Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
Grape: Pinot Noir
First Glance: Dark cherry, bramble, sweet spice, damp earth
Mahi ("Our craft") was tarted in the early 2000's by husband and wife team Brian and Nicola Bicknell. The initial focus was on exploring different sites around Marlborough, utilizing the variance of sites and microclimates around the complex valleys, in a region where individuality and the reverence for "origin" is often downplayed or ignored entirely. This approach serves as a means to make less stream-lined and commercial expressions of the classic New Zealand varieties such as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and of course, the all important Sauvignon Blanc. As such, all the Mahi wines are made with low-cropped, hand-harvested fruit, and where possible the vineyards are tended organically. In the cellar the approach is hands-off to allow for the natural flavours of the vineyards to carry over into the wines.
The Pinot Noir is made from two sites in Marlborough: The cooler Two Valleys vineyard lending finesse and tension to the wine, and the Ward vineyard with its warmer microclimate to give richness and supple fruit. Around 20% of the fruit goes through fermentation with stems included to give a little grip and spice, and the wine is aged for 15 months in French barrique.
The Best Cellars view:
A darker style of Marlborough Pinot, this has a fine mix of elegant cherry notes and darker, more sumptuous plum and bramble fruit. These are supported by clove spice, damp earth and a lick of sweeter barrel-derived richness. Medium bodied on the palate, with firm tannins and lifted acidity, this is a well balanced and moreish NZ Pinot.