Blank Canvas Chardonnay 2016


TASTING NOTE Our inaugural Chardonnay is an incredibly textured, savoury wine. It summons a golden peach and grapefruit fruit profile, alongside complex flint and fresh bread notes that are attributed to the wild yeast fermentation it underwent in 500L French oak puncheons. Further complexity is bequeathed by the 40% proportion of new oak, imparting subtle vanillin and toast characters. Lifted crisp acidity allows the power and weight of this wine to shine through resulting in a tantalisingly long and balanced finish.

VINTAGE The 2016 vintage had the threat of severe drought hanging over it as El Nino conditions enveloped the start of the growing season through to January. Much needed rain events in mid-January and again in March however replenished the rivers and soil moisture. A higher than average number of growing degree days was experienced meaning the rainfall near the start of the harvest period did not impact the fruit adversely and kept the canopies healthy. Warm Autumn days and cool nights enabled long-hang times which resulted in concentrated, ripe fruit profiles.

VITICULTURE The vineyard is situated in the Omaka Valley on Brookby Road in Marlborough on low-vigour clay soils. It is cane pruned and VSP trained. We selectively hand-harvested a small parcel on 12th April 2016 of 100% Clone 95 Chardonnay, which we love for its elegance and aromatic complexity. The yield was very low which resulted in concentration of flavour and resulting length.

WINEMAKING In a break from tradition we decided not to lees stir our Chardonnay, but we couldn’t prevent it being seriously shaken by the 14 November earthquake that struck the region while it rested in the winery. There were vinous casualties but thankfully our Chardonnay survived – thus it is genuinely shaken not stirred. Whole bunch pressed, full solids taken, 100% wild fermentation in French oak puncheons (40% new), with 10 months’ maturation; it is very much minimalist winemaking. We were able to guide this wine to bottle without any fining or filtration.

FOOD MATCH We adore the quintessential match of chicken and mushroom casserole, smoked chicken and hazelnut salad, or good old fish and chips for this wine though its versatility means it will pair well with all meats including chicken, pork and fish, particularly with a savoury or toasted / roasted element.

TECHNICAL ANALYSES

Alcohol 13.5% abv
pH 3.28
Residual sugar Nil
Titratable acidity 5.49 g/l


REVIEWS 

“Intense, flavoursome chardonnay with citrus, peach, tree fruit, brioche and spicy oak flavours together with a suggestion of struck flint mineral character. Quite a rich, textural wine with a lengthy finish.” 95 Points / 5 Stars. Bob Campbell, MW 

“Gorgeous aroma of savoury, smoky reduction and ripe tangy citrus. Richly creamy on the palate and with less of the reductive character than on the nose. So creamy it tastes almost sweet but of course it is bone dry. Some oak spice but it is the fruit that shines on the palate. More mineral on the nose than on the palate. Firm, mealy and long. You couldn’t call it burgundian with this ripe, deep fruit but it is very classy and the oak is beautifull integrated. I’d wait another six months before drinking this though it gives masses of pleasure already.” 17.5/20 Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com

“A complex Chardonnay from the home of spritzy, tropical sauvignon blanc that delights with its unctuous, inviting nose. Its lovely, toasty character gives way to a crisp, lean and long finish.” Will Lyons, ‘Autumn Wines to Fall For’ – The Sunday Times Magazine 09/04/17.