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The Donaldson Family have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. Founder Ivan Donaldson planted the first Canterbury vineyard in 1976 and went on to establish Pegasus Bay in 1986 with his wife Christine. It is a true family business, with all four of their sons and two spouses involved, managing various aspects.
The vineyard is located within the Waipara Valley of North Canterbury, on free draining, north facing terraces carved out of New Zealand’s Southern Alps by an ice-age glacier. It benefits from being in the lee of the Teviotdale Range, giving maximum protection from the Pacific’s easterly breezes and thus creating a unique mesoclimate. The vines are over 30 years old, with a large proportion planted on their own roots. The soil is free draining and of low fertility, resulting in naturally reduced vine vigour. This produces low yields of optimally ripened, high quality, flavourful grapes, which fully express the qualities of this unique terroir. The vineyard has warm days, but the nights are amongst the coolest in the Waipara Valley, drawing out the ripening period of the grapes, while still retaining good natural acidity.
The colour is lemon/straw. On the nose there are aromas of citrus, as well as honeydew melon and some stone fruit (peach and nectarine). In addition there is a hint of struck match which adds complexity and a flinty minerality. There are also some underlying savoury notes (toast and brioche) as a result of the secondary fermentation and lees contact in the barrel. The palate is concentrated, however the earlier picking has resulted in a wine that remains elegant and focussed, with refreshing acidity and a lingering finish.