Mahi Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine made in the Marlborough wine-growing region of New Zealand. The fruit is sourced from several of the estates vineyards.
The winemaker and owner of Mahi Wines is Brian Bicknell. Brian has made wine around the world for about 15 years when he settled in Marlborough on 1996. Brian was interested in noting that vineyards in the different valleys of Marlborough produced remarkably unique profiles. At the time most Marlborough Sauvignon would be blended from different areas. A plan was hatched to make wines from different vineyard sites to show that the region had true depth, complexity and “terroir”. Winemaking at Mahi is very “hands off”. Fruit is hand harvested and sorted prior to being ‘whole-cluster’ pressed at the winery. Fermentation is done with the indigenous yeasts that arrive on the grapes, and if barrels are used these will be French, as they give a more savoury character to the wines. Today Mahi have several vineyard sites including the original one in the Fareham Lane areas of the Wairau Valley. In 2006 Brian was able to quit his other winemaking commitment and focus on Mahi Wines only. This coincided with the purchase of the old Cellier Le Brun winery which was upgraded and modernised. The first vintage released from the new winery was the 2007.
The Mahi Sauvignon Blanc is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc grapes from several different vineyards (having said all that about single vineyard sites) and is a great starting point for exploring the Mahi style. The hand-picked fruit was whole-cluster pressed so that the time on skins was minimised. A portion of this juice, 11% this in 2018, was barrel-fermented in older French oak to give greater weight, though ensuring that wood is not evident on the nose. The balance of the wine was fermented cool to retain the fruit characters from Mahi’s vineyards. The native ferment portion, 18%, also adds levels of flavour and texture, giving a savoury note that balances some sweeter fruit. The final blend was made solely from free-run juice, Brian feels that this produces a more elegant and subtle wine.