RECENT FEATURES




Greystone 2018 Rosé and Thistle Ridge Pinot Noir 2017
The Elder Martinborough Rosé 2018
Brookfields 2018 Ohiti Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Bergman Chardonnay, and 2016 Hillside Syrah and Gold Label Cabernet Merlot
Charles Wiffen 2018 Pinot Rosé and 2016 Chardonnay
Alexander ‘Raumati’ Martinborough Pinot Noir Rosé 2018
Decibel 2018 Viognier, 2017 Malbec and 2018 Giunta Malbec Nouveau
Newman’s Own ‘Common Good’ 2016 California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon
Wild Earth Central Otago 2018 Pinot Rosé, and 2017 Pinot Gris and Riesling
Mt Beautiful North Canterbury Pinot Gris 2017
Mount Brown North Canterbury Pinot Noir Rosé 2018
Negociants N.Z. Global Reach in Wine Distribution
Ceres ‘Black Rabbit’ Riesling 2018 and ‘Composition’ Pinot Noir 2017
Wing and Prayer North Canterbury Riesling 2017
Two Rivers 2018 ‘Convergence’ Sauvignon Blanc, ‘Clos des Pierres’ Chardonnay 2017 and ‘Tributary’ Pinot Noir 2016
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Vino Lascito Rubicone Sangiovese 2016
Burn Cottage ‘Moonlight Race’ Pinot Noir 2016
Mud House 2018 Marlborough, ‘Grovetown’ and Waipara ‘Home Block’ Pinot Gris
Fox in the Hen House Australian Reds
Starborough Marlborough 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, and 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Gibbston Valley ‘China Terrace’ Chardonnay 2017 and 2016, and ‘GV’ Pinot Noir 2017
McManis California Chardonnay 2017
Yalumba with a Selection of Y-Series Whites and Reds, and ‘The Scribbler’ 2016
Clark Estate Marlborough 2018, 2017 and 2016 Releases
Mahi Marlborough 2016 Chardonnay and 2017 Pinot Noir
// View More Featured Reviews

How Wines are Reviewed




 Wines Reviewed ‘Open'

Wines are generally reviewed by Raymond Chan with their identity known or ‘open', rather than ‘blind', where the name of the wine is hidden. Often, the wines can be reviewed ‘single-blind', where the category of a group of wines tasted is known, but the identities of the wines within a group are not known.

It is generally accepted that there are both positive and negative aspects to tasting wines for review either ‘open' or ‘blind', and authoritative reviewers use both. Tasting wines with the identity known allows for the background of the wine, such as the production methods of viticulture and vinification, region and ‘terroir' to be taken into account. It also allows the personalities, philosophies, culture and aspirations behind the wine become part of the assessment process, allowing the reviewer to gauge the progress and success of the producer and the wine made in a holistic perspective that ‘blind' tasting does not allow. The ‘open' tasting approach can allow a more useful review and assessment to be made for the wine consumer. As part of the ‘open' tasting approach, information and views will be sought from the producer, in the form of tasting notes and technical data, as well as commentary by other tasters and critics, who may be involved in the tasting and assessment process. However, the review will be the written opinion and assessment of Raymond Chan in the final analysis.

Consumer Friendly Approach

As a wine show judge, a wine retailer and wine writer for over two decades, Raymond approaches wine from a consumers' point of view, looking for the positive features and attributes that provide enjoyment, rather than seeking out technical winemaking faults. Any technical wine faults or imbalances detected will be assessed in the context of a wine as a total expression. This consumer-friendly approach will be manifest in the style of the wine reviews, the descriptions and assessments meaningful for the wine drinker in a practical and easily understandable way for everyday life. They will be on "the bright side” of life!

Wine Ratings

Wines reviewed will be assessed and rated numerically as well as descriptively. The systems employed will be the Star rating system for a general overview and the 20 point scale for a more detailed judgement. Star rating, with a 5 Star maximum is generally the most easily understood and visual of methods conveying quality assessment. The 20 point scale has been the universal rating system in wine judging competitions, though this is changing. The reviews will use half-points and (+) or (-) to provide further differentiation. The 100 point system is very popular in the U.S. and provides even finer distinctions of quality assessment, but it is generally agreed that a 1% distinction in wine quality assessment is near impossible for most people to appreciate. The medal awards from wine judging competitions are extremely useful for consumers and very easy to understand. It is important to realise that all medal-awarded wines are of good to outstanding quality. A bronze medal denotes better than average or ordinary quality. The table below shows how the various rating systems can be compared. Raymond's ratings will be made with a positive and healthy outlook. Only wines with a , 15.5/20 or bronze medal rating and above will have reviews published.

Star Rating

20 Point Scale

100 Point Scale

Medal Award

Description
 
 
20.0 – 18.5
 
93 – 100
 
Gold
Perfect
to
Outstanding
 
 
18.4 – 17.0
 
85 – 92
 
Silver
Excellent
to
Very Good
 
 
16.9 – 15.5
 
78 – 84
 
Bronze
Good
to
Typical
 
 
15.4 – 14.0
 
70 – 77
 
Commercial
Acceptable
to
Ordinary
 
 
13.9 – 12.5
 
63 – 69
Dull
to
Drinkable
 
12.4 – 11.0
 
55 – 62
Unpleasant
to
Faulty
 
10.9 – 9.5
 
48 – 54
Undrinkable
to
D.N.P.I.M.*
* Do Not Put In Mouth

A Detailed Conversion Table for the 20-Point Scale to 100-Point Scale

With the growing use of the 100 point rating system for wines in wine judging competitions, critics ratings and published reviews, I have found it useful to provide a more detailed conversion chart which relates my usage of the 20-point scale to the 100-point scale.

I reiterate that I believe the 20-point scale is more easily understood by consumers, and remains the standard established scale in the wine industry in the U.K. and generally in Europe.  I still maintain that for the vast majority of consumers, and judges for that matter, a one-point differential in quality with the 100-point scale is practically indiscernible.  The 100-point scale has grown in popularity, primarily for commercial reasons, especially in the U.S. and New World markets and the perceptions of certain scores being unconsciously valued more than their actual rating.  The most obvious example is where 90 points is perceived to be in the ‘top level’, though in real terms it is a silver medal or 4-star equivalent. 

Following is my conversion table for ‘medal-level’ or 3-star level wines from my 20-point scale which utilises half (1/2) points as well as plusses (+) and minuses (-) as fine tuning tools, to specific score numbers on the 100-point scale.  I remind readers that I have a positive outlook on scores, and as the two scales do not match up exactly in whole numbers, I have been generous at the upper levels and the same 100-point score is given to two of my graded 20-point scores (eg: both 19.0 and 19.0- are converted to 95 points). This applies at the lower level, where a minus (-) score is 'given the benefit of the doubt'.   The associated Star-Ratings are also shown.  This conversion table is specific to Raymond Chan Wine Reviews. 

20 Point Scale

to

100 Point Scale

Stars

20.0

 

 

 

100

«««««

 

20.0-

 

100

 

«««««

 

19.5+

 

99

 

«««««

19.5

 

 

 

98

«««««

 

19.5-

 

97

 

«««««

 

19.0+

 

96

 

«««««

19.0

 

 

 

95

«««««

 

19.0-

 

95

 

«««««

 

18.5+

 

94

 

«««««

18.5

 

 

 

93

«««««

 

18.5-

 

92

 

«««««

 

18.0+

 

91

 

««««

18.0

 

 

 

90

««««

 

18.0-

 

90

 

««««

 

17.5+

 

89

 

««««

17.5

 

 

 

88

««««

 

17.5-

 

87

 

««««

 

17.0+

 

86

 

««««

17.0

 

 

 

85

««««

 

17.0-

 

85

 

««««

 

16.5+

 

84

 

«««

16.5

 

 

 

83

«««

 

16.5-

 

82

 

«««

 

16.0+

 

81

 

«««

16.0

 

 

 

80

«««

 

16.0-

 

80

 

«««

 

15.5+

 

79

 

«««

15.5

 

 

 

78

«««

 

15.5-

 

 

77

«««

 
 

The ‘Winery of the Year' Award

The ‘Winery of the Year' award is presented to the producer who has submitted the best selection of wines in the year to the end of November for ‘Feature Reviews'. (I exclude wineries that are distributed by ‘Wine2Trade', the company that Raymond Chan Wine Reviews operates under.) The award winner will be announced early December each year, and a commemorative engraved plaque sent to the nominated wine producer. Wines submitted in December will qualify for the award in the following year.

The criteria for the award are based on the qualities and significance of the wines in terms of excellence as seen in my descriptions and ratings, as well has how the wines have appealed to me on a subjective and hedonistic level as a wine enthusiast and consumer. In addition, the award takes into account innovation and style, and the progress the producer has made in making fine New Zealand wine, as well as the setting of standards for this country's industry. Taking these factors into account, I presume that readers who follow Raymond Chan Wine Reviews will find great enjoyment in the wines made by the ‘Winery of the Year' too.

Click on the year for the award winners: 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 
 
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