Thursday, November 19, 2015

The 100-Point Rating System.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again, I do not like the 100-point rating system of reviewing wine.  The 100-point scale - which, in reality, is a only 50-point system as anything with a score below 50 doesn't even seem to be considered wine - was of course popularised by the powerful wine critic, Robert Parker Jr.
The Parkerization of wine, especially Napa Valley wine, is not a new topic.  Nevertheless, my wine marketing instructor started tonight's class with a video; 'Robert Parker's Bitch' (written and directed by Tina Caputo in 2009), which elicited an enquiry from the back of the classroom, "Is it about his wife, or his dog?"  Titter, titter.
The video was interesting and was, appropriately, more about marketing than anything else, and fittingly contained an appearance by my instructor, Paul Wagner.  The classroom discussion that followed was rather thought-provoking.  I may deride the 100-point system, (and the so-called millennials may regard the system as a dinosaur from their parents era), but unfortunately the system still wields a lot of clout among distributors who often won't even consider adding a particular wine to their portfolio if said wine simply does not have enough 'Parker Points'.
Don't be sheep, people.


New Hampshire Wineman said...

I don't add by Parkism, but now I do refer to my own index for vintage and my own score when buying certain wines.
Not wanting to quantify a wine makes sense to me, but if I want to buy the same wine, different year, reflecting via memory is hopelessly flawed in my case.
Just a thought, Wine Searcher does a pretty good job of compiling and averaging many wine reviewers, only I think that sometimes they rely too much on CT, which often conflicts with my own values. JMO!

New Hampshire Wineman said...

Oh, I forgot; even bees quantify a good source of nectar: A fast"waggle" dance means abundance, while a slower means less; would you agree that's a quantification (more vs. less)? So, if Parker says Vinocab is 100 points, would you think that was a quantifiably good thing vs. Parker scoring Vinosyrah 51 points? Just a thought! Good night!

Thomas said...


Sorry to inform you, but asking people not to act like sheep is like asking sheep not to grow wool.


"So, if Parker says Vinocab is 100 points, would you think that was a quantifiably good thing vs. Parker scoring Vinosyrah 51 points?"

Not necessarily, unless I happen to be Parker and that is what I prefer. There's a great deal of difference between discussing the merits or demerits of a wine as opposed to quantifying them: the former allows for differences of taste and opinion; the latter is a self-centered procalamtion, valuable to one person and maybe to persons who agree with him/her.

I prefer the discussion.

Having said that, I fully understand the distributors' point of view--because people are indeed like sheep.

Thomas said...

Of course, that's proclamation...

New Hampshire Wineman said...

Thomas, the way I see it is both work together and compliment each other, but I'm not so sophisticated as to adequately split hairs on this unending subject.
I think the word is sheeple, and the sad part, as I see it, is that sheeple miss the adventure of trying wines in the box and out of it!

Thomas said...

Dennis: Sheeple--I like that.

Re, scores and discussion: scoring is a critic's attempt to claim definitive judgment. If you search for the least humble people in the world you are likely to find critics at the top of the heap.

Vinogirl said...

NHW: I think we have had this discussion before. Say, perhaps, Parker scores one wine an 89, but another wine a 91, am I supposed to believe that the second wine is 3/100ths better than the first. In his own words, Parker says that a wine that scores between 80-89 is "...barely above average". That is simply ludicrous. Again, is anything scored below 50 even wine? Almost makes me doubt my own taste buds.
As reviews go, I think an A through F grading system (like that used by Joe Roberts) makes more sense to the consumer. Since childhood, this is a grading system that most people are familiar with.
Me personally, I simply like to read a description of a wine and then decide, for myself, whether or not I want to try and seek out that particular wine. If I can afford it, that is!

Tomasso: Of course, I too understand the individual distributor's position...there are a lot of wines to pick from out there.

Thud said...

I once drank abottle that scored 117 but then again maybe that's just the drink talking.

Thomas said...


Was that on the 1,000-point scale?

Vinogirl said...

Thud: No you did...that was the alcohol proof of that 2004 Cab Franc you liked so much, tee, hee.

Tomasso: I've told you before, don't encourage him :)