Matt Thompsons’ full Blank Canvas now in UK

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Drinks: Wines
Location: New Zealand

One of New Zealand’s best-known and most-respected winemakers, Matt Thompson, has finally made his full portfolio available to the UK, via Liberty.

Blank Canvas – described by Thompson as ’16 years in the making’ is a joint project with his wife, Sophie Parker-Thompson, who shares winemaking duties.

Though the couple have imported several of their wines before, this week’s Liberty Tasting saw the full range on show, comprising two Pinot Noirs, two Sauvignon Blancs, a Chardonnay, A Grüner Veltliner and a Syrah. With the exception of the latter, which is from Hawkes Bay, all the wines are from Marlborough.

After several decades working for other wineries in New Zealand – most notably St Claire, where he spent over 20 years – Thompson is relishing the freedom, working a lot with 500-litre puncheons and lees-work to build texture.

‘When you work for someone else, you have to respect their vision,’ he told Imbibe. ‘But this is experimental. We’re not following the traditional ways of doing it.’

Highlights for Imbibe included the barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, the Syrah – 60% whole bunch, and mixed with Grüner Veltliner skins – and the Chardonnay, Thompson’s own favourite wine.

‘We just picked it, chucked it in a barrel and left it,’ he said. ‘We didn’t really do anything.’

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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