Upon our New Zealand launch, Master of Wine Bob Campbell previews Blank Canvas with the following thoughts:
‘Hot new wine label – Blank Canvas’
Well known flying winemaker, Matt Thomson and his partner Sophie (pictured) (see my earlier blog “A flying winemaker speaks”) have just released their own label with four wines that I think are particularly good.
Matt is a consultant winemaker to several producers, mainly in New Zealand and Italy, and has spent a considerable amount of time making wine in both hemispheres – I calculate that he has done 42 vintages in 21 years. That experience, together with his degree in biochemistry, has given Matt a clear vision as to what constitutes good wine and how to make it.
Blank Canvas allows Matt to take a few risks and make wines that he and Sophie like to drink. For example, his Syrah had a moderately high pH that technically reduces its stability and yet Matt chose not to filter it, something he wouldn’t do with a client’s wines. He added,
“I picked my Riesling grapes early to make a German Kabinett style which is hardly mainstream but I love Mosel Riesling and saw an opportunity to produce a Kiwi version.”
The Blank Canvas 2013 Riesling (tasting) has an alcohol of only 9% and yet shows surprising palate weight.
I marginally preferred Blank Canvas 2013 Gruner Veltliner (tasting) from the Rapaura area of Marlborough. Matt fermented 25% in new and old puncheons with eight month’s maturation, although the oak influence is negligible with pepper, tree fruit and citrus blossom characters to the fore.
My favourite wine is Blank Canvas 2014 Pinot Noir from Marlborough (tasting). Half of the wine was fermented with whole bunches to add structure and complexity. It’s a perfumed wine with a structure that’s straight out of Burgundy. A backbone of sweet tannins promises to allow the wine to age well, although it is surprisingly approachable now.
Finally, the Blank Canvas 2014 Syrah (tasting), Hawke’s Bay is a world first according to Matt. He co-fermented the Syrah with Grüner Veltliner skins instead of the traditional Viognier. Whole-bunches made up 60% of the ferment. The wine has a distinct and appealing character of its own. It’s a complex Syrah with serious potential.