Blank Canvas ‘Abstract’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016

TASTING NOTE While the classic expression of this famous wine style is about fruit purity and crispness, this wine represents an alternative interpretation. ‘Abstract’ is a departure from the norm. This wine is all about texture and layers of aromatic complexity derived from both fruit and winemaking. The Holdaway family vineyard in Dillons Point provides the pillar of blackcurrant, passionfruit and its signature salty minerality, while the 100% wild yeast fermentation in seasoned French oak puncheons offers savoury attraction and complexity on the palate.

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 time. Acidity was retained in Dillons Point more than other sub-regions due to the proximity to the sea. In general, coastal areas performed well in 2016.

VITICULTURE  The fruit came from a single vineyard in the Dillons Point sub-region located on the coastal fringe of the Wairau Valley. This vineyard belongs to the Holdaway family who have been farming in Marlborough for generations – currently run by Alan and his son Richard. They practice sustainable viticulture with such things as their own compost and mulching preparations to maintain organic matter in the soil. The soils are fertile and deep but well-drained, with plenty of mineral nutrients which is perfect for nutrient hungry Sauvignon. The vineyard is VSP-trained and cane-pruned.

WINEMAKING  The grapes were hand-harvested and transported with haste to the winery. There, they were whole-bunch pressed with the free run juice only going to three to five-year-old French oak puncheons (500 litres). The wine was allowed to ferment naturally with wild yeasts and on full solids. The wine was left to mature in these seasoned oak puncheons for a period of 11 months, and then two more months in tank on lees before being bottled unfiltered and without any fining on 22nd June 2017.


Alcohol 13.0% pH 3.17
Residual Sugar Nil Acidity 6.1 g/L



GOLD MEDAL, Six Nations Wine Challenge 2018

5 stars “The 2016 vintage is a subtle, single-vineyard wine, ‘all about texture and layers of aromatic complexity’. It was grown at Dillons Point, in the lower Wairau Valley. Hand-picked, it was fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured for nine months in seasoned French oak puncheons, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Bright, light lemon/green, it is weighty and fleshy, in a ripely herbaceous style with excellent delicacy and complexity, building to a finely textured, powerful, dry finish. Drink now to 2019.” Michael Cooper’s Buyers Guide 2019 – November 2018

95 Points “Concentrated barrel-fermented sauvignon blanc with ripe passionfruit, guava and red capsicum flavours plus a subtle salty, mineral influence and a suggestion of root ginger and toasted nut character. A complex, stylish wine that’s more vinous than fruity” 95 Points, Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review – 27/10/17

18 Points “Bright straw-yellow colour with some depth, paler edged.  The bouquet is elegant in proportion with finely concentrated aromas of green stonefruits, gooseberries, green capsicums, herbs and nettles, the aromatics with cool-spectrum notes, entwined with fine, underlying nutty oak.  Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has bold and up-front flavours of green stonefruits and gooseberries, along with green capsicums, nettles and cut-grass notes, layered with soft nutty notes.  The flavours form a strong heart, and the mouthfeel is fresh with fine textures and good linearity carrying the wine to a light, lingering finish.  This is a bold ad up-front oak-influenced Sauvignon Blanc with stonefruit, cut-grass, nettle and herb flavours with nutty oak.  Match with Mediterranean fare over the next 3 years.  Hand-picked fruit from the ‘Holdaway’ vineyard, Dillons Point, WBP and indigenous yeast fermented in seasoned French oak 500 L puncheons with full solids to 13.0% alc., the wine aged 11 months in barrel then given a further 2 months in tank. 18.0/20” Raymond Chan Wine Reviews, 15/11/18