Blank Canvas Gruner Veltliner 2013

TASTING NOTE   A wine of wonderful, pure aromatics this Gruner exemplifies classic notes of mandarin and ripe peach with an underlying trace of white pepper. The oak featuring in the 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 we chose large French oak puncheons to do the job. A model vintage in Marlborough provided warm sunny days and cool nights which enabled all-important retention of acidity and ripeness of fruit. The result is a well-structured, luscious rendition of an Austrian classic.

VINTAGE   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.

VITICULTURE  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 available in New Zealand. It was at Matt’s suggestion that Malcolm took the plunge to plant the new-fangled 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.

WINEMAKING   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 8 months. We have six of these puncheons and we love the subtle oak character and weight it gives the wine. The batches were kept separate until January when the blend was assembled, and the finished wine was bottled in March.

FOOD MATCH   With its citrus and hints of white pepper, this wine is a beautiful dish with Ceviche (Marinated Fish Salad), any grilled white fish or chicken infused with orange or paired with an orange and almond salad.


Alcohol 13.0% pH 3.23
Residual Sugar 3.3 g/L Acidity 5.9 g/L



5 STARS ***** “Bright, light golden-hued straw-yellow colour with some depth, lighter on the rim.  The bouquet is rich and concentrated with packed and layered aromatics showing exotic stonefruits with fresh herbs, nutty notes and some smoky oak.  This exhibits secondary complexity and plenty of detail.  Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has a fulsome presence, with concentrated layers of savoury stonefruits, dark herbs, toast and nutty oak flavours.  The flavours form a solid and rounded core with very fine textures and a fine line, with the acidity providing cut and drive.  The wine carries positively to a long, lingering finish.  This is a mature Gruner Veltliner with a fulsome and solidly packed palate with an array of stonefruit, herb and nutty, toasty flavours with fine textures and acidity.  Match with herb-marinated poultry and pork over the next 2+ years.  Hand-picked fruit from the Adams’ ‘Berekah Estate’ vineyard, Rapaura, fermented in stainless-steel with 25% split equally into new and seasoned French oak puncheons for fermentation to 13.3% alc. and 3.3 g/L RS, the barrel portions aged for 8 months in oak.  18.5+/20.” Raymond Chan Wine Reviews – 15/11/18

5 STARS ***** “Drinking well right now, the 2013 vintage (5*) was mostly handled in tanks, but 25 per cent of the blend was fermented in oak puncheons (half new). Bright, light lemon/green, it has a fragrant, spicy, vaguely toasty bouquet. Mouthfilling and crisp, it’s a lively, dry style (3.3 grams/litre residual sugar), with impressive flavour intensity and a lasting finish.” Michael Cooper, Buyer’s Guide 2019

17 Points – ‘New Zealand Assemblage –’ “Now this really does have Grüner Veltliner written all over it even though the vines are still pretty young (this is the fourth harvest). It is certainly peppery but it also has the oily (in a good way) depth that I have only ever seen in the Wachau. There’s some citrus and green fruit too but also a mineral, dry texture. I do just slightly feel the residual sugar on the finish and would prefer it bone dry, even it that made it slightly more severe. But it is well balanced and remarkably full bodied given the moderate alcohol. Still incredibly fresh but starting to show the complexity of some bottle age. I look forward to tasting it again. Julia Harding MW,

94 Points – “Silken-textured wine with orange zest and white pepper flavours plus some tree fruit and nectarine flavours. Subtle, pleasing wine.” 4.5 stars. Bob Campbell MW, Real Reviews. stars-4.5

91 Points – “After more than 40 vintages as a flying winemaker, this is Matt Thomson’s first venture. While this GV is partly aged in new and used oak, you can hardly notice it, and the classic white pepper notes are well defined with the addition of citrus and peach. Zesty, elegant and light.” Christelle Guibert, Decanter Magazine