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Extremely Well Made – 91 Points! But I Don't Like It!

wine-scores

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”

“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…

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Extremely Well Made – 91 Points! But I Don’t Like It!

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6 Responses

  1. Francesco says:

    Hey Joe, I just posted my thoughts on this subject in a wine forum, and I feel that we agree on the same principals. Here it is:

    I think that more objectivity should be put pack into wine tasting and criticism. Lets compare apples and oranges. You have a perfectly round, juicy and sumptuous orange and beside it a shimmering mouthwatering red apple. Which one is better? Its a hard question to answer but now consider this. The apple has some green spots and is bruised in some places. When you bite into it, it is soft and pulpy and lacks crispness. Now which is better? Clearly the orange is because it lacks qualitative faults. If the situation was reversed and the orange was dull, dry and shriveled the apple would be better. Both fruits have certain characteristics that ascertain their quality: their color and physical presence, the texture and feeling in your mouth, acid/sugar balance etc. The same can be said for wine. It is possible to rate wine from an objective standpoint, but only when the qualitative factors are being compared, not the elements that make them different. Of course you may choose the blemished and pulpy apple over the worlds greatest orange, but you should realize objectively that the orange is of better quality.
    “Quality is something perceived more than defined.” – Pisani
    Theres my 2 cents.

  2. JB says:

    Great post, great point. Lots of well-made wines I don’t like, lots of weirdly-made wines (e.g., from the Jura) I love, and no very good way to “compare” them. Opus One is really well made; I happen to find it utterly pedestrian and hugely boring. A number of obscure Vin Jaune are probably “poorly made” to a lot of people, but truly fascinating wines given the chance. Screw scores- read the notes, and trsut your palate…

    • vinosseur says:

      JB,

      Thanks for your positive comment! It’s great that I was able to get my point across!
      I love the Jura by the way and Vin Jaune is extremely interesting. I remember the first time tasting that wine, it happened to be the 1997 Vin Jaune “111” from Tissot and immediately added it to my wine list. Fantastic!

      -salute

  3. FH says:

    Dear Vinosseur, I really liked this piece. The amount of information about a wine and different peoples opinions is daunting. However, what you are edging towards is a better system of wine characterization. It will definitley cause opinion leaders headaches since it will take away their superiority or aloofness. Although imperative and useful, a standardized system will only be as good as those who use it and poor vines will always be pushed until they find a system or judge. Your solution has the chance to be universal, since it will provide an objectivity to an otherwise subjective tasting. distincti saluti.

  4. vinosseur says:

    Thanks for the kind words Frank!

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About
Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com