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.’