-4-◆How did Pegasus Bay get started?Edward―It started when my Mum gave Dad, who was her boyfriend at the time, a book simply entitled ‘Wine’ by Hugh Johnston. He read it and became fascinated with the concept of wine. While he was on sabbatical and based in London in 1975 he travelled around wine regions in Europe, and came back to New Zealand thinking the climate in some of the areas growing varieties he had become passionate about wasn’t that different, and he’d like to ‘give winemaking a go.’ He got a group of friends together, and they bought a one-acre block of land in what is now the suburb of Christchurch called Halswell. ‘Mountain View’ was on a hill, they didn’t really know what they were doing, and planted a lot of hybrids as well as classic varieties. He was the winemaker for the group, making it in the garage at home, and taught himself how to make wine from books ‒ it was pretty average to say the least. The first time he made a Pinot Noir he was happy with was about 1984, 10 years after planting the vineyard. By 1985 he decided there was potential in growing grapes in Canterbury, and wanted to go out on his own and do something on a larger scale. He looked all over Canterbury for a site that was a little warmer than the Canterbury Plains which are exposed to cold easterly winds off the ocean, and really struggle to ripen fruit in the cooler vintages. ◆Establishing Pegasus Bay in WaiparaThere were a couple of other producers who had planted in North Canterbury, in the Waipara Valley which is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by the Teviotdale Range. Dad chose a site up against the tallest part of the range to get maximum shelter. He also wanted free-draining soil and planted on three terraces a little bit up and back from the Waipara River, which does a curve around the vineyard ̶ so two sides of the vineyard have a river boundary. We planted on the Glasnevin gravels, a geological strip about 5 kilometers across and probably 10km long washed down the rivers from the Southern Alps over hundreds of thousands of years, leaving smooth greywacke stones, a little windblown loess over the top of it and some silt and loam. These free-draining stony soils also help reflect heat up into the canopy in daytime.Overall, North Canterbury is about 2 degrees warmer on average ‒ it is a warm pocket in a cool climate region. We get long dry autumns, with some of the longest hang time in New Zealand, and generally pick two weeks after Central Otago and a week after Marlborough. It is very dry, in a rain shadow of the Main Divide, so there is not a lot of disease pressure.I was 10 years old when we planted the original vineyards in 1985. All four of us boys spent every weekend and holiday for about two years worked on planting, and we joked we were basically child slave labour. Dad was still working as a neurologist full-time at the hospital, lectured at the university on top of that, and then a had a private practice in the evenings Monday to Friday. He was also judging wine shows and writing wine columns in the local paper. He was out there every weekend, but Mum was hugely instrumental and hands-on in setting up the vineyards and oversaw a lot of the construction on the winery building. ◆ The original plantings and vineyard expansion―― By the time Dad got to Waipara he had sorted out what he wanted to do. At Mountain View he had experimented with a lot of hybrids, and varietals like Muller-Thurgau as well as the classics. We planted 50 acres in 1985-86, roughly one-third Pinot Noir, one-third Riesling, and one-third the rest. Those vines are all ungrafted and 35 years old now. Then we expanded the vineyards about 25 years ago when new clones of grafted Pinot Noir were available, Dijon clones, Clone 5 and the Abel Clone, so we have 10 Pinot clones in the vineyard now, and approximately 120 acres. Pegasus Bay wine is all from our home vineyard. We make our Estate range every year, aiming for consistent quality. We only make reserve wines like the Prima Donna or the Maestro if we feel we are not going to compromise the Estate wines by making them. The reserve wines, all bearing operatic names reflecting Mum’s passion for opera, come from a few of our best barrels from the part of the vineyard with our oldest, ungrafted vines. We also have the Main Divide range which we make from the Main Divide estate and fruit from growers in the region.◆ Different Riesling styles―― Riesling is an important variety for us ‒ we are the only producer in NZ where Riesling is our largest white wine. We originally didn’t plant any, but Mum talked Dad into planting 2 or 3 rows in 1988, and Matt made the first wine in 1993, an off-dry style that people really loved. We started to get a name for Riesling, and expanded the plantings so we can make different styles of Riesling. The style has changed over the years from the original low alcohol, fresh style with a lot of residual sugar in the Mosel tradition. We are picking a lot later now but fermenting drier, even for our sweeter styles which are a little richer and fuller. We discovered a distinct orange peel, orange rind, spicy character that we get in our region, which becomes more pronounced the longer the fruit hangs. We also often get some Botrytis because we have the river on two sides of the vineyard, and occasionally get misty mornings later in the season. Botrytis is something we embrace with our Riesling, as we really like the added dimension of complexity it gives, with nice stone fruit and spice notes. The Bel Canto has a high level of Botrytis.◆ Evolving a nuanced Pinot Noir――Our vineyard gives us quite concentrated fruit with a high skin to juice ratio, particularly in the old vines which may reflect the fact they are ungrafted, or simply their age. We have ten clones, and individually harvest and make wines from each block. We may have up to 40-50 different batches ̶ different clones, harvest dates, variables in the vineyard, skin contact during fermentation, amounts of whole bunch, brands of French oak, barrel age ‒ and they typically spend 18-22 months in the barrel. Just before bottling all the different components are tasted and the composition of the final blend decided. It’s like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, so that if something doesn’t fit in to the final blend it doesn’t go in.Pegasus Bay is a family-owned vineyard in Waipara, North Canterbury, approximately 45-minute’s drive north of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand. It has been regularly named in the Top 3 wineries in New Zealand, known especially for its Pinot Noir and Riesling. Established by Ivan and Christine Donaldson in 1985, today all four sons and two of their wives work in the business. Eldest son Matthew (Matt) Donaldson has been Winemaker since the third vintage in 1993, assisted by his wife Di; Michael (Mike) is Local Sales Manager; and youngest son Paul is the General Manager. We talked with Marketing Manager Edward Donaldson who has also been involved in the business since its earliest days. His wife Belinda manages the hospitality side of the business which now focuses on private events. Our Feature Story : Part 15Pegasus Bay (Waipara Valley, North Canterbury, New Zealand)Waipara Valley wine pioneers ‒ the Donaldson family―― Edward Donaldson(Marketing Manager)All wines are 750ml unless otherwise specied. Prices do not include Consumption Tax.

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