Pegasus Bay fun run fundraiser for brain research

One of New Zealand’s most beautifully landscaped wineries and vineyards is launching a new fun run, which doubles as a fundraiser for the NZ Brain Research Institute, and is to be held on Sunday 28 January 2018.

It’s the brainchild, if you’ll forgive the pun, of the Donaldson family, who founded and own Pegasus Bay Winery in North Canterbury.

On having fun while running…

While the words fun and run may not always be uttered in the same breath, both are key to the success of the inaugural event on Sunday 28 January 2018, says Mike Donaldson, one of the organisers. He and his co-organiser and sister in law, Di Donaldson, are encouraging people to dress up and pack a picnic to enjoy on the expansive lawns of the winery, following the run. Wine will be available for purchase following the run and all participants of the run who are 18 years of age and over, will receive a bottle of Pegasus Bay wine to take home; it’s part of the ticket price.

The run or walk options…

The initial run at Pegasus Bay includes a 6 kilometre and a 10 kilometre run / walk. It may grow into a half marathon in the future.

Where the run will go… 

The run will wind its way through the Pegasus Bay Winery’s vineyard and landscaped  gardens, which are planted extensively in flowers, natives, around a lake and a vegetable garden.

The future… 

Di and Mike hope to grow the event in the future, adding other run options (possibly a half marathon) and increasing numbers. They want the first run to attract modest numbers to enable them to host a successful and fun event, which they can build up over time.

“We want to make it a great experience for everyone involved and to raise money for the BRI and then we can build it up over time, in a similar way to how Saint Clair winery in Marlborough has built up their annual marathon.”

On fund raising…

The fundraiser aspect is another key component of the run, which is important to the family because winery co-founder Ivan Donaldson has had an extensive career as an associate professor and consultant neurologist.

His book The Truant from Medicine also raised funds for the New Zealand BRI and is available from www.pegasusbay.com

The details… Vine run…

Sunday 28 January 2018, 10am

Pegasus Bay Winery front lawns – participants can choose to run or walk 6kms or 10kms

Find out more at www.vinerun.co.nz

 

5 of the best… New Pinot Noirs

Wines of the week

Pinot Noir is the most planted red grape in New Zealand so there’s no shortage of wine made from it, but here are five top drops – these wines stand out from the crowd and they all came my way directly from the producers, who were looking for independent analysis of quality, style and price.

These wines rock… they taste great and deliver consistent quality. And, no, they are not cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Prices quoted are approximate retail and drawn from Wine-Searcher.

Top Central drop 

2014 Chard Farm Mata-au Pinot Noir $39

A tasty top drop from an iconic historic Otago winery, Chard Farm, which is based in the dramatic Kawarau Gorge and accessed via a precipice sliver of a road, but which leads to the winery’s HQ. The grapes are another matter. While many grow around the winery itself, the vast majority come from the warmer, more settled weather of Lowburn and Parkburn – about 30 minutes’ drive away through in the Cromwell Basin. These vineyards are planted on terraces of alluvial schist from the Mata-Au (Clutha) River, and the hot summer days and cool nights enable the development of powerful ripe fruit flavours, while preserving Pinot’s hallmark of fresh acidic drive, which cuts through this wine’s fruity core, adding nerve and lingering freshness to every sip.

www.chardfarm.co.nz

North Canterbury great

2014 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir $49 

North Canterbury is often eclipsed by its southern cousin, Central Otago, but the best wines reach peaks that are at least as high, particularly Pegasus Bay, whose Pinots continue to grow in deliciousness, bringing a different take on the Pinot theme with their full body, earthy flavours, juicy succulence that provides the wines with length, finesse and elegance. The wine spent 18 months in French oak, 30% of which was new and adds some spicy bells and smooth whistles while.

Wellington wine 

2015 Te Kairanga Run Holder Pinot Noir $40

Fruit is the hero in this concentrated, richly flavoursome Pinot Noir from one of the Wairarapa’s oldest wineries, Te Kairanga – also known as TK on both the label and in the trade. Winemaker John Kavanagh… and the winery is now owned by Foley Family Vineyards, who employed winemaker John Kavanagh to turn things around, which he has done with  noticeable aplomb. He was previously the winemaker at Neudorf Vineyards in Nelson… speaking of which…

Nelson niceness

2015 Neudorf Tom’s Block Pinot Noir, $33

Nelson is known for its sunshine, its art and its lifestyles, two of which have forged the region’s most quality driven wines at their home in the Upper Moutere Valley at Neudorf – Tim and Judy Finn remain committed to their vineyard there, but also use grapes from other vineyards in the Upper Moutere in this full bodied Pinot, which spent nearly a year in French oak – 22% new – and went through 100% wild yeast fermentation, both of which have given this wine its wild earthy flavours and flatter its dark fruit appeal. It drinks well now and can age for 9 to 10 years.

Marvel newcomer from Marlborough

2015 Brancott Reflections Dror Pinot Noir $80

This is a powerful statement of a wine with bold, powerful aromas of cloves, orange peel and dried cherries; it’s 14.5% ABV, so it’s not shy on the alcohol front but this is nicely balanced by intense red cherry, plum and smoky flavours. It’s a blend of the best components of Pinot Noir from hand selected barrels, says Materman.

Top drop over $20 (only just)… The Boneline Riesling

This is Riesling as it should be…

2014 The Boneline Hellblock Riesling $21.50

This great white comes from the country’s top Riesling region – North Canterbury – and is made by a winemaker from even further south; Jeff Sinnott, who understands Riesling better than the back of his hand. It’s a succulent, decadent, delicious wine with refreshing high acidity balanced beautifully by the intense ripe orange and peach flavours – a wine that shines a new light on Riesling, thanks to North Canterbury’s climate and top winemaking.

It’s also open this Saturday in Wellington at Regional Wines & Spirits from 1pm to 5pm… at the store’s free weekly tasting. Come along.