Every so often I ignore economic rationality and purchase, a little furtively at $45 an edition, a copy of The World of Fine Wine. Several articles in the edition shown in the picture still have me thinking, so I think that can be taken as a commendation. One of them was a generally glowing book review of local author Tyson Steltzer’s The Champagne Guide 2014-2015. I haven’t yet read the guide, so that’s not what caught my eye. What did was the comment that “my only criticism of this guide, as I say, is the scoring system which is profligate and overgenerous, a sad tendency now among pundits wanting to make a splash”.
I thought this statement interesting given the prevalence in Australia of what might be termed in polite company a generous ethos, where a score in the low 90s practically might be regarded with slight caution rather than admiration. It is possible therefore Tyson’s scoring could be a product of the system as applied in Australia, rather than offered up as an outlier. This is not an excuse though. For numerical scores to have more meaning, a lower starting point may be useful, albeit unpalatable and perhaps difficult to adopt once the above path has been taken. Then there’s the matter of whether scores are sensible anyway. I rather sidestepped the issue and gave up on the whole concept, finding its usefulness waning.