Monday, August 3, 2015

Painted Rock's impressive 2014 Chardonnay

Photo: Painted Rock tasting room

At a recent London tasting of British Columbia wines, the eminent British wine writer Jancis Robinson awarded 17 points to the 2013 Painted Rock Chardonnay.

I am assuming she is scoring on a 20 point scale, in which case 17 points is a respectable score.

You could try converting it to the 100 point scale by multiplying by five. In my view, that is never a satisfactory conversion. A score of 85 is an unenthusiastic rating from critics using the 100 point scale.

The explanation is that the 100 point scale effectively is also a 20 point scale, with most scores clustered between 88 and 92. The only judges to award less than 80 points when using that scale tend to be judges from the ranks of amateur winemaking. Those judges usually have a broader range of quality to account for.

There are 75 point commercial wines, of course, but most critics simply ignore them. Commercial wineries are expected to do better than that, and usually do.

Having digressed on wine scoring, I wonder how many points Ms. Robinson would award to the 2014 Chardonnay from Painted Rock. It is a spectacular wine that could inspire a new catch phrase: Nothing but Chardonnay. The wine, bottled six weeks ago, is just being released in the winery’s Okanagan tasting room..

The winery puts considerable effort into making this wine.

“Our 2014 Chardonnay is a blend of three micro-harvests from our single estate Chardonnay block,” the winery explains on its website. “Over seven days we conducted these harvests to capture specific attributes in the fruit. Eighty per cent was aged 5 ½ months French oak, ½ new and ½ second fill barrels. The last harvest of 20% was aged in stainless steel and underwent malolactic fermentation. This process enabled us to embrace the beautiful bright acidity while building mouthfeel, complexity and aromatics with the final pick.”

Here is my note on the wine.

Painted Rock Chardonnay 2014 ($30.35). The wine has glorious aromas and flavours of tropical fruit, including peach, mango and passion fruit. The bright acidity accentuates the refreshing clarity of this fruit-focussed wine. The oak forms a subtle backdrop and supports the lush texture that emerges as the wine warms in the glass. The finish lingers and lingers. 93. 

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