What is the Point?
We have all seen a rating of 92 points on a bottle in our favorite wine shop. So what is this all about? The 100-point system was popularized by Robert Parker in the 1970s and is used today by Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator magazines. The two charts below summarize the approach:
|50 – 59||To be avoided|
|60 – 69||Distinct flaws exist|
|70 -79||Basic and soundly made|
|80 – 89||Some finesse and character|
|90 – 95||Outstanding complexity and character|
|95 – 100||Extraordinary, a profound expression|
|50||For being wine|
|20||Flavour and Finish|
This scoring system for good or bad has been a staple of the wine industry over the past 50 years and shows no signs of going away. However, wine guru Fred Dame maintains the system “created collectors and consumers that stopped thinking on their own.” It has been suggested that the Parker-ization of wine tips the scale towards his preferences – bold, ripe wines high in alcohol. Parker and his influential scale even pulled some winemakers away from their signature styles in order to please the Points Police.
My view is that consumers should track wine characteristics they appreciate and consult wine experts and other sources for recommendations. When I shop for Pinot Noir, I tell my favourite experts that I prefer an earthy style with a nose of forest floor and mushrooms and voila – they point me in the right direction regardless of the points rating. Wine enjoyment is about qualities and not quantification. It should never be a numbers game, let’s leave that to the mathematicians.