when the points don't work...more Chardonnay
Scoring wines with points shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's quite a useful shorthand for saying how much you like a wine - and in this sense, people who choose not to use points neatly avoid putting their necks on the line, because you can read a written description any number of ways.
But despite their utility, points fail in some circumstances. They convey no information about style and character - or about the sort of context where a particular wine might perform very well or badly.
Two Chardonnays that have recently passed my lips are good examples of wines where points aren't up to much. One is a big, fat Californian; the other, a remarkably intense Slovenian. Both could be enjoyed or hated, depending on the occasion and personal preference - information not contained in a score.
Simcic Chardonnay Rťserve 2003 Goriöka, Brda, Slovenia
3133 bottles produced in March 2006; this spends 7Ė8 days in contact with the skins. A deep yellow/gold colour it has a really interesting nose. Itís quite tight with some herbal fruit married with bakery smells and vanilla oak, but thereís also a savoury, slightly oily complexity here. The palate is dense, a little tannic even, with a heavy toasty oak imprint and sweet, bready, herby fruit. Itís a full-on Chardonnay of great intensity and concentration Ė no doubt a bit too full on for some. I like it, though. Very good/excellent 90/100 (H&H Bancroft) 01/07
Hess Select Chardonnay 2004 California
A fat, buttery Californian Chardonnay thatís rich and broad with thick tropical and figgy fruit. Thereís also some sweet vanillin butteriness. Itís a seductive, immediate sort of wine whose obvious charms tire a little quickly, but if you like fat Chardonnays youíll love this. Very good+ 85/100 (£8.49 Wine Society. Oxford Wine, D Byrne, Handford)