2016 Blank Canvas, Upton Downs Marlborough Pinot Noir

2016 Blank Canvas, Upton Downs Marlborough Pinot Noir

2016 Blank Canvas, Upton Downs Pinot Noir

From a vineyard on an elevated (400 m) river terrace in the Upper Awatere Valley – clay and silt with some gravel. Clone 777. 40% whole bunch. 25% new oak – most of the wine in new barrels was lost to the earthquake. Bottled unfiltered June 2017.

Availability: In stock

Case size: 12 / Bottle size: 750ml



(10 in stock)

Tasting Notes

Critics Score: 18

Publication: Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com

Drinking Dates: 2019-2026

Lightish mid ruby, not star bright because unfiltered. Pretty, aromatic red fruits with the freshness of stem influence but without being overtly stemmy – the freshness and structure of stems but no greenness. Already quite complex on the nose, with hints of floral and citrus as well as the red fruits. There's intensity without unwanted concentration, the fruit is sweet but not overly so and the tannins already silky. Freshness to the long finish.

Product Description


2016 Blank Canvas, Upton Downs Marlborough Pinot Noir

Matt Thomson has worked over forty vintages in numerous wine regions around the world, and has worked with David Gleave since 1994. He is involved with many of the wines in our portfolio, primarily as a consultant. "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. With partner Sophie Parker-Thomson, the aim is to break some rules with the Blank Canvas wines, but they feel in order to break the rules, you need to know them. This is what sets the Blank Canvas wines apart.

This Pinot Noir is sourced from a single vineyard located in the Awatere Valley on Upton Downs Road. The mixture of old clay soils interspersed with loamy gravel on the terraces above the Awatere River assist with ensuring naturally low vigour. Fruit thinning just prior to veraison ensured a low yield as well as small concentrated berries. The small parcel is 100% Clone 777, a Burgundian clone known for its perfumed aroma profile.

The hand-picked bunches were cold-soaked for five days before undergoing spontaneous fermentation by natural yeasts. The wine was hand-plunged during its ferment which included 40% whole clusters. The wine was pressed to French oak barriques, all low toast level (35% new). Then Mother Nature played a role in the winemaking when a large earthquake hit the region in November taking a third of the maturing Pinot Noir and oak barrels with it. Thus, the resulting wine has 25% new oak, and only 455 cases were produced. The wine was bottled without filtration on 22nd June 2017.

Good flowering during spring heralded an excellent start for the 2016 vintage in Marlborough with potential for big bunch weights. It was a classic ripening period with favourable warm sunny days and maritime breezes assisting pollination. Because of the successful flowering fruit was substantially thinned to ensure balanced low yields were in place for veraison. It was a dry and relatively smooth sailing harvest with maturation occurring in an even, normal time-frame. The Upton Downs Pinot Noir was harvested on the 5th April 2016.