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The love-hate of wine ratings


Do you use wine ratings? I mean, are wine ratings of any real value? Do you actually understand the 100 point wine rating system? And do you trust these ratings? When you buy wine do you look for the ratings? Or are you someone that ignores any kind of rating at all? Who is authorized to even give out wine ratings?

Ok, maybe that's too many questions all at once, but the premise is valid. Are wine ratings really worth anything? There are people out there that get paid big bucks to drink and rate wines. A job I'd love to have by the way. So who are these people and why do we trust their opinion on whether a wine is any good or how good it is?

I know, more questions; but don't you think someone needs to get to the bottom of all of this? Ok, sorry, that was another question. Wine tastes vary and one persons idea of a good wine may not be your idea of a good wine.

Some people think that wine ratings have become a scam, intended to drive pricing and influence buyers. If a wine receives a good rating one year the price shoots way up; all because some guy named Parker gave it a high score.

So if we ignore all the ratings, how do we know which wines are good and which are not so good? I guess we would have to try them, just like the wine gurus do. Trust your own palate. It sounds simple enough but how are we supposed to taste all these wines before we buy them? You see the dilemma?

And there you have it. We have a system based on 100 points that most of us don't fully understand, from people we have never met, telling us what we should like. Some people love this system and many hate it. If I was a wine maker and they never rated my wine at all, I might feel a little ticked. Yet, if they did rate it and I thought it was a great wine but they did not, I might be really ticked.

I'm sure you're wondering where I'm going with all of this and frankly, I'm not exactly sure. I seem to be rambling on, but it all started yesterday when I walked into the Total Wine shop at Myers Park. There, right in front of me was a wine with this little tag that said "scored 91". Of course this is supposed to entice me to buy this wine, however I had already tried it and there's no way it deserves a score anywhere near 91. In fact I would have given it a 14. In my rating system, that is a "yuck".

If you're interested, my rating system is rather simple. There are only 4 ratings; yuck, ok, pretty good and damn good. I like my system. It's simple, to the point and very descriptive.

I guess for now, we are stuck with this 100 point system, but one day that will change. The current wine gurus will be gone and hopefully a new and better system will emerge. I vote for mine.


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