How Wines Get their Scores
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Wine ratings in the simplest interpretation are markers of how well the rated wine was liked by the taster. They are very often subject to individual preferences and tastes. One, learning wine might choose to agree with (or not) the writer. However, it is advisable to find one of sound understanding and experience.
Robert Parker is a famed wine critic who, in the face of objection and controversy, created a 100 point system of wines he found outstanding. His magazine ‘The Wine Advocate’ purports to be an independent assessment of these wines free of bias.
At the time of its making, many wine critics had vested interests in the wines and their performance on the market. This is not to say he is the sole authority on wine and their ranking. There are many excellent Sommeliers who give well-informed reviews on the wines; Jancis Robinson, Karen McNeil and James Suckling come to mind.
Away from these individual views, reputable wine magazines often gather panels of Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine to blind taste these wines and score them. During these tastings, the wines are often judged blind (with the bottles covered) to ensure transparency.
Collective points from these tastings will result in an average ranking for that wine.
Note; while ranking wines, they are categorical in style, grape and price points. There could be a 90 point wine in the Cabernet Sauvignon selection, one in the sparkling wines section and another for its good market value for its quality.
To highlight a broad example, here is the Wine Enthusiasts Magazine’s ranking explained.
Wine Ratings Overview
Their reviewers rank wines on the following scale, with emphasis placed on the balance, length, complexity, and intensity of the wine.
- Classic 98-100: The pinnacle of quality.
- Superb 94-97: A extraordinary achievement.
- Excellent 90-93: Heartily recommended.
- Very Good 87-89: Often good value; well recommended.
- Good 83-86: Suitable for ordinary consumption; often good value.
- Acceptable 80-82: Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances.
Wines receiving a rating below 80 are unreviewed. Perhaps because they have some fault or crave particular attention from the winemaker. Price is not a factor for this magazine except for it’s Best Buy’ and ‘Editors’ Choice’ ranks.