Tuesday, March 5, 2013

More on the wine ratings game ....

During my high school and college years, I received my share of "A" and "C" grades.
How did I react to each?  A = Satisfaction. This is what I worked for and "deserved" to receive!
C = DEVASTATION! Woe is me - I'm no better than "average".
All the major critics use the 100 point scale to grade wine these days. Let's take the Wine Spectator scale and translate the score range into school grades (A through F):

  • 95-100: Classic: a great wine = A to A+
  • 90-94: Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style = B+ to A-
  • 85-89: Very good: a wine with special qualities = C+ to B+
  • 80-84: Good: a solid, well-made wine = C to C+
  • 75-79: Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws = D- to D+
  • 50-74: Not recommended = D- to F 
So, how many 80-84 point wines have you bought lately?  Huh??
These are "good, solid, well made wines".
Are you on the hunt for any 85-89 point wines? These are "very good: wines with special qualities".
Probably not.
I think I've made my point. Like our grades in school, standards for wine ratings are sometimes unrealistically high. Everyone wants the highest scoring wines at the best possible prices.
Retailers won't even post a score of 80-84 points, because they know it will be the death of the wine.
I've had many really good wines with scores of 87-89 points that are also excellent values. But, the sad thing is, I usually don't advertise the scores. I just promote the taste and value of the wines. And you know what? Many of these 87-89 pointers have developed quite a following.
Nothing is going to change any time soon. Certainly not because I wrote a little blog about this.
But, I think if we would all lighten up a little about wine scores, we would actually enjoy a greater variety of wines, and we would enjoy them NOW - without waiting for some "grade A" wine to evolve over the next 10-15 years.
Here's an article from the Wall Street Journal that gave me the inspiration for today's blog. It's interesting to read their "take" on the topic.



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