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Wine Score and its Purpose

Wine score is essentially a ranking of wines based on comparative assessment of their quality. It is one of the simplest ways to help drinkers / collectors on deciding which wine / producer to buy or to look out for.

How Does The Rating Scale Work

For those who have read a fair amount of wine reviews would know that most wine critics use the 100-point scale, which confusingly starts from 50 points (and most critics score between 60-100 points). From a mathematically point of view, one might expect the average score to lie close to 75points, as a “central” value (e.g. if one chooses a bottle of wine at random from a pool wine). However, the average scores are much higher. Average score by critics:

Antonio Galloni: 91.1 points
Tim Akin MW: 90.5 points
Luca Gardini: 90.1 points
Jeannie Cho Lee MW: 87.3 points
CellarTracker (crowd-sourced platform): 87.9 points
Jancis Robinson MW: 16.4 points (20-point scale)

As seen above many critics’ average score are around 90 points, and producers / wine merchants tend to publicise scores of their wines or the wines they are selling if it is 90 points or above. Since 90+ points reviews get publicised more often, some critics are incentivised to rate wines higher to potentially gain more publicity, creating a conundrum and essentially “devaluing” the rating scale (i.e. a 90 point wine by x critic might not be up to the excellent quality you would expect).

Jammy Wine 100-Point Scale

As a fellow wine consumer / collector, I have found myself from time to time disappointed with wines that are highly rated by some critics (who shall remain nameless here), hence lose faith in the general wine scoring scene.

In 2015, I decided to start reviewing wines and score wines using the 100-point scale. However, my intention is to score wines under scrutiny, and aim to rate all wines in blind tastings so to prevent any prejudice. My scale is not intended to set a standard and the qualitative views that are expressed in my tasting notes cannot be directly translated into my scores.

100 – Perfect
97-99 – Exceptional / Emotional moving
94-96 – Great depth & profound complexity
90-93 – Excellent / Worth seeking out for
85-89 – Highly enjoyable
80-84 – Very good
75-79 – Good
70-74 – Simple / Acceptable
65-69 – Average / Minor flaws
60-64 – Poor
50-59 – Faulty / Undrinkable

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