Wine Scores: Love Them, Hate Them, Here to Stay?

 Life is too short not to make the best and most of everything that comes your way every day. - Sasha Azevedo

So you want to know the score, huh? Most folks wish to see a 'score,' especially when it comes to their favorite team, but we as vino-sapiens like to know the score on lots of things besides wine. We rate or score everything from cars to coffee, so should it be any surprise to find scores attached to wine. But for some, when it comes to scoring wine; some folks begin to get a little squeamish and will loudly voice their opinions about how 'unfair' it's. They say, "well one man's perfectly ripe green apple, is another man's tart and bitter experience." 

"While almost everyone in the wine industry decries the importance placed on numerical ratings from wine publications, the simple fact remains that those ratings sell more wine quickly than anything else."  ~ Wine Marketing and Sales 2nd edition, chap. 10

Of course, there's one thing we can all agree with; when it comes to 'scoring' something like wine, it's partially subjective and too many, it's imprecise at best. While I may find some agreement with that statement and with a few of the "points" haters positions, I don't find any of their arguments particularly compelling enough to not use the 100 point scale. But I have altered some of its meanings and changed a few of the definitions to make it a bit more fun. 

After all, we’re talking about a 'sensory' experiences, and not everyone has the same experiences that we do. Even Mrs. Cuvee and I can differ on some wines to my surprise because mostly we are aligned. But still, there are those outliers which defy my understanding and hers. But that said, let us take chocolate, for example, everyone [nearly] loves and appreciates it, some have no interest in it at all, but those folks are what we call the exception. You can't make a set of rules for the exceptions, you merely must discount their interpretation as an outlier of human experience.

So when you take the odd exceptions out of the wine scoring equation, you'll find that the points really start to make sense and that they become a good barometer of the good, the bad and the ugly. The scoring system in place [the 100 point scale], used by many of the significant publications; it's a system [yes, flawed] which works for everyday folks who don't taste hundreds of wines each and every year. The best advice about the whole point’s scheme [yes, it's a scheme oh-my] is to find someone [a reviewer] who closely matches their own preferences in wine, [yes, mentioned before] especially when in doubt about an individual producer or region of unfamiliarity. I follow a couple reviewers who are not well known in the glossy magazine genre, but whose advice on a region I adore, is as close to my own, thus making a 'buy' decision relatively easy. 

Here's another example; I was in Oregon, a few years back, for the Wine Bloggers Conference, I went to what I've dubbed as a "Blending Camp" at R. Stuart and Company. When it came time to choose a team for what would be the final blend of Pinot Noir, we decided on teammates that we knew had a similar palate to our own. Having done that, we came to a quick and ready blend [by comparison], which I thought was superior to the other tables. The name of our team's wine was “Reverence” a fantastic Oregon Pinot Noir.  

Now, if you have ever wondered how I come up the scores for the wines that I review, well then you are in luck. Because today, I'm going to spill the beans, as it were. Perhaps you may have been wondering what a specific score means. If you've ever had either of those questions, but somehow never made your way over to my "about the review process" page, I've decided to put it out there, front and center. That way, there's no question about what the points mean and what they will mean to you if you happen to be silly enough to follow my recommendations.

The score: Yes, I use the 100 point scale, if this makes you unhappy or you disagree with that method, well that’s unfortunate. Sorry to say, there will be no smiley faces, stars, cartoon wine glasses, or A, B, C grades, nope just cold hard numbers [ouch]. The score of wine will break down this way; I give every wine a base point score of 50 points, and then I add the following:

Color: Up to 5 points

Aroma: Up to 10 points

Flavor: Up to 10 points

Texture: Up to 10 points

Overall: Up to 10 points

Finally, I also use QPR [the quality, price, ratio] score of up to 5 points.

What the scores mean:

95-100 Epic: Will you marry me? Let's run off to Vegas together!

90-94 Wine-tastic Juice: Wanna meet my folks?

85-89 Very Good: Hey, can I call you tomorrow?

80-84 Okay: Oops, looks like I lost your number.

75-79 Marginal: Um what was your name again? [will not be reviewed]

50-74 Dreadful: Um, why was this bottled? Not even recommended for Vinegar. [will not be reviewed] After all, life is too short to review lousy wine.


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