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Pegasus Bay Waipara Valley Sauvignon Semillon 2018 £22.95
PEGASUS BAY SAUVIGNON SEMILLON
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.
Cooler than average Spring temperatures led to a smaller set, however this resulted in excellent fruit concentration. A warm Summer and long lingering Autumn then followed, allowing this smaller crop to reach optimum ripeness.
This is a unique expression of a traditional white Bordeaux blend using approximately 70% Sauvignon Blanc & 30% Semillon. The Sauvignon was picked in stages during April, timing each harvest to optimise the grapes’ range of natural flavours. The Semillon was harvested in May. These varieties were fermented separately, the Sauvignon in stainless steel to retain the pure fruit character, and the Semillon in oak barrels to add texture. 20% of the overall wine was fermented and matured in new French barrels to give extra length and complexity. Both varieties were aged on their natural deposits of yeast lees (sue lie) for approximately 10 mths, and then blended prior to bottling.
The colour is pale gold with aromas of citrus fruit, greengage, gooseberry and passionfruit. There is also a hint of struck match and freshly crushed thyme. The Semillon component helps fill out the palate, adding fruit weight, richness and age-ability, while also acting to restrain the exuberant herbaciousness of the sauvignon blanc. The lees contact adds further creaminess and body, however there is still a crisp refreshing minerality on the finish.
93 Points - The Real Review
Quite an oaky wine with a strong oak influence on both the nose and palate. Richly textural white with the sort of weight and grip I expect from chardonnay. Quite a pleasing, complex wine with power and a lengthy finish. A distinctly unique wine with a character all of its own.
Bob Campbell MW