2013 Pegasus Bay Reserve Prima Donna Pinot Noir

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2013 Pegasus Bay Reserve Prima Donna Pinot Noir

"Prima Donna Pinot Noir is an elite barrel selection and in 2013 it is one of the greatest wines I have ever seen from this country. ….” Matthew Jukes, UK

Tasting Notes


It has a deep ruby hue. 


The aromas and flavours evoke impressions of black cherries, purple plums, wild blackberries and mulberries. These are underpinned with a savoury dimension suggestive of roast game, grilled mushrooms and black olive tapenade.


There is a layer of velvety tannins that coat and refine its big body and taut muscular structure, helping to draw out its lingering aftertaste of chocolate mocha and spice. While ready to drink on release it can be expected to cellar well and evolve gracefully for many years.

2013 Pegasus Bay Reserve Prima Donna Pinot Noir

The Family

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 Vineyards & Vine

We have about a dozen different clones of pinot noir and in some of our blocks these are intermingled. The vines, many of which are nearly 30 years old and on their own roots, grow on a series of north facing, gradually descending terraces. While the site is warm during the day it is cool at night. This allows the fruit to ripen fully but slowly and to retain good acid levels of natural acidity. The drainage is helped by stones intermingled with the soil.

The Season

A mild spring was followed by a sunny summer and a lingering dry autumn. It was a perfect growing season with enough warmth to produce optimal ripeness but it was not too hot to destroy varietal purity or freshness.

The Harvest & Winemaking

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 plantings in the vineyard. As with all our Pinot’s, we use traditional Burgundian winemaking methods. We picked the various blocks at different stages, depending on their maturity, aiming for a range of red and dark fruit flavours. Approximately 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 floating cap of grape skins was gently plunged twice daily. When the fermentation finished, the grape remnants were left to steep in the wine for up to a week to help extract a different 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 (30% 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 (representing the many different plots & clones of pinot) was chosen and carefully blended, to produce the most complex and balanced wine possible.


96 points. James Suckling (tasted March 2023)

This is a beautiful wine now with lots of ripe strawberry and cherry fruit character, with hints of iron and peppercorn. It’s full and layered with lots of fruit and firm yet round tannins. A wonderful release of a pinot noir with age. Sustainable. Drink now or hold. Screw cap.
96/100 James Suckling (tasted on initial release)

The refinement and brilliance of the fruit on offer here really sets this wine apart from the regular Pegasus Bay pinot noir. Deliciously rich dark cherry aromas and flavors are presented amid silky, refined and long-form tannins. A great wine, in every respect.
Matthew Jukes, UK
"Prima Donna Pinot Noir is an elite barrel selection and in 2013 it is one of the greatest wines I have ever seen from this country. ….”
92/100 Steve Tanzer.
“ …. Deep, plush, rather powerful Pinot Noir with rich, ripe tannins and excellent length.” 
91/100 Lisa Perotti-Brown – Wine Advocate.
” …. mouth-filling red berry flavours supported by finely grained tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and earthy.”
93 Points - Erin Larkin 
"The 2013 Prima Donna Pinot Noir is elegant and fine. It is evolving, no question, but it's just hitting its stride now, at 10 years of age. There are pomegranate pearls, pink peppercorns, Szechuan and bramble. The wine is starting to show arnica and white pepper, garden mint and even a hint of resin. Smart! There's plenty of acid, so this has years to go. 14% alcohol, sealed under screw cap."

95 points - Outstanding - CamDouglasMS - Master Sommelier


    Year 2013
    Bottle Size 750ml
    Cultivar Pinot Noir
    Country New Zealand
    Alcohol content
    14% alc vol 
    Units of Alcohol per Bottle 10.5 units
    Type Red Wine
    Cellaring Potential This complex, dry and vibrant wine with best drinking from 2023 through 2033.
    Allergen Information Contains sulphites
    Waipara Valley
    Appellation Canterbury