PL Award 1: SILVER - SWA 2016
Country: New Zealand Region: Marlborough Vintage: 2014
Varietal: Riesling Category: Red Wine Color: Red
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;Vegetarian
Winemaker: Matt Thomson
This Pinot Noir is sourced from a single vineyard that I oversaw the planting of in 2001. It is situated in the old clay soils of the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough. The soil naturally gives low yields, but we also crop thinned during the ripening of the fruit. As a result the berries were small and concentrated with flavour. It is made exclusively from Clone 115, a Dijon clone which I love for the tannins and strong fruit.
The handpicked bunches were cold-soaked for five days before undergoing wild fermentation. Lots of hand-plunging took place and a large proportion of whole bunch fermentation (50%) made this a particularly challenging task! Coupled with a savoury low-toast oak regime of new and seasoned oak, and barrel maturation of 10 months, this Pinot Noir has finesse and power. The wine is bottled unfiltered.
This wine evokes emotive language. Aromas of bright raspberry, red cherry, and delicate violet intertwine with seductive savoury characters. It possesses the silky Pinot Noir texture that is so often strived for, and has a structure that is likened to the Old World with big but elegant tannins set amongst a balanced backbone of acidity. This wine is one that will get more intriguing and complex with cellaring, assisted by the whole bunch fermentation that took place. It has years of evolution ahead.
Food Suggestion: This wine is versatile with food and will pair well with savoury lamb, venison and game dishes, as well as fish dishes such as grilled salmon or tuna. A quintessential match for a vegetarian option is grilled field mushrooms.
Closure: Stelvin ABV:13% Acidity [g/l]: 5.5 Classification: VQA