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"Flagship Pinot Noir in a typically rich & generous style" Bob Campbell, MW

"Take a bow; An excellent Pinot Noir from New Zealand's Waipara region" Steve Leszczynski

Pairs wonderfully with full-flavoured dishes like braised lamb in a luxurious red wine gravy

Pegasus Bay Waipara Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2016

Member rating / 3
1 Btl, $102.99 1 Btl, $89.56
Awarded 5 Stars Awarded 5 Stars Awarded 95/100 Points Awarded 95/100 Points Awarded 94/100 Points Awarded 19.5/20 Points Awarded 19/20 Points Awarded 18/20 Points
Pegasus Bay Waipara Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2016

Pegasus Bay Waipara Prima Donna Pinot Noir 2016

Member rating / 3
While ready to drink on release it can be expected to cellar well and evolve gracefully for many years...
1 Btl, $102.99 1 Btl, $89.56


Awarded 95/100 Points & 5 Stars

Bob Campbell, Master of Wine, Real Review, Apr 2020

Awarded 95/100 Points

Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, May 2020

Awarded 94/100 Points

Steve Leszczynski, Qwine, Feb 2020

Awarded 19.5/20 Points & 5 Stars

Candice Chow, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, Jun 2020

Awarded 19/20 Points

Joelle Thomson, Apr 2020

Awarded 18/20 Points

Stephen Wong, Master of Wine, Wine Sentience, Jun 2020


  • French oak
  • Pomegranate & cherry
  • Vanilla & chocolate
  • Silken texture & fine tannins

"Flagship Pinot Noir in a typically rich and generous style made using 30% whole-bunches during fermentation. Dense, silken-textured wine, with a mellow savouriness and flavours suggesting ripe plum, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, spice and anise. A complex and appealing red" Bob Campbell, Master of Wine, Real Review, Apr 2020

"Take a bow. An excellent Pinot Noir from New Zealand's Waipara region. A selection of the best barrels make it into this wine - Pegasus Bay's flagship Pinot. It's all things red: pomegranate, red cherries, ripe strawberries and raspberries. Dripping in elegance, the fruit just slides through the mouth with absolute ease where it lands on the mid-palate and just sticks. Quite generous in its offering yet supple and silky smooth on what seems a never ending finish. One to savour" Steve Leszczynski, Qwine, Feb 2020

"Immediately varietal with plenty of primary red fruit aromas, medium to dark spices of toasty French barrel, brown spices and a sandy, chalky soil impression. Youthful, complex, layered. On the palate - dry, savoury, fruity and complex. Flavours of toasty wood and dark berries, dried herb and dark spices, earthy, complex and long Still primary, still developing complexities and harmony strings. A wine that’s still good to keep in the cellar. Decant for service or keep till early 2021 and taste again. In other words - this is a keeper - no rush" Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier, May 2020

"Dark, medium ruby-red with a black hue, slightly lighter on edge. The nose is gently powerful with lightly cooked red plums and cherries, dark herbs, entwined with earth and gamey development, along with savoury element, and warm oak spices. Medium-bodied, the palate is full of energy with flavours of lightly cooked red plums and cherries, dark herbs; unfolding earthy mushroom, sweet liquorice roots. Along with gamey, earth element; accompanied by savoury and warming oak spices linger to a long and sustained finish. The flavours are with depth and concentration. The fruit nuances of red plums and cherries, lightly cook, still has its crunch with a softened edge. The acid is full of energy but unintrusive, showing the wine with support and length, along with the alcohol power. The tannin is powdery and fine-grained, providing soft grip with structure, contributed the age-worthiness of this wine, carries some warm oak spices with an elegant presence. Flavours are integrated with harmony, complex and powerful yet gentle and elegant in presence with its development. A Prima Donna that's worthy of your attention" Candice Chow, Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, Jun 2020

"Prima Donna is the cheeky name for the top tier Pinot Noir, which is made only in years when quality stands head and shoulders above other wines. It’s not a reserve wine, as such, but rather a blend of the best barrels, so it’s a subjective call made by the winemaking team. That said, quality and style tend to be extremely consistent; earthy flavours combined with freshness, power and elegance" Joelle Thomson, Apr 2020

"For its top Waipara red, Pegasus Bay wants 'a heavenly voice, a shapely body and a velvety nose'. Based on the oldest vines, it is matured for 15 to 20 months in French oak barriques. The deeply coloured 2016 vintage is mouthfilling and sweet-fruited, with vibrant cherry, plum and spice flavours, concentrated, savoury and supple, that build to a powerful finish" Michael Cooper, Dec 2019

"Instantly, this presents a higher-toned, more refined and prettier red fruit on the nose than the 2017 estate tasted immediately preceding it; rose petals, raspberry and cherry - undeniably ripe, but neither heavy nor confected. The new oak is evident underneath, but at 4 years old, this is really just a baby - Prima Donna takes a decade to come around, most vintages! Possibly due to the season, this has an energy and tension about it which is beautiful. Elegant yet powerful in that way Pinotphiles crave, this has a burnished sleekness, a velvet aristocracy which delivers poise, balance and length. All the components are there for a long life ahead but it is - surprisingly - already approachable if you must open a bottle now. It is often said that great wine, and especially great Pinot Noir tastes good at every stage of its life - perhaps because it relies less on tannin for structure as it does acidity (which rarely decreases with age). Lest there be any doubt, as enjoyable as the wine is right now, it is showing merely a fraction of its gifts - for the full experience, I would lay these bottles down for another 5-6 years. If nothing else, to allow the oak to integrate and the floral notes to emerge" Stephen Wong, Master of Wine, Wine Sentience, Jun 2020

It is deep ruby in colour, with a complex and compelling boquet full of pomegranate, cherry, vanilla, chocolate and spice. There is also a pleasing savouriness, off ering up notes of game, mushroom and thyme. The palate is concentrated and rich, with fine grained tannins that add texture and weight. Complementing this is a core of refreshing minerality that gives the wine a lively tension, resulting in superb strucutre and length. While ready to drink on release it can be expected to cellar well and evolve gracefully for many years.

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 benefi ts from being in the lee of the Teviotdale Range, giving maximum protection from the Pacifi c’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, fl avourful 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.

Warm and settled weather during fl owering led to a very large initial set. Fruit thinning was then undertaken to bring the crop back to the desired level. A perfect summer, followed by a warm dry autumn enabled the subsequent grapes to be harvested with excellent fl avour development and physiological ripeness.

Prima Donna is part of our reserve series which we only make in exceptional years, provided it does not compromise the quality of our estate wines. It is a selection from the best barrels, coming from some of the oldest ungrafted plantings in the vineyard, characterised by small berries and loose open bunches. As with all our Pinot’s, we use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. Approxinately one third of the grapes were put at the bottom of the fermentation vats as whole bunches, with the balance being destemmed on top, retaining as many whole berries as possible. The vats were kept cool over the next few days to help extract the soft, silky tannins from the pinot noir skins. After approx a week, the must started to ferment naturally. During fermentation the skins of the grapes were gently plunged twice daily. When the fermentation fi nished, the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for up to a week to help extract a diff erent range of tannins that add structure and depth. The exact duration of this period was determined by daily tasting. Subsequently the wine was gently pressed off and put into oak barriques (approx 45% new) from selected artisan Burgundian coopers. In the summer after harvest, when the weather warmed, the wine underwent a natural malo-lactic (secondary) fermentation. After maturing for 18 months, a selection from the best barriques was chosen and carefully blended, to produce the most complex and balanced wine possible.

The Donaldson Family have been seriously involved in viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. Founder Ivan Donaldson planted the fi rst 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.


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