Mahi Chardonnay "Twin Valley"

Mahi Chardonnay “Twin Valleys Vineyard”


  • The aim for this Chardonnay is to retain a fresh structure rather than producing a wine that is too broad.  Brian therefore minimizes the malolactic fermentation so that it is really the vineyard, fruit, wild-ferment and barrel characters that make up the complex nose and palate.
  • This wine comes from a small parcel in the Twin Valleys Vineyard, located in the Fareham Lane area of Marlborough. The vineyard is at the western end of the Wairau Valley, on the junction with the Waihopai Valley. The influence of the constant river flow has resulted in the silt being washed away and the soils remaining both rocky and devigourated. Being some distance from the sea the climate is also cooler. The grapes therefore typically ripen more slowly and retain an interesting mineral character.
  • The vines are all from the favoured Clone 95 which we have found suits this area as the fruit comes in with good acid balance which we endeavour to retain. The vines were cropped low to ensure ripeness and palate richness.

Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay

Elaboration: The vines were cropped low to ensure ripeness and palate richness. In the winery the grapes were whole-cluster pressed and the high-solids juice taken straight to French barriques for fermentation with indigenous yeast. After 15 months in oak we felt the balance was correct and took the wine from barrel. It was then aged further in tank on yeast lees prior to being racked and gently fined before bottling.

Tasting Notes: Peach, vanilla, and citrus notes are lush and inviting, while this medium to full-bodied wine finishes long, with echoing notes of stone fruit and lime.


2015 – 92 Wine Advocate


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.