Mahi Chardonnay “Marlborough”
WHY WE LOVE IT
- The aim for this Chardonnay is to retain a fresh structure with a complex palate. Brian minimizes the malolactic fermentation so that it is really the vineyards, fruit, wild ferment, and barrel characters that make up the complex nose and palate.
- This fruit comes from four vineyards; the one hectare vineyard of Bruce and Beverley Cook, the Taylor Vineyard which is in the Rapaura area and the Twin Valleys vineyard, which Brian has been working with since 2003 and a very small amount of recently planted Clone 1066 from the Mahi home block in front of the winery.
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Elaboration: All of the vines were intensively hand-tended and then the grapes hand picked prior to whole-cluster pressing at the winery. The juice goes to barrel with high solids and ferments totally with the indigenous yeasts that arrive with the fruit. All the wine is fermented in French oak barriques and sits on the yeast lees for eleven months prior to taking it to bottle. In order to retain the structure of the wine we only allow a small portion of the blend to go through malolactic, meaning that the wine maintains elegance with age. It also allows the wine to be enjoyed with a wide range of foods, rather than dominating dishes.
Tasting Notes: This wine is a complex, textural wine that exhibits the slight creaminess on the midpalate that is the key characteristic of Chardonnay. The structure is slightly rich but still finishes fresh and smooth.
Brian Bicknell had been making wine in different parts of the world for fifteen years before deciding to return to New Zealand and settle in Marlborough in 1996. At this time he could see that vineyards in Marlborough’s various valleys produced remarkably unique profiles, yet most wineries were lumping these sites together to make “consistent” regional blends. Brian saw an opportunity to show the world a more interesting side of New Zealand, and with this in mind he and wife Nicola purchased the historic Cellier Le Brun winery and quickly set up shop.
At present Brian and Nicola own and organically farm seven diverse and highly esteemed vineyard sites spread through the valley – Byrne, Cook, Francis, Twin Valleys, Boundary Farm, Wadworth, and Ward Farm. As far as winemaking goes, things at Mahi are very “hands-off” – These are textured wines that give real palate satisfaction, and they showcase Marlborough’s diverse microclimates in a way that we’ve never before experienced.