The wine world is filled with writers, bloggers and self-described experts tasting and writing about wine. Scores are the highlight real, the headline. Used by marketing departments the world over.
Trouble is, there’s no real consensus and whilst some writers and critics have a set way of scoring, bloggers and more casual commentators are often all over the shop. This is an oversimplification, to be certain, but one that resonates more than it’s disproved.
There’s a system out of 10, the international 20 system and countless versions of a 100-point scale. I have read reviews scold a wine for being worth “only” 89 points from one writer, whilst another will have no problem recommending a wine worth 89 points. For what it’s worth, the Australian Wine Show system, which is progressively adapting a 100-point scale, would suggest 89 points is a bronze medal, bordering silver. Not a bad result.
And herein lies my problem – the lack of standardisation.
So when putting together this blog, I made a very conscious decision not to award scores for any wine. Not out of 10, not out of 20 and certainly not out of 100.
My reviews herein are simply that – my reviews. They are not judgements against anything other than what I like to drink. In such a climate, giving a rudimentary score makes no sense.
Likewise, the whole scoring system makes no sense to me. I look at a particular wine against it’s peers. What would be in my mind a 98 points wine at $30 a bottle (to use the 100-point system) is not necessarily equivalent to a 98 point wine at $200 a bottle. A 95 point Shiraz is not, by default, an inferior wine to a 97 point Nebbiolo.
But that is exactly what consumers take from scores. I don’t want my readers to draw the same inferences. They are simply not there to be made. This is not a highlight real, or a scoreboard. It’s simply my tastes.
Read my words, you’ll glean more from that than any score I could possibly give.
That sounds really snarky, but it shouldn’t. It’s more an appeal to read past the headline – there’s awesome wine to be found.