Marlborough Chardonnay


Blank Canvas

Matt Thomson is a busy winemaker. He has worked over forty vintages in...

numerous wine regions around the world, and has worked with David Gleave MW since 1994. He is involved with many of the wines in our portfolio, primarily as a consultant. “Now is the time to launch my own wines,” he says. “Blank Canvas represents my story as a winemaker. It is an endeavour that is entirely my own expression of winemaking, is from my own funding, and is exclusively my risk.” The ‘Blank Canvas’ is the vineyard and the variety, the winery the brush and palette (no pun intended) at the winemaker’s disposal, all the while defined by the scientific grounding Matt laid at university and has built upon over the past 23 years. His aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but in order to break the rules, he feels, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

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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, and is 100% Clone 95 Chardonnay, which was selected for its elegance and aromatic complexity.

Vintage Information

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 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. The yield was very low which resulted in concentration of flavour and resulting length.


Grapes were whole bunch pressed, full solids taken with 100% wild yeast fermentation in 500lt French oak puncheons (40% new), with 10 months’ maturation. The 2016 Chardonnay did not have any lees stirring, but some serious shaking couldn’t be prevented thanks to the 14th November earthquake that struck the region while it rested in the winery! There were vinous casualties but thankfully the Chardonnay survived – thus it is genuinely shaken not stirred. It was bottled without any fining or filtration.

Tasting Notes

An incredibly textured and savoury wine. It summons a golden peach and grapefruit fruit profile, alongside complex flint and fresh bread. Further complexity comes from the oak used in winemaking, 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 Information

Vintage 2016
Grape varieties 100% Chardonnay
Region Marlborough
Winemaker Matt Thomson
Alcohol (ABV) 13.5%
Acidity 5.49g/l
Wine pH 3.28