PL Award 1: SILVER - DWWA 2016
PL Award 2: SILVER - SWA 2016
Country: New Zealand Region: Marlborough Vintage: 2017
Varietal: Sauvignon Blanc 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 Davids 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 fruit comes from a single vineyard in the Dillons Point subregion located on the coastal fringe of the Wairau Valley. This vineyard belongs to the Holdaway family who have been farming in Marlborough for generations. They practice sustainable viticulture with such things as their own compost and mulching preparations to maintain organic matter in the soil. The soils are fertile and deep but well-drained, with plenty of mineral nutrients which is perfect for nutrient hungry Sauvignon. The vineyard is VSP-trained and cane-pruned.
2017 was unprecedented in Marlborough, being hit by not one but two tropical cyclones during the peak of harvest. Cyclone Debbie lashed her fury on the region on the 2nd April and Blank Canvas opportunely picked on the evening of 1st! So the fruit was safely tucked into the winery before daylight. Storms aside the weather leading up to harvest was very favourable and the flavours exceptional. Because of the rains and cloudy skies, ripening slowed and a carefully judged yield was crucial to obtain the desired level of ripeness.
The grapes were harvested by machine in the cool of the night to ensure no harsh phenolics were extracted and acidity preserved. Fruit was pressed off quickly to avoid skin contact and drained straight to one small tank. The juice was settled naturally and fermented in stainless steel at cool temperatures. With minimal intervention throughout, the wine was bottled on 7th June 2017.
A classic expression of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, offering complexity of texture and a mineral drive that summons river stones and sea spray. Blackcurrant, guava and passionfruit are captured alongside the subtlest hint of lemongrass. This wine is focused and explosive on both nose and palate yet remains elegantly balanced and distinctly salty.