My Wine Rating System

For my wine reviews, I will be talking about my observations on the characteristics of the wine including things such as color, clarity, aroma, taste, and aftertaste. Also I will be rating each wine, but my rating process is a bit different than many you will see from sources like Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, etc.

Most wine scoring is done with blind tasting on a 100 point scale. Blind tasting means that the person doing the tasting does not know anything about the wine, not the winery, grape variety, or the price - basically drinking from a bottle placed inside the proverbial brown paper bag. The benefit of the blind tasting method is that the point score is awarded without bias toward a certain winery, or the bias that a more expensive wine should be a better wine. However in the wine world, the “90+” score has become a highly coveted marketing tool that is proudly displayed on bottles in many wine stores.  Once the wine scores drops into the 80s, even an “89”, and the perception is that this just isn’t as good as something in the 90s. What about a wine in the 70s? An 80 may not be too bad, but if a wine gets a score of 79 the the perception is, quoting Stewie from Family Guy when he was on an episode of Bones “He makes wine that homeless people wouldn’t COOK with!”

The truth is that not every wine we drink needs to be a “90+”, and a nice everyday $10 bottle of Spanish Rioja shouldn’t go head to head with a $100 bottle of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Those two wines aren’t trying to be the same thing - one is going for value, and the other for high quality with the price to match.  My answer is to forgo the 100 point process, and rate wines in a two step process.

Step 1: Categorize. How do I categorize the wine? These categories may evolve, but basically I’ll identify the wine I review as one of the following:
  • Every Day Wine. Wines that cost less than $20 retail that should be drinkable now, and enjoyable with or without food. Most of my reviews will fall into this category as it is my ongoing quest to search out fantastic wines in the $10 to $19 retail price range.
  • Weekend Wine. Wines that cost in the $20 - $50 retail range that are suited for a weekend dinner, perhaps for a dinner party or just to go with some nice steaks or a beautiful piece of fish.  
  • Splurge Wine.  Wines that cost more than $50 retail and are for those special celebrations of a new job, a promotion, a birthday, or just making it through a tough week. I hope to review a lot of this type of wine, but we’ll just see what the budget will allow!
  • Super Ultimate OMG Wine. I’ll throw this category in here just in case I get the chance to share a review of any epic, once in a lifetime wines. These wines would likely cost $150+ retail.
Step 2: Review.  Based on the category, I’ll then assign something we should all be familiar with - a grade consisting of A, B, C, D, or F (will include pluses and minuses as well).
  • A = Excellent. A great example of the category of wine, highly recommended. A great wine for the price.
  • B = Very Good. A wine that is definitely worth drinking and is a very good wine for the price.
  • C = Good. The wine that is drinkable, and does not have any specific defects, just not what you should be able to get for your money in this category.
  • D and F = Fail. The wine has serious flaws, not worth the price. A “D” is a wine to avoid, while an “F” will be an epic fail. 
Hopefully Not Many of These!
I hope this will be more helpful and useful than the 100 point scoring method, or maybe I just need to be different. In either case I'll look to your feedback to help me refine the information I provide on the wine reviews.