Blank Canvas Pinot Noir 2014


TASTING NOTE This wine evokes emotive language. Aromas of bright raspberry, red cherry, and delicate violet intertwine with seductive savoury characters. It possesses the silky Pinot Noir texture that is so often strived for, and has a structure that is likened to the Old World with big but elegant tannins set amongst a balanced backbone of acidity. This wine is one that will get more intriguing and complex with cellaring, assisted by the whole bunch fermentation that took place.  It has years of evolution ahead of it.

VINTAGE The 2014 vintage in Marlborough was certainly a challenging one for some producers, with a tropical cyclone unusually hitting the region in the latter part of the harvest. Our Pinot Noir was hand harvested well before this rain event meaning the fruit enjoyed what had been a textbook Marlborough summer and early autumn with warm, sunny days and cool, dry evenings.

VITICULTURE This Pinot Noir is sourced from a single vineyard that I oversaw the planting of in 2001. It is situated in the old clay soils of the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough. The soil naturally gives low yields, but we also crop thinned during the ripening of the fruit. As a result the berries were small and concentrated with flavour. It is made exclusively from Clone 115, a Dijon clone which I love for the tannins and strong fruit.

WINEMAKING I think Pinot Noir is one of Marlborough’s most eminent varieties. My time spent in Burgundy has given me the best of both worlds: I learnt from the region with centuries of knowledge pertaining to this enigmatic, magical grape and have combined it with Marlborough’s innate ability to produce blockbuster, perfumed aromatics in an elegant but serious Pinot Noir framework.  The handpicked bunches were cold-soaked for 5 days before undergoing wild fermentation. Lots of hand-plunging took place and a large proportion of whole bunch fermentation (50%) made this a particularly challenging task! Coupled with a savoury low-toast oak regime of new and seasoned oak, and barrel maturation of 10 months, this Pinot Noir has finesse, elegance and power. The wine is bottled unfiltered.

FOOD MATCH This wine is versatile with food and will pair well with savoury lamb, venison and game dishes, as well as fish dishes such as grilled salmon or tuna. A quintessential match for a vegetarian option is grilled field mushrooms.

TECHNICAL ANALYSES

Alcohol 13.0% abv
pH 3.42
Titratable Acidity 5.5 g/l
Total SO2 50 mg/l


REVIEWS

“A very burgundian-style Pinot Noir with floral, cherry and sweet, sappy flavours. Remarkably approachable despite a solid backbone of tannins, which are ripe and soft. Elegant wine with power and intensity. Super-stylish wine that is distinctive and very appealing. I love it.” 96 Points / 5 stars. Bob Campbell MW, Real Reviewsstars-5.0 – February 2016

New Zealand assemblage – JancisRobinson.com “Mid crimson. Perfumed, highly aromatic red fruit brought into line with a touch of spice and a hint of that whole-bunch freshness – not in the least unripe but adding a savoury note. This is just gorgeous on the palate, sensual, deep and long but also fresh and vital. There’s finesse to the tannins but they are bold enough to shape the framework for the fruit. You can tell this is a wine made by someone steeped in the best of both burgundy and New Zealand. There’s sweetness to the fruit but sufficient savour and spice to make it a complete wine, with, as Jancis would say, a beginning, a middle and an end. And it has terrific length. This has to be the best Marlborough Pinot I have tasted.” 18.5 Points Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com – August 2016

Perfect Pinot – “Tightly focused tannin and power balanced with grace. Perfect Marlborough Pinot Noir” – Olly Smith, The Mail on Sunday (UK) – September 2016