"Grand Cru Level" - 2019 Pinot Noir Release | Marlborough

"Grand Cru Level" - 2019 Pinot Noir Release | Marlborough

The time has finally come where we can unleash our excitement about our two single vineyard Marlborough Pinot Noirs from the out-of-this-world 2019 vintage. We are overjoyed that the early reviews received from the critics ahead of our 1st November public release date echo our sentiments. Master Sommelier Cameron Douglas described our 2019 Blank Canvas Escaroth Vineyard Pinot Noir as "grand cru level" scoring it an incredible 97 points, while our debut 2019 Blank Canvas Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir picked up an outstanding 96 points. 

Matt describes that 2019 on paper looked like an absolute dream vintage for Pinot Noir, but as many found out it was one where you could be very much caught off-guard. The very low-yielding nature of the vintage was a result of a combination of one of the driest growing seasons on record in Marlborough but also inclement weather during flowering and sizing. This meant small bunches and small berries with thick skins at harvest time. 

Because of this it had the potential to produce extracted, very dark Pinot Noir and there are a number of examples of these throughout the region from this vintage. It was the complete antithesis of the very light and delicate 2018 vintage. It was a perfect year for the use of whole-bunch fermentation because of the less-extractive nature of this technique, also lending lifted aromatics to ensure the fragrance and pinosity remains. 

We feel that we’ve remained true to our philosophy of producing Pinot Noirs that smell and taste like Pinot Noir. They’re perfumed, fragrant and savoury but structured and textural from the fact we do not shy away from fruit and stem tannin. However the age old idiom that it’s all about balance remains true. These wines did not need long periods on skins, spending about 14-15 days total before being drained and pressed to barrel.

2019 Blank Canvas Escaroth Vineyard Pinot Noir

It is our third vintage release of the Escaroth Vineyard - an exceptional north facing hillside vineyard in the Southern Valley's Taylor Pass. Being dry farmed, the yields in 2019 were eye-wateringly low (3.2 t/ha), and we were facing very concentrated small berries and thick skins.

Initially the whole bunch shut down the wine, as high whole-bunch ferments tend to do, and is an important reason why we hold the wine for a year in bottle prior to release. Now it’s open and replete with violets, red cherry and pomegranate alongside graphite, savoury bacon and forest floor. The tannins are substantial but at the same time elegant and seamless.

Cameron Douglas MS writes of the 2019 Blank Canvas Escaroth Vineyard Pinot Noir: 

"A perfumed, complex bouquet with aromas of roses and ripe cherry, a soft raw sugar and baking spices scent with a core of silty soil minerality. Equally complex with a firm yet finely textured mouthfeel, harmonious synergies between fruit, minerality, tannins and acidity. With each taste the complexity expands with flavours of cherry and plum, forest berries and wild flowers. A Grand Cru level wine with a delicious, layered, perfumed, youthful and long.
Best drinking from late 2022 through 2030+." 97 Points - Outstanding 

2019 Blank Canvas Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir

We are thrilled to be introducing our brand-new single vineyard expression from the Settlement Vineyard to complement and contrast with our Escaroth Vineyard Pinot Noir. While these vineyards are both in the Southern Valleys, they exhibit very different personalities which we think that Pinot Noir fans will find real joy in. 

The Settlement Vineyard, in the Omaka valley, has immense pedigree and we think has all the right ingredients to aid us in our quest to reify Marlborough’s world-class Pinot Noir producing capability. The vineyard is organically farmed (BioGro certified) and was established in 2009. Soils are low-vigour clay with high density planting (3788 plants / ha). 

Again the 2019 conditions have bequeathed real intensity and structure due to the small berries and thick skins (100% clone 777). Matt says, "this Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir is a classic representation of Pinot Noir from the Omaka. It has real density and power. In my mind the Omaka is the most tannic subregion in Marlborough, the wine just swallows the 50% whole bunch. It is incredibly structured and is built to age." 

Cameron Douglas MS writes of the 2019 Blank Canvas Settlement Vineyard Pinot Noir: 

"A powerful and distinctive bouquet with a core complexity built around ripe red berry fruit, a natural savoury dried herb complexity, a gentle sweetness of oak and baking spice scents to match, there’s density and richness alongside power and finesse. A powerful youthful energy as the wine touches the palate transitioning smoothly through berry flavours, the savoury seam and textures from tannins and acidity. Delicious, youthful and full of pinosity. A lovely expression, complex and lengthy. Best drinking from 2022 through 2030+." 96 Points - Outstanding 

A limited allocation of both wines will be available on our website on Monday 1st November, while our distribution partners internationally have these wines on the water or are shortly to be on their way. 

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