Up until recently, I have been using a bifurcated rating scale for wines reviewed on this blog. Wines that retailed for $20.00 and below were rated on a 0-20 scale, while wines that retailed for over $20.00 were rated as either Stellar, Highly Recommended, Recommended, Not Too Shabby, and Pass.
I’ve decided that it’s time for a change, especially while the blog is still young (less than 6 months old). The bifurcated system may have been a little bit confusing to some–hell, it was getting confusing for me and I came up with it. My rationale when I adopted the system was that most of the wines that I reviewed would retail for under $20.00 and I wanted to review these wines with a bit more specificity than the wines retailing for over $20.00. As it turns out, I’ve probably ended up reviewing more wines that retail for over $20.00 than under.
I really struggled with selecting the revised scale to be used going forward. My original thought was to switch to the controversial 100 point scale and I have to admit that I was very close to doing it. My big hang-up was the rigidity of the scale. I could surely come up with a firm score for a wine on a given day, but feel that certain variables (i.e. place at which tasted, temperature at which tasted, age at which tasted) might move the score up or down a few points if tasted on a different day.
Let me make it clear that I have no problem with the 100 point scale itself. I do have a problem when people misuse it and take a score with subjective components and treat is as fact. At the end of the day, it’s an opinion. It may have come from a very experienced professional, but it’s still an opinion. Treat it as a resource and work on developing your own palate.
I apologize for the slight digression. Anyway, I wanted the revised scale to offer more flexibility than the classic 100 point system, so there will be accompanying point ranges associated with each rating.
I also want to place more of an emphasis on the value of a given wine. To that end, I have added a second rating scale which measures my opinion of the quality of the wine.
Effective as of today, I will be utilizing the following scales of quality and value when rating all wines:
Quality Rating Scale
Stellar (95-100) A rare and unforgettable wine of astounding quality.
Highly Recommended (90-94) Very high quality. A special, well-made wine.
Recommended (86-89) Good to very good quality. Perfect for everyday drinking.
Not Too Shabby (80-85) If you see this wine on sale, it’s worth a try.
Pass (0-79) There are too many other fish in the sea, or rather too many other wines on the shelves.
Value Rating Scale
5/5 Exceptional Value
4/5 Very Well-Priced
2/5 Slightly Overpriced
The range of scores noted on the quality scale will be included as part of the rating. For example, Wine X has a quality rating of Highly Recommended (90-94) and has a value rating of 4/5.
The new rating system is not perfect (is there a such thing as a perfect rating system when it comes to wines?) but it fits with the information that I want to convey to readers when reviewing a wine. And hey, it’s a lot simpler than reviewing wines on two totally different quality scales.