Mahi Marlborough 2019 Chardonnay

Mahi Marlborough 2019 Chardonnay

  • Chardonnay
  • New Zealand, 750ml

This Mahi is an elegant, classic Marlborough Chardonnay. Aged in French oak for 11 months but with only a small portion undergoing malolactic fermentation, this is a fresh, elegant style of chardonnay. It's creamy on the palate and carries characteristic notes of stone-fruits but these are kept in check by perfectly handled acidity.

  • Winery: Mahi
  • Varietal: Chardonnay
  • Region: Marlborough, New Zealand
  • Vintage: 2019
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Volume: 750ml
  • Closure: Screwcap
  • Food pairing: Chicken; veal & pork; shrimp, crab & lobster; potato & squash; cream & pesto sauces; mild & semi soft cheeses

This fruit comes from three vineyards; the Taylor Vineyard which is in the Rapaura area and the Twin Valleys vineyard, which Mahi have been working with since 2003 and a very small amount of recently planted Clone 1066 from the Mahi home block in front of the winery.


Mahi, meaning our work, our craft, began in 2001, fulfilling a lifetime dream. Brian had been making wine in different parts of the world for about 15 years before deciding to return to New Zealand and settle in Marlborough.  Arriving in 1996 he could see that vineyards in the different valleys of Marlborough produced remarkably unique  profiles.  At the time, most of Marlborough’s wines were made as regional blends with many individual site characteristics being lost.  In other areas of the world distinctive sites were being celebrated and so an idea was hatched to create a label that promoted different vineyard sites across Marlborough to show the region had true depth and complexity.

This idea of a new label had been formed for some time but it was when Brian’s father developed terminal cancer the realization of his own mortality proved to be the impetus that was needed to finally start making the wines of Mahi.

The very first harvest was from a vineyard located in the Conder’s Bend part of Marlborough.  An area Brian was familiar with.  Initial quantities were tiny from this small 1.5 hectare parcel of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from the Byrne vineyard.  Mahi now manages the vineyard organically and are thrilled to still be working with the site that started it all.

Brian’s winemaking style for Mahi is to allow the vineyards to speak through the wines, with the wines being made in a very ‘hands-off’ manner.

For all of the Mahi single-vineyard wines the fruit is hand-picked 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. With the Pinot Noir everything is hand-plunged and to date all have been bottled unfiltered, allowing the true vineyard expression to come through.

In 2003 another vineyard, Twin Valleys, was selected, located in a distinctive part of the Wairau Valley, being  in Fareham Lane area, which is quite far west in the valley, meaning slightly cooler temperatures and longer ripening times. The vineyard had no Sauvignon planted and the focus was on the Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In 2003 only Chardonnay was available and the eventual wine proved to be stunning. Since then a series of elegant Chardonnays have come from this parcel and from 2006 onwards Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer have also been made from this parcel. In 2007 the owners, Pete and Anne Reed, purchased a vineyard close by in the Guernsey Lane district and planted it to Sauvignon Blanc.  This Sauvignon continues to play a very important role in our regional ‘Marlborough’ Sauvignon Blanc.

In 2004 an opportunity to take some Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard closer to the sea presented itself and since then the Francis Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc has been produced. Being on a slightly more fertile and warmer site the wines have exhibited a richer palate and more tropical notes on the nose than Byrne, and the comparison of these two wines exhibit perfectly the original idea of the label. The Francis family has a long history with Brian and Nicola as Polly Francis had worked five vintages with Brian and worked the first vintage at the Mahi winery in 2007.

The next major step forward for Mahi was when Brian resigned from his other employment in July 2006 to focus solely on Mahi and his consultancy clients in Marlborough and Chile. This opened a range of opportunities, with the key one ending with the purchase of the historic winery that had made the wines of Cellier Le Brun since 1984.


  • 91/100 Points - New Zealand Wine Rater
  • 4 Stars & Recommended - The Real Review (2018 vintage)
  • 95/100 Points - Cameron Douglas MW (2017 vintage)
  • 4.5 Stars - Michael Cooper (2017 vintage)


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