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 came from a single vineyard in the Rapaura subregion belonging to grower and long-term friend Malcolm Adams. Berekah Estate has two hectares of Gruner Veltliner planted with a mixture of the two clones in New Zealand. It was at Matt’s suggestion that Malcolm took the plunge to plant the newfangled variety and with now four vintages under its belt it is performing very well on the free-draining, young alluvial soils. The vines are VSP trained and cane-pruned.
The 2013 vintage heralded unusually warm days but characteristic cold nights. The autumn was dry and the vintage was compact with varieties attaining ideal ripeness levels all near the same time. As a result of the warm vintage, Gruner Veltliner was ready slightly earlier than typical, achieving excellent ripe fruit flavours.
The grapes were harvested by hand during the cool early morning near the end of the Marlborough harvest. Quick transport to the winery saw the grapes being de-stemmed, crushed and pressed in a gentle pneumatic press to avoid skin-contact and the extraction of harsh phenolics. A press cut was also made. Free run juice went primarily to stainless steel tank to ferment cool, and a 25% portion was split equally into new and used French oak puncheons (600L) where it matured for eight months. The batches were kept separate until January when the blend was assembled, and the finished wine was bottled in March.
A wine of wonderful and pure aromatics, this Grüner Veltliner shows classic notes of mandarin and ripe peach with an underlying trace of white pepper. The oak featuring in this wine is only obvious if you are told about it – it is there to provide richness and weight to the mid-palate, which is why the producer chose large French oak puncheons to do the job. The result is a wellstructured, luscious rendition of an Austrian classic.
100% Grüner Veltliner