Blank Canvas is the wine brand of wine-making 'guru' Matt Thomson – the name behind many of Marlborough's top labels as well as as a 'flying winemaker' in Europe for Liberty Wines – and his wife Sophie Parker-Thomson. The 2017 is a new release to what have been outstanding previous releases, which Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, wrote "This has to be the best Marlborough Pinot I have tasted."
Winery notes (2017 Vintage)
"Our Upton Downs Pinot Noir is a juxtaposition of perfume and structure. The elevated single vineyard on the terraces above the Awatere River gives elegance and delicacy of fruit while the 40% whole bunch fermentation and manual punch-downs delivers an impressive tannin framework and excellent length on the palate. Bright raspberry, red cherry and currant unite with graphite, forest floor and subtle smoked bacon. This is a wine that will get more intriguing and complex with cellaring, assisted by its whole bunch fermentation characters and low-toast savoury oak regime. It has years of evolution ahead of it."
5 Stars & 95/100 Bob Campbell MW, The Real Review, August 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"This wine is a 100% clone 777, 40% whole-cluster, unfiltered wine from the Upper Awatere valley. Delicately perfumed pinot noir with floral, rose petal, violet, cherry and subtle savoury and crushed herb characters. An appealing and distinctive wine that successfully balances fruit sweetness against a sinewy texture. Approachable now but should age very well. Drink 2019 – 2026."
95/100 Cameron Douglas MS, October 2019 (2017 Vintage)
"A bouquet of complexity, charm and curiosity. Aromas suggest a mix of light red fruits from pitted cherries of all colours to apple skin and ripe summer strawberries. The oak signature is clear with delicate baking spices. A savoury line runs through the fruit seamlessly. The palate reveal some familiar pinosity with light red fruit flavours and chalky tannins, plenty of acidity with contrasting oak and fruit sweetness. Well made, still youthful with best drinking from today with food or from late 2021 through 2026."
Reviews for previous vintages below…
4 ½ Stars Michael Cooper (2016 Vintage)
"The 2016 vintage is a single-vineyard, Awatere Valley red, hand-picked and matured in French oak barriques (30 per cent new). Ruby-hued, it is highly fragrant, savoury and sweet-fruited, with mouthfilling body, cherryish, plummy, spicy flavours and good texture. A complex style, it's a drink-now or cellaring proposition."
18/20 Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, May 2019 (2016 Vintage)
"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."