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donaldson family

Street splitter

Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (Waipara Valley) – Vivacious, and I mean that in more than one sense: there’s a ton of spritz here, which really livens up an otherwise directly, icily fruity wine full of green-toned sorbets. Developing nicely, with just a hint of petrol, and really fun. (6/12)


Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2007 Riesling (Waipara) – Sweet lime and grapefruit, and getting just ever so slightly nervy, which is a quality that this solid, reliable wine doesn’t achieve all that often. I don’t know if it’s just a stage or a vintage effect, but this is suddenly more interesting than it was earlier this year. There’s more here, but it’s mostly hidden in a textural monoculture right now, and time will be required to tease out those nuances. (9/11)

Split decision

Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (South Island) – Citrus leaf, lemongrass, good acidity and just enough sweetness for balance. Simple, sunny. (7/10)

Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (South Island) – Ripe green apple, hints of grapefruit, Asian aromatics…but really, all more simple than that. And good. Tasty. Fun. (7/10)

Main street

Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (South Island) – Makrut lime, icy-bright sweetness, ripe apple zing. Fresh and zippy. (7/10)

Wing it

Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2002 Riesling (Waipara) – Creamed dust and papaya. But otherwise flat, dull-fruited, and short. Something went wrong here, and since other bottles from the same source have been fine, I’m going to blame the cork. (5/10)

Main street

Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (New Zealand) – Fruity and a little aggressive, but the bones are just starting to show through the skin, and the wine’s picked up a brittleness it didn’t have even a few months ago. I don’t know if it’s closing or fading. (3/10)


Donaldson Family “Main Divide” 2005 Riesling (South Island) – Just as bright and lively as all previous bottles, but a little less overtly fruit-happy, which is actually to the benefit of the wine because it reveals some sun-drenched rock underneath. Not much – this is still a fruit-driven riesling – but just enough to add welcome complexity. A nice wine. (12/09)

The end

[vineyard]Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 1999 “Finale” (Waipara) – From 375 ml. My last, and best, bottle, exploding with spicy complexity, rich bronzed peach, and luxuriant texture. Fabulous. (9/09)

Fly, horsey, fly

[vineyard]Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2006 Riesling (Waipara Valley) – Lake, rather than river, riesling…by which I mean there’s a tranquility, and the mineral/structural underpinnings rest placidly rather than race past. Ripe apple, sweet lime, and a sunny acidity also play their part. A very engaging wine, still in the flush of youth. (8/09)

Bay leaves

Donaldson Family “Pegasus Bay” 2000 Pinot Noir (Waipara) – Big and dark, but not as weight-dominated as it was just a year ago, which means that signs that its made of pinot noir (rather than something more Rhônish) are starting to re-emerge. There’s always been good acidity, and the drawing back of the heft has revealed some delicious orange rocks within, but I still don’t think there’s any hurry to drink this. (7/09)

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