Monday, December 3, 2012

2012 Icon Wine of the Year

For the first time, we've elevated a white wine to be our Icon Wine of the Year as presented to the "best" wine released in the calendar year of 2012 that combines the following virtues: price, quality, pedigree, collectability, longevity and availability to the wine consuming public in Canada. The winner for 2012 is:

Painted Rock Estate Winery 2011 Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay
$30 - 500 cases - 14.3%
93pts - Icon Score

Congratulations to our runner-ups for this year's Icon Wine of the Year award: both from BC, the elegant Tinhorn Creek 2009 Oldfield Series 2Bench Red and the superb JoieFarm 2011 Pinot Blanc. All three wines are available direct from the wineries for $30 and under proving that great wine does not always have to come with a lofty price tag.

The Wine
This beautiful, bar-setting Chardonnay effortlessly combines the inherent crispness and pure fruit expression of an un-oaked example with the elegant texture and rich body derived from 100% new French Oak. Intense and concentrated with lush, tropical, melon and stonefruit characters supported by a vibrant backbone of citrus acidity and a long, long, balanced finish of tangy, green apple, tangerine and brioche flavours.

Light caramel, vanilla spice and oak notes add complexity and depth to the sublime palate which avoids the perils of over-oaked, butter-bomb Chardonnay by limiting the secondary malolactic fermentation to only 20% of the barrels used in the final blend and by integrating the oak influence so completely, you barely know it's there.

The Story
This sublime balance was achieved with an elaborate harvesting plan which saw the single-vineyard fruit picked on three separate dates each targeting the particular characteristics of individual vines. The three lots remained apart through vinification and a further 5 months in barrel prior to blending allowing the winemaking team to compile the finished wine from the unique attributes of each component. A time-consuming effort but one that has paid dividends for Painted Rock who have implementing the technique in subsequent vintages and taking it even further by introducing a vine-by-vine coding system for pruning.

In 2011, Painted Rock was narrowly beaten out by Fairview Cellars for that year's top honors for their outstanding 2009 red blend. This year we couldn't overlook their contribution to BC wine by raising the bar on single-vineyard Chardonnay production in the province; creating a product delightfully complex and supremely balanced - a true icon wine.
 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2012

Also see:
2011 Icon Wine of the Year
2010 Icon Wine of the Year
2009 Icon Wine of the Year

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