I use a moderately unusual wine rating system in that I rate wines as being somewhere on a scale between poor, acceptable, good, very good and outstanding.  The same method is more or less used in WSET wine education, but the vast majority of wine writers use a 100 point scale.  Some eschew scores altogether.  A few such as social media site Vivino use “stars”, as in 1 star to 5 stars.  Some use medals, as in gold, silver and bronze, while the 20 point scale also has its adherents, particularly in England.

Early on, I experimented with a 100 point scale, albeit a hybrid version of it.  I was never particularly happy with it, feeling it communicated in bricks, when I wanted pebbles.  I do however reflect from time to time whether I should start using the increasingly standard if slightly generous Australian version of it.  It makes for easy comparability with fellow writers and has a certain clarity to it.  Weighted against this, I personally find I don’t much look at scores.  I am more interested in the impression of quality, the terroir, and the direction a producer is taking.  If a wine received 79 or 99 points sure I would probably take notice, but otherwise, they join a sort of blur.  Ultimately, however, it’s not about me.  It’s about being useful and plenty of respected writers provide this detail, and most certainly it can be done.  So, say if you think a 100 point score would be useful.

The other extreme is to abandon offering any form of scale at all, and rely on words. This has some appeal, but not always.  Occasionally I do omit a rating of a wine because I have felt that none of them quite sum up my experience with the wine.  But this is the exception.  Sometimes I read score free reviews, and think, well, would they recommend it or not?  My fear is that systematic omission of a rating would mean that that moment’s reflection on a wine’s desirability is potentially lost, or worse, lost in translation.

One thought on “Ratings”

  1. Go with your gut and score however you feel (or not at all). Saying that, I do like the definitive nature of a number, which is part of the reason why I score wines. But gee it's a vexed subject…

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