Byrne Vineyard

The vineyard is located at the western end of the Wairau Valley, on stony soils that would have been a river-bed only a century or so ago.

The association with this vineyard started in 2000 through a mixture of timing, luck, and wine.

We were looking to start Mahi and wanted a top vineyard to start with, preferably small as we could not devote a lot of time to selling the wine.

At a party I had a brief conversation with the Byrne’s regarding a small part of their vineyard that was closer planted and was a pet project of theirs.  Phone calls, visits and chats followed and we eventually decided to work together, and really get Mahi started.

The vineyard is located at the western end of the Wairau Valley, on stony soils that would have been a river-bed only a century or so ago. The stones provide very good drainage, suiting both the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir that is grown in the block.

The Sauvignon is grown on two terraces, with the vines growing down the slope that connects them. These different areas seem to give different characters and we are aiming to pick the portions at different times in the 2009 vintage. As we lease this vineyard and have total control we have been running it under an organic regime and it was certified in 2010.

The Pinot Noir here is on the two sides of the stream, with the Burgundian Clone 115 vines to the south, and Swiss Clone 10/5 to the north. These two clones are quite different, in growth, ripening and flavour, but are quite complementary. The 115 always ripens earlier and gives a rich full style of Pinot Noir, while the 10/5 is always the latest Pinot parcel that we harvest, and gives a very structured, slightly higher acid, wine. Together you get the ‘ballsyness’ of the 115 on the mid-palate backed by the structure and length of the 10/5.

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