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Raymond Chan reviews Mahi

Raymond Chan, March 2013
Mahi – Divergent Sauvignon Blanc Styles

With the 2013 harvest, Brian Bicknell will be experiencing his 26th vintage. The variety that has arguably been the foundation of his fine reputation is Sauvignon Blanc, Brian having made some especially successful examples when at Seresin Estate, and now under his own Mahi label. Over the years, Brian has honed the styles he prefers, to make and to drink, and these are wines with less primary fruit, but with positive palate texture, interest and subtlety. One is a ‘regional’ expression made from fruit from a number of vineyard sources providing cooler fruit for subtle linearity. This is seen as the most complicated to make by Brian. The other is a single vineyard wine, made more naturally in some respects, but with more barrel influence, designed to complement the fruit. As Brian says, they are “two totally different styles of Sauvignon, which we use with different dishes at the table”. Here are my reviews of the two Mahi Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Bright, pale straw colour, pale on rim. The nose is very refined and elegant with ethereal aromas of gooseberry fruit along with subtle hints of fresh herbs, minerals and a suggestion of smoke. The bouquet has detail that builds in intensity in the glass. Dry to taste, gentle, restrained and nuanced flavours of gooseberries, herbs, limes and minerals flow easily on a soft, finely textured palate. The acidity is lacy and mouthwatering in freshness, enlivening the flavour interest. The flavours are carried to a very long, lingering thirst-quenching finish. This is a subtly-flavoured and soft-textured Sauvignon Blanc with a lacy, mouthwatering palate. Serve with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2+ years. Fruit from 9 sites, partially hand-picked and WBP, with 12% fermented in seasoned French oak, and 10% with indigenous yeasts to 13.2% alc. and 2.1 g/L rs. 18.0+/20 Mar 2013 RRP $19.00

Mahi ‘Boundary Farm’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Fruit from the ‘Gilbert’ vineyard on the southern boundary of Blenheim township at the foot of the Wither Hills, hand-picked and WBP, fermented in seasoned French oak barriques with indigenous yeasts to 14.0% alc. and 1.9 g/L rs, the wine aged on lees in barrel for 11 months. Brilliant straw-yellow colour with faint golden hues, pale edged. This has a full, soft nose with gentle aromas of savoury, ripe gooseberry and greengage fruit that have good depth and density. Delicate smoke and nutty notes from barrel work and wild yeast provide interest. Dry to taste and fullish-bodied, savoury yellow stonefruit, gooseberries, sour greengages, fresh herbs and nuts form an array of flavours on palate. The mouthfeel is soft, the acidity restrained, with a fine textural thread providing linearity that carries the flavours to a moderately sustained finish with some acid liveliness appearing. This is a restrained, finely textured Sauvignon Blanc with an melange of savoury fruit flavours. Serve with Mediterranean fare over the next 3+ years. 18.0-/20 Mar 2013 RRP $29.00