The wines of Pegasus Bay
Notable Riesling specialist from New Zealand's Waipara region


Head north out of Christchurch and within 30 minutes or so you’ll hit the Waipara wine region. We’re half way down the South Island here, so the climate is quite cool. Fortunately the region is protected from the chilly ocean winds by a small mountain range, or viticulture here would be even more difficult than it already is: some years flowering can still be badly affected by cool weather and windy conditions, and then yields can be tiny.

But this is a pretty good place to grow wine grapes. The soils are free draining, rich in gravel and stones, and naturally low in fertility. You might not get huge yields, but you get great high-end wines.

Pegasus Bay is owned by the Donaldson family, and winemaking is in the hands of Matthew Donaldson (son of the founder) and his wife Lynnette Hudson. The speciality here is Riesling, which is superb, but they also make highly regarded Pinot Noir.

UK agent is New Generation Wines  


Pegasus Bay Sauvignon Semillon 2008 Waipara
Reductive mineral nose. Lovely fresh green herby palate. Lively stuff. 86/100

Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2008 Waipara
Complex, herby and pithy with lovely fresh, taut fruit and subtle toastiness. Complex, taut and savoury with lots of potential. 92/100

Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir 2008 Waipara
Elegant, berryish and taut with some dark cherry fruit. Nicely savoury with some minerality. A fresh style. 91/100

Pegasus Bay Bel Canto Dry Riesling 2009 Waipara
Taut herb and lime nose is very fine. The palate has a lovely herby, lemony, pithy character. Quite distinctive and expressive. Lovely intensity. 93/100

Pegasus Bay Riesling 2008 Waipara
Lovely aromatics: lime, honey, melon and herbs. Off-dry palate is full textured with lime, melon and spice notes. Very rich and exotic, showing real purity. 93/100

Pegasus Bay Aria Late-Picked Riesling 2008 Waipara
Beautifully lively and expressive showing rich, sweet melon and lemon fruit. Peachy and full with dense, spicy, textured, exotic fruit. Lovely wine. 94/100

Pegasus Bay Encore Noble Riesling 2008 Waipara
Really pure and exotic with taut super-sweet, lively grapefruit and citrus notes. Lovely freshness and piercing acidity. Very lively and pure. 92/100

Pegasus Bay Finale Noble Chardonnay 2008 Waipara
Deep gold/bronze colour. Intense and lively, and slightly volatile. Notes of apple, pear, spice and raisin. Very sweet. 89/100

See also:

Visiting Central Otago, New Zealand (series)
Visiting Martinborough, New Zealand (series)

Wines tasted 01/11  
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