Mahi Savvies Always Excellent – I last enjoyed and reviewed both of Brian Bicknell’s sauvignon blancs in 2012, so was quite excited when the next vintage of both arrived. My previous review is here.
Mahi Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough NZ 2012
Brian’s focus for this wine was texture and depth, rather than solely on primary fruit notes. Fruit from 9 different vineyards was hand-picked ripe and whole-cluster pressed so that the time on skins was minimised. A portion of this juice was barrel-fermented in older French oak and the balance was cool fermented to retain the fruit characters from the vineyards. Says Brian…
“Each year the fruit is slightly different and so the blending is constantly interesting. This year the barrel and wild portions account for 12% of the blend, which we felt gave a good balance. The fruit intensity allowed this and we will keep assessing the blends on an annual basis, aiming to make ‘real’ wines that express our vineyards and personalities.”
The 2012 was pale lemon-lime in the glass with bright citrus, gooseberry, capsicum & herbal notes in the nose – no hint of the oak used though. On the palate it was lovely with loads of concentrated tropical fruit, creamy textural elements from barrel and wild yeasts, a complex wine with tropical fruit with fabulous length and succulent finish…
RRP $19.00 Alc/V 13.2%
Mahi Boundary Farm Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough NZ 2011
This wine comes from a small hillside parcel on the southeast boundary of Blenheim. The north-facing aspect means that the grapes receive lots of sunshine hours so they ripen well and are often some of the earlier grapes of the vintage. The soils there have a higher % of clay, which contributes to extra weight & interest to the palate, and adds texture and suppleness to the wine.
The grapes were hand-picked, whole-cluster pressed and taken straight to French barriques without any chemicals. Wild ferment in the barrels, added complexity and texture, without dominating the nose. The wine was left on yeast lees for 11 months, stirred regularly. This meant that the yeast added both savoury notes and also served to work as a natural fining agent. After time in barrique it was gently racked then bottled.
Gorgeous bright yellow-gold in the glass, with a little wiff of nutty oak & loads of tropical/citrus on the nose. Quite a weighty wine from time on lees with a lot going on in the palate, great acidity balanced by a rounded creamy textural mouth-feel. Really complex, layered finish that went on for ages. A fantastic wine. RRP $29.00 Alc/V 13.5%
We are so lucky in New Zealand to have innovative winemakers trying new ways of making savvy – thanks Brian and the team at Mahi for being at the leading edge of the new wave Sauvignon Revolution.