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.
This wine is made in the same style as the celebrated Claret from Bordeaux, using traditional methods. After being picked in May, the grapes began fermentation naturally in stainless steel tanks. During this process the juice was regularly drained and sprayed back over the cap of floating grape skins (rather than plunging), to ensure a perfect tannin balance was extracted from the fruit. The wine was then gently pressed off and put into French oak barriques (25% new). The following summer, when the weather warmed, it underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing in oak for 2 years, the various batches were then carefully blended in varying portions to produce the most complex and balanced wine possible. The finished product is a blend of 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet, 15% Malbec and 5% Cabernet Franc.
The wine is deep ruby in colour. Its abundant aromas suggest blackberries, dark plums, cassis and mocha, with underlying hints of vanilla, spice, cigar box and game. The palate is rich but muscular, with a backbone of ripe tannins that provide a savoury aftertaste of black olive tapenade. While the wine is full bodied, the Merlot component ensures it remains smooth and succulent, with generous fruit weight.