Aug 29, 2009
The wine world is littered with scores:
Bressan Schioppettino 2006 – 91 points… “Wines For You Magazine”
Dr. Bürklin-Wolf Wachenheimer Riesling 2008 – ★★★★★… ” Wines For Me Magazine”
91 Points here, 5 Stars there.
But what exactly do all these numbers and stars really mean to you and me? Is the critic confusing the quality of the wine with his or her own personal taste? Is that wine receiving 91 points because the person judging it loves the wine or for some other reason? Or because the wine is truly well made independent from personal opinion? To me it means absolutely nothing and in fact I usually ignore the score and try to stick to the facts at hands by observing the tasting notes to gather the information that I feel is more valuable.
Often one man’s 91 point wine is another man’s 75 point wine. One man’s 2 Stars is another’s 5 Stars. In my opinion these scores aren’t objective and unless you know the particular critic’s taste and scoring history, the points mean very little. I feel that very often a wine is scored 91 points because the critic who is tasting it loves the wine and this can be confusing. I feel that too many critics confuse judging a wine’s quality with their own personal taste. These should be two different components of wine tasting and the subsequent scoring. A wine shouldn’t receive 91 points just because they like the wine.
When I taste, analyze and judge a wine, I don’t like to give scores. I taste the wine, get to know it then usually state weather or not I feel that the wine is well made. I stick to the facts and write about what I am tasting and experiencing. Then I go on and state weather or not I personally like the wine. The first part of my analysis is based on my tasting experience and I try to be as objective as I can possibly be. When I state weather I like the wine or not, it’s totally personal and not everyone will agree with me. This being said, it’s true that I often write about wines that I love and that’s because they inspire me to do so. But, I still keep the scores away.
But, if I had to come up with some sort of a “scoring” system, I suppose then that my system might look something like:
“Not well made”
“Very well made”
“Extremely well made”
A wine can be “extremely well made” but I don’t have to like it. I taste wines every day that are well made and have what I consider to be good structure and balance, but perhaps there’s too much oak influence for my palate. People would eventually learn my personal taste and make decisions based on this. I try to be as specific as possible with my tasting notes so that anyone reading my notes should get the sense that they are actually tasting the wine themselves.
These “objective” scoring systems are not only happening in the wine world. We see examples of this when it comes to movies, music and of course restaurants. I wish more people would give detailed, objective facts and let us decide how good it really is…