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Mahi winemaker Brian Bicknell is the ultimate host. Always willing to open up his hearth and his cellar to guests, you instantly feel welcomed by his interest and conversation, and intrigued by his enthusiasm and creativity.

I’ve been lucky enough to be hosted at Mahi on two occasions recently. Both times, a fire has been blazing (last Sunday in brazier form), the wine and conversation flowed, accompanied by great, unpretentious food.

After the wine weekend twilight garden party, it was a bowl of white bean and chorizo soup, prepared by local chef Marcia Chang Hong. The perfect way to soak up too much rose fizz, chardonnay and pinot from the garden party…

On Sunday, Dane and I attended one of the reglar “Mahi Shared Table” events. Chef Will Mitchell from La Boca Loca in Wellington had ferried over (thankfully not on the now rudderless Aratere) to whip up delicious, fresh flavoured, Mexican inspired cuisine.

la boca loca

The gastro highlights of the meal were the steamed duck and pomegranate salsa on white tortilla and the blue masa, nectarine and mezcal trifle but the whole meal was outstanding. I’ll definitely be popping in to La Boca Loca next time I’m in Miramar.

But the real highlight was the relaxed atmosphere and great bunch of people. Brian told me that although the idea of these lunches is to showcase the wines to new people, in fact most of the people in the room were mates or colleagues. He is too modest to mention that the lunch sold out in a day and that they put on a second event on the Saturday evening which also sold out. Great and innate hospitality is a rare talent but one that comes naturally to the team at Mahi.