Wine Ratings

Monday 2 January 2011

There are a swag of point-scoring systems for wine tasting, and, from what I can see, most of them look fairly similar with the odd tweak here an there reflecting the individual’s preferences. I’d gone into this matter in some detail on the previous site, but lost a few links between the original Wine Pages and the Revised Version once the Wine content got a sub-site of its own. I went looking for something similar to those links, and found this, which gives an idea of what we’re talking about. Being a subscriber to the electronic Halliday, I use his ratings as a reference point, but for my own purposes I need something simpler.

The problem with those hundred-point (or even twenty-point) approaches lies in the fact that you need time, the right background to assess colour and clarity and a printed form that’ll (hopefully) have room for more than one or two wines, but that also means clipboards and things like that.

We’re talking drinking and a bit of reflecting, not tasting and analysing, though those things do come into it.

After moving into iPad territory I went looking for an iPad app and had a go at tweaking Bento, but that ended up being a variation on the old clipboard bit. The best solution, as far as I’m concerned looks to be a variation on the five point scale I found on the  RedtoBrown wine blog. According to them, anything less than 2.5 stars means that the wine is memorable for all the wrong reasons and I don’t envisage tasting anything in this range of the scale, and if I were to do so the only reason to post a review would be to warn off anyone looking at it.

My tasting notes are actually meant to drive my own purchases, so while the RedtoBrown comments were a starting point, I’ve tweaked them slightly to suit my purposes, and, as a result, my ratings may differ from theirs, and the differences may not be totally palate-related. That’s particularly applicable in the 4 and 4.5 ratings. I figure a 5 will almost always end up being a 5. Unfortunately, those wines are often going to be unprocurable and/or out of my price range aren’t they?

A step below that I need a little means of transmitting a note to Self along the lines of Self, remember you need to order some of this when you can afford it. Hardly the most scientific way of looking at it, but that means the points scale runs something like this:

5 Stars– I’d love to be able to buy this.

4.5 Stars– I really need to buy this.

4 Stars– I should buy this.

3.5 Stars– I could buy this.

3 Stars– I might buy this, and anything less than that is, basically, a don’t bother.

I’ve gone into this in a bit more detail here.

I also liked the very simple scheme used by Wine Will Eat Itself, grading a wine as Average, Good, Very Good, Excellent or Exceptional, and from the startof 2012 I’ve resolved to throw those descriptors onto the end of my tasting notes.

Our opening salvo for the year came in the form of a Bloodwood 2011 Riesling, and I’ve recycled the note here:

Bloodwood 2011 Riesling (4.5* $28) Pale green-tinged straw in the glass, understated but rather complex floral notes with a smidgeon of talcum powder through the nose and a bright, complex citrus-centric palate that runs along nicely and finishes very nicely indeed. We'll be having more of this one for sure. Excellent.

In other words I thought this one was an excellent wine that I ned more of. Pretty straightforward, eh?

The difference from the previous modus operandi mean that I could have a wine that comes in as Good or Very Good but fills a particular niche in our local drinking habits and really needs to be bought (remarkable value for money, for example). Anyway, not that too many people are paying any attention at all) that’s the New Scheme for the New Year.

© Ian Hughes 2012