I take my ratings seriously and take a judicious view of my wine ratings and each bottle I review.
My ratings reflect a realistic view of wine. Not all wines are equal. If they were we would most likely have many fewer labels. There is a sense that wine “A” is better than wine “B” or vice versa. There is a need to distinguish between bottles of the same varietal or category.
A rating system is helpful to discover wines that are both well produced and have an outstanding vintage as well as a way to compare prices between wine of the same varietal, vintage and appellation. This can be a way to select the desired wine as well as to discover outstanding wines.
I believe my wine ratings be judicious and conservative. Conservative in the sense that I do not penalize a wine varietal, appellation or wine making tradition on an absolute level and in fact probably can bring consistency across the board by understanding those differences.
I do not review a wine in terms of a favored style as that would give unfavorable and unrealistic ratings for the wines that I do review. I balance out the review by looking at the varietal, blend, appellation, style and vintage as a set of facts unto themselves. Hence each wine is certainly rated on it’s own merit.
I decided some time ago to use a 10 point scale to distinguish from the 100 point scale– and in doing so was a point of departure and it was also to not confuse readers that if I used the 100 point scale. That there might have been a thought that a 92 rating would be equivalent to another wine reviewers number.
A wine rating can only have integrity if it is utilized with respect and a conservative approach. And the wine reviewer must be careful and conservative when utilizing their own system. After all the goal is to give bonafide scores based on merit and to preserve the overall view of the rating on an ongoing basis.
My rating system being a 10.0 scale can be seen in the logarithmic sense. The majority of my published reviews are in the 8.5 to 9.6 range. Each decimal point going towards 10.0 is increasingly difficult to achieve and hence there are fewer each decimal point. I have only to date rated one wine 9.6. And over time, I am estimated this number will increase but only rarely. There are 9.7 to 10.0 wines to come.
I have seen a number of review systems that have a high placement of very high ratings–in a sense not every wine is a 100 or 10.0 and in fact those are extraordinary and quite rare wines. My review system should not be reviewed in the school grading system either. And as example– a 9.5 is not simply a review between 9.4 and 9.6 rather it is on a logarithmic distance between each number.
I also don’t assign points for qualities such as alcohol, acid, aroma, flavor, etc. because an over emphasis in this scenario is too rigid and would perhaps punish one wine in one appellation or perhaps be judged on the merits of another instead of it’s own right.
I believe that my system has been consistent over time and the distribution of wine reviews has and will continue to demonstrate that integrity.
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