More importantly, tasting notes say as much about the taster as it does about the wine. My likes and dislikes remain fairly consistent. I look for specific qualities in wines. High scoring wines have them, lower scoring wines have less of them. When reading tasting notes, it’s important to see a body of work to get an idea on what the taster likes or not. I hope with all the notes I’ve posted, you get an idea that I value complexity, character, texture, balance, length and most importantly, to get a high score, excitement that makes me want to taste more of the wine.
There are wine lovers that feel wines should not be rated, or compared. Wine is a unique beverage and it’s wrong to attach a number to a work of art. I’ve received Emails asking if I would score great paintings or music. Why not? There is no one I know that can listen to a CD and not like one song over another. The same can easily be said for the world’s best paintings.
Sticking with the music example, as an example, I still find the Beatles to be the best rock group that ever lived. But some songs are much better than others. To that degree, perhaps “Sgt Pepper” is the pinnacle and deserves 100 Pts, while “What goes on” bores me and is at best an average cut and might earn 80 Pts. The same thing takes place for movies and every other consumer product. That is why some movies are more popular than others, they are better.
Wine is a commercial, consumer product. It’s obviously a passion. But at the end of the day, it’s a beverage that needs to be tasted to be enjoyed. Some wines are better than others. Some wines offer better value than others. That is why ratings from trusted writers are important.
A high score only denotes the level of quality the reviewer found in the wine. It does not mean you or others need to agree. But the score clearly and unambiguously lets you know exactly where the reviewer stands on the level of quality found in the wine. If enough people agree with the reviewer, well, that critic might have a job. If a large number of people do not agree, I suggest the writer keep his day job.
96-100 Pts – Wines at this level are amongst the finest wines possible in the peer group. They have everything a wine lover could ask for in a wine. And sometimes, more! They should display the best attributes wines offer in abundance. 100 Pt wines are not perfect. That is not the point. Wines scoring 99-100 Pts should be so good, they offer an unparalleled tasting experience from start to finish, in the fragrance, mouth feel and finish. They should also offer unique characteristics that are seldom found in any other wine.
90 – 95 Pts - This is an outstanding score that can provide a compelling tasting experience. These are usually the best wines to buy as they combine high quality, without the enormous premium associated with wines being awarded higher scores.
85 – 89 Pts – This denotes an above average score that is for very good wines. But for one reason or another, they fall short of earning the equivalent of an A score. Most well made wines that are good, without faults but lack the extra special qualities found in the best wines score between 85 and 90 Pts. Savvy buyers can find numerous wines offering great value in this range of scores.
80 – 84 Pts – Wines earning these scores can provide good drinking for fair prices. But they will have some moderate to noticeable flaws. For example, the wine could be an older vintage that has started to fade, the finish could be short, no mid palate or a lack of concentration and or complexity.
70 – 79 Pts – This denotes a below average wine. Wines in this range of scores range from a light, simple wines without character at the top end of the ratings scale, to a poor wine with discernable flaws at the bottom end of the range.
50 – 69 Pts Wines at this level are seriously flawed and should be avoided. It’s important to remember that wines earn 50 Pts simply by being wet.