Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir – Burgundian Brilliance without the Burgundian Budget.

In New Zealand, we are in the ridiculously fortunate position of having some of the world’s finest wines produced in our back yards, all of which, when compared with the prestige wines of Europe and even Australia remain relatively affordable. While $100 may seem expensive for a bottle of wine, compare that with a similar quality example from Bordeaux or Burgundy – the results may shock you!

Pegasus Bay make, in my opinion, one of the finest Burgundian-styled Pinot Noir’s on the planet – the Pegasus Bay Prima Donna. I was fortunate to try 3 separate vintages recently, the ‘Aged Release’ 2009, the 2013, and the current release 2015. Interestingly, these all come from odd-numbered vintages. There used to be a theory that the ‘best’ wines in the Southern Hemisphere seemed to come from even numbered vintages, for example, 1990 and 1996 were considered some of the best ever, and that odd numbered vintages were in many cases slightly inferior. I can categorically state that that theory, based on these 3 remarkable wines, is a lot of old (insert your chosen mild profanity here).

I’m a huge fan of the ‘Aged Release’ or ‘Museum Release’ theory. It allows producers to carefully cellar limited quantities of their top wines and release them when they believe them to be ready. And it saves us mere mortals the temptation of drinking them a bit early. Pegasus Bay Prima Donna 2009 is still tight and dense, with vigour and fruit that belies its age. At a decade old, this is still youthful enough to suggest it has plenty of life yet, but it’s completely irresistible now. Very Burgundian in style, and worth absolutely every penny. 5*

The 2013 vintage has been talked about as one of the finest NZ wines, of any variety, ever. I am firmly in the same camp. This is a truly remarkable wine. A phenomenal, handsome, regal wine. Savoury, rich and ripe, elegant with soft and harmonious tannins. Dense, power packed, multiple waves of fruit and spice build to a finish that is so long I can taste it a week later. If I could rate a wine 6 stars out of 5 I would. One of the greatest wines I have ever tried. Phenomenal. 5*

Rounding off my mini vertical was the 2015 Prima Donna. Once again, a top wine. Huge power, dense core of plum and vanilla. Rich, earthy and spicy. This one will cellar for many years to come. Not quite at its best yet, it’s still wonderful. 4.5*

The 2009 and 2015 vintages of these incredible wines are available from at $95-$120, although you may need to pray to the wine gods to find a 2013 anywhere in the wild.