Blank Canvas

Marlborough, marlborough New Zealand

Matt Thomson 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. "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. With partner Sophie Parker-Thomson, the aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but they feel in order to break the rules, 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. The Sauvignon Blanc comes from a single vineyard in the Dillons Point sub-region, very close to the sea. The wine shows a combination of focus and exuberance with blackcurrant, guava and passionfruit alongside salinity and lemongrass. The ‘Abstract’ Sauvignon Blanc is a departure from the classic Marlborough style – fermented by 100% wild yeast in seasoned French oak puncheons. It is a savoury and complex wine showing the classic pillars of Dillons Point in its intense blackcurrant notes and salty minerality. Both Sauvignon Blanc wines are Appellation Marlborough Wine certified.

The Chardonnay comes from the Reed vineyard in the Waihopai Valley, with low-vigour clay soils. It is fermented in 500 litre French oak puncheons, 50% new, with no lees stirring, giving it a textured and savoury nature and a subtle vanillin and toast character. Matt and Sophie are firm believers 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-Rôtie, Matt used a higher percentage of whole bunch (60%) to enhance the spiced fruit character of the Syrah. In 2018, Matt and Sophie could not refuse the opportunity to take a small parcel of perfectly botrytised Riesling when offered from the Couper vineyard in the central Wairau Valley. From here, the Meta Riesling was created. At 168 g/l residual sugar, it is nectar sweet but is balanced by enlivening acidity.


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