Raymond Chan recently reviewed a selection of current release Blank Canvas wines, awarding three 5-star reviews to the each of the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Gruner Veltliner and 2015 Syrah. 

The full article and reviews are featured below:

Blank Canvas Wines from Matt and Sophie Thomson

“Matt Thomson has an excellent reputation as a winemaker who has made top class New Zealand wine, especially with his time at Saint Clair, but also in making European wines over the last 25 years.  Two vintages annually, one in the Northern hemisphere and one in the Southern has meant 50 vintages in total to date.  Matt makes no bones that the international experience has lead him to make New Zealand wines influenced by European techniques, and no doubt vice versa.  The Blank Canvas wines of Matt and his wife Sophie have certainly introduced European influences in their new releases.  Here, I review six of their new Blank Canvas wines, all single vineyard bottlings, the owners of the sites they have strong relationships with, and which they believe they have inputted factors uncommon in the making of the majority of New Zealand wines.”

Blank Canvas Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the edge.  The nose is elegant in proportion with finely concentrated, deeply penetrating aromas of pungent passionfruit harmoniously melded with tropical fruit and fresh herbs, with green stonefruit elements.  This is refined in its intensity.  Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has fulsome and rich flavours of pungent passionfruit with tropical fruits and herbs.  The mouthfeel shows some light, grainy phenolic textures allied to refreshing acidity, and the wine carries with good energy and drive to a long, lingering finish.  This is a rich, fulsome and textural dry Sauvignon Blanc with intense passionfruit, tropical fruit and herb flavours with grip and fresh acidity.  Match with seafood, salads and vegetables and Pacific Rim fare over the next 2+ years.  Fruit from the ‘Holdaway’ vineyard, Dillons Point, fermented in stainless-steel to 13.0% alc. and 2 g/L RS.  18.5/20  Nov 2018 RRP $26.00

Blank Canvas Marlborough Riesling 2018

Bright, very pale straw colour with slight green hues, near colourless on the rim.  The nose is fresh and delicate with taut and refined aromas of lime fruit, white florals and subtle notes of mouthwatering minerals at the core, revealing nuances of herbs.  The aromatics are youthfully pure with excellent clarity.  Medium in sweetness and light-bodied, the palate has delicate and subtle flavours of lime fruit, white florals with notes of honey and minerals.  The mouthfeel is thirst-quenching with crisp, lacy, brisk acidity and the wine flows along a fine line with good enery and tension, leading to a sustained, nuanced finish.  This is a delicately fruited medium Riesling with lime, floral and mineral flavours on a mouthwatering palate.  It will develop over the next 4-5+ years.  Match with Asian fare.  Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Anandale Farm’ vineyard, Blind River, Awatere, fermented in stainless-steel to 8.6 % alc. and 23 g/L RS, TA 8.7 g/L and pH 2.9.  18.0+/20  Nov 2018  RRP $28.00

Blank Canvas Marlborough Gruner Veltliner 2013  

Bright, light golden-hued straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim.  The bouquet is rich and concentrated with packed and layered aromatics showing exotic stonefruits with fresh herbs, nutty notes and some smoky oak.  This exhibits secondary complexity and plenty of detail.  Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a fulsome presence, with concentrated layers of savoury stonefruits, dark herbs, toast and nutty oak flavours.  The flavours form a solid and rounded core with very fine textures and a fine line, with the acidity providing cut and drive.  The wine carries positively to a long, lingering finish.  This is a mature Gruner Veltliner with a fulsome and solidly packed palate with an array of stonefruit, herb and nutty, toasty flavours with fine textures and acidity.  Match with herb-marinated poiultry and pork over the next 2+ years.  Hand-picked fruit from the Adams’ ‘Berekah Estate’ vineyard, Rapaura, fermented in stainless-steel with 25% split equally into new and seasoned French oak puncheons for fermentation to 13.3% alc. and 3.3 g/L RS, the barrel portions aged for 8 months in oak.  18.5+/20  Nov 2018  RRP $28.00

Blank Canvas ‘Abstract’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Bright straw-yellow colour with some depth, paler edged.  The bouquet is elegant in proportion with finely concentrated aromas of green stonefruits, gooseberries, green capsicums, herbs and nettles, the aromatics with cool-spectrum notes, entwined with fine, underlying nutty oak.  Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has bold and up-front flavours of green stonefruits and gooseberries, along with green capsicums, nettles and cut-grass notes, layered with soft nutty notes.  The flavours form a strong heart, and the mouthfeel is fresh with fine textures and good linearity carrying the wine to a light, lingering finish.  This is a bold ad up-front oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with stonefruit, cut-grass, nettle and herb flavours with nutty oak.  Match with Mediterranean fare over the next 3 years.  Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Holdaway’ vineyard, Dillons Point, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned French oak 500 L puncheons with full solids to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in barrel then given a further 2 months in tank.  18.0/20  Nov 2018  RRP $38.00

Blank Canvas ‘Upton Downs’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Light, opaque garnet-red colour with some depth, lighter edged.  The nose is soft and ethereal with subtle, but voluminous aromas of soft-red berry fruits harmoniously melded with fresh and dark herbs, and some whole bunch stalk perfumes.  This builds in intensity and penetration with aeration.  Medium-bodied, the palate is elegant and refined in expression with stylish and subtle, savoury flavours of red cherry and berry fruit harmoniously entwined with fresh herbs and a layer of whole bunch stalk notes.  The mouthfeel is very smooth in texture with an underlay of very fine, flowery tannin extraction, the acidity soft and integrated.  The flavours carry positively to a long, savoury floral nuanced finish.  This is an elegant and refined Pinot Noir with savoury red fruits and whole bunch stalk complexities on a fine-grained palate.  Match with wild duck and pork over the next 5-6 years.  100% clone 777 from the Laurie’s vineyard on Upton Downs Road, Awatere, hand-picked and indigenous yeast fermented with 40% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 16 months in 25% new French oak barriques.  455 cases made, a reduction in quantity due to loss from the earthquake in November.  18.0+/20  RRP $49.00

Blank Canvas Hawke’s Bay Syrah 2015

Very dark, deep, black-hued purple-red colour, near impenetrable at the heart, very youthful in appearance.  The nose is elegantly proportioned with finely concentrated and deep aromas of ripe blackberry fruit along with black plums, black pepper, subtle notes of Asian spices and liquorice, with herbal and whole bunch stalk detail adding interest.  Medium-full bodied, the palate is elegantly presented with a concentrated core of blackberry fruit interwoven with dark herbs, black pepper, unfolding black plums and spice elements.  The fruit is underlined by fine, grainy tannin structure with balanced, vibrant acidity, and the wine carries with good linearity to a sustained finish.  This is an elegant, but intensely flavoured and concentrated Syrah with black fruits and black pepper, and herb and whole bunch stalk notes on a vibrant, fine-structured palate.  Match with herb-marinated lamb, beef or venison over the next 7-9 years.  Syrah fruit from Dominic Smith’s single vineyard in the Gimblett Gravels indigenous yeast fermented with 7% Gruner Veltliner skins, and 60% whole bunches to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 10 months in new and seasoned French oak.  18.5+/20  Nov 2018  RRP $45.00