and texture are hallmarks of the estate’s highly individual wines.
Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir Aged Release 2011
From about a dozen different clones planted in pinot noir blocks. The vines, many of which are 25 years old and on their own roots, grow on a series of north facing, gradually descending terraces. While the site is warm during the day it is cool at night, which allows the fruit to ripen fully while retaining its good, natural acid levels. The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil. The period of cooler weather, mentioned above, occurred over flowering and lead to naturally low crop levels, which has given the wine extra depth and concentration.
Traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. After picking in mid-late-April, the grapes, without their stems, were put into small fermenting vats, retaining as many whole berries as possible. They were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from their skins. After this time the grapes had warmed enough to start fermenting. During fermentation the floating cap of grape skins was twice daily gently pushed back under the wine by hand to keep it moist and healthy. When the fermentation finished the vats were sealed and the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for several weeks to help extract other tannins which add structure and depth. The duration of this period was determined by daily tasting. Subsequently the wine was drained off and put into oak barriques (30% new) from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. In the summer after harvest, when the weather warmed, the wine underwent malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. Both this and the original fermentation phase were completely natural and without added micro-organisms.
After maturing for 18 months in barriques the batches made from the many different plots of pinot were carefully blended in various portions according to taste to produce this wine.