Notebooks from a trampfest. Travel tips, tales and images, online since 2006.

Wine Notes: More on the Ratings Numbers Game

It’s not something I’ll ever do – how can I possibly determine the precise point where a merely sublime 99-point wine becomes perfect? Or even an 89 a 90? If it appears on this site, it’s recommended; no numbers required.

That’s not to say I don’t see the value in the numbers system. Here’s a piece by wine writer (and reviewer) Oliver Styles. in Wine-Searcher:

I have never been a huge fan of giving points to wines, even though I do it on a very regular basis.

It’s a staple of any group tasting, but it seems inherently ridiculous to reduce to a number something that combines far too many facets of the olfactory and gustatory experience. Even subjectively, how do you begin to weigh up the gorgeous color of the rim against the slightly volatile aroma against angular tannin against the juicy fruit against the spiky alcohol? Or the faint hint of microbial corruption against the length of flavor against the price against the rest of the wines from that region or from that producer? Against the beauty of that summer’s afternoon, against the personal memories it brings up, against the clock ticking down because, unless you get 50 wines tasted this morning, your report isn’t going to be in on time?

How does one arrive at a number? While I can understand that many people might see it as the pinning of the rosette on the bottle, for me it is more a case of pinning the tail on the donkey.

Read the rest.

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