A new initiative launched by two well known New Zealand wineries began eight years ago with the launch of 10 year old wines that were labelled Aged Releases. The wineries in question are Pegasus Bay and Dog Point and both have since continued the trend of releasing intentionally aged wines several years after they were first made and sold. By holding a portion of the wines back from the market and releasing them several years down the track, the owners of these wineries are able to give wine lovers a sneak peak into what well aged wines taste like. In word, great.
The latest trio of Aged Releases are available for sale from next Monday 1 May from Pegasus Bay's Aged Release programme. There are two Pinot Noirs and a Riesling in the release. All have been stored in the temperature controlled, dark cellars at Pegasus Bay winery in the Waipara Valley, North Canterbury. It is difficult to imagine a more reliable way to buy aged wines from since these conditions are optimal.
If you have ever wondered what good older wines actually taste like and whether you would like to drink them, try these.
2013 Pegasus Bay Riesling RRP $45
Long ripening on the vines results in richly fruity flavours and a high percentage of noble rot (aka botrytis - a fungus that shrivels grapes, concentrating the flavours and reducing moisture content on the vine). This provides outstanding concentration of limes, lemon zest and a waxy texture giving a full body, which is balanced by great acidity.
2013 Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir RRP $70
Deep in colour, fabulously smooth in texture with firm structure coming from the inclusion of 10% of the grapes being fermented as whole bunches to add weight and tannic power to the wine. This is full bodied, dry and has the classic dark tannic hallmarks of youthful Pegasus Bay Pinot Noir, only this is smoother and more developed with savoury aromas coming through and a bright acid nervy edge making it taste fresh. It still has time up its sleeve but drinks beautifully now.
2013 Pegasus Bay Prima Donna Pinot Noir RRP $130
Prima Donna is a barrel selection of the best Pinot Noirs selected by the winemaking team at Pegasus Bay and typically aged in up to 40% new oak, which accentuates the softness and smooth texture of this full bodied wine. Drink it with dark savoury flavours such as mushrooms and black olive tapenade, suggests winemaker Mat Donaldson.
This is a great wine for drinking now and will reward those with willpower to hold onto it for another three to four years... then again, it's so delicious now, why wait?
Available from the winery, specialist wine stores and, I imagine, online from www.pegasusbay.com