PL Award 1: SILVER - DWWA 2016
PL Award 2: SILVER - SWA 2016
Country: New Zealand Region: Marlborough Vintage: 2016
Varietal: Chardonnay Category: White Wine Color: White
Producer: Blank Canvas
"Matt Thomson is a busy winemaker. He has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world, and has worked with David Gleave since 1994. He is involved with many of the wines in our portfolio, primarily as a consultant. ""Now is the time to launch my own wines,"" he says. ""Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk."" The 'Blank Canvas' is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker's disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. His aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but in order to break the rules, he feels, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.
The fruit for the Grüner Veltliner comes from a single vineyard in the Rapaura sub-region. Free run juice was fermented primarily in stainless steel, with 25% of the blend going to half new and half one year old French oak puncheons (600 litre, to ensure less oak uptake), where the wine remained for eight months. The oak gives depth and texture to the wine, while the single vineyard and the careful handling gives the wine a lovely aromatic intensity. Matt is a firm believer in Marlborough's ability to produce some of New Zealand's best Pinot Noir. This wine is also from a single vineyard, planted by Matt in 2001 on the low vigour clay soils of the Waihopai valley. The wine was fermented with wild yeasts and 50% whole bunch was used. It has lovely restraint and a stunning varietal purity, all held together on the palate by firm yet fine tannins. The fruit for the Syrah comes from a single vineyard on the Gimblett Gravels. The Syrah was co-fermented with 7.5% of Grüner Veltliner skins (""I preferred the white pepper character of the Grüner to the riper Viognier fruit,"" explains Matt) to give a wine with stunning yet restrained aromatics. As with the best Côte-Rotie, Matt used a higher percentage of whole bunch (60%) to enhance the spiced fruit character of the Syrah."
Product Features: Sustainable
Winemaker: Matt Thomson
The vineyard is situated in the Omaka Valley on Brookby Road in Marlborough on low-vigour clay soils. It is cane pruned and VSP trained, and is 100% Clone 95 Chardonnay, which was selected for its elegance and aromatic complexity.
The 2016 vintage had the threat of severe drought hanging over it as El Nino conditions enveloped the start of the growing season through to January. Much needed rain in mid-January and again in March however replenished the rivers and soil moisture. A higher than average number of growing degree days was experienced meaning the rainfall near the start of the harvest period did not impact the fruit adversely and kept the canopies healthy. Warm Autumn days and cool nights enabled long-hang times which resulted in concentrated, ripe fruit profiles. The yield was very low which resulted in concentration of flavour and resulting length.
Grapes were whole bunch pressed, full solids taken with 100% wild yeast fermentation in 500lt French oak puncheons (40% new), with 10 months’ maturation. The 2016 Chardonnay did not have any lees stirring, but some serious shaking couldn’t be prevented thanks to the 14th November earthquake that struck the region while it rested in the winery! There were vinous casualties but thankfully the Chardonnay survived – thus it is genuinely shaken not stirred. It was bottled without any fining or filtration.
An incredibly textured and savoury wine. It summons a golden peach and grapefruit fruit profile, alongside complex flint and fresh bread. Further complexity comes from the oak used in winemaking, imparting subtle vanillin and toast characters. Lifted crisp acidity allows the power and weight of this wine to shine through resulting in a tantalisingly long and balanced finish.