Poll-itics 08/08/11

If the recent Congressional debt crisis debate has taught us anything, it’s that democracy is unquestionably the fastest, fairest and least frustrating way to make important decisions. And if my delicious little brain child Convicted for Grape has taught us anything, it’s that wine is far and away the most important subject in the world.


Convicted for Grape: now with educational merit!

So now, I figure, is the perfect time to solicit the opinions of that miniscule cross-section of society that matters to me most: my readership. Here, then, is your opportunity to shape the collective wisdom of the wine blogosphere by weighing in on an enological issue that seems practically allergic to consensus – and I encourage you to do so before the impending economic hyper-ruin fragments our global society into a chaotic network of warring microstates fraught with famine, disease and unreliable Internet access.



To be a bit more clear, I’d like to know what you all think about wine ratings; and specifically, how you feel about the 100-point system favored by most major publications (Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and Wine Enthusiast, for example), which has borne the brunt of this debate. Of course, I’ve recently explained my own system (you know…with the thumbs), in the process of which I shared my general philosophy on ratings, briefly mentioning the 100-point problem.

But then this Palate Press article drew me into lengthy Twitter discussions with both participants somehow, forcing me to give the matter quite a bit more thought than I had ever devoted prior; and I have regrettably found once again that contentious issues are much like hair, only becoming grayer with time.

My most important takeaway from the conversation (and a sentiment shared by Mr. W. R. Tish, formerly of the Wine Enthusiast, now of NY Wine Salon) was that however wines are scored, a numerical rating should not be separated from the tasting notes that brought the critic to it. All too often, retailers cherry-pick high scores from whichever publications are available, and without the context of their rationale, numbers are meaningless in a game as subjective as wine.

So what do you think? How should wines be scored? Or…shouldn’t they? Also, feel free to elaborate on your position in the comments section; it would be great to get a discussion going.

Just be sure to keep it poll-ite.

How Should Wine Be Rated?

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5 Responses to this article

What's in a name? August 8, 2011 Reply

The thumb system is better for those with no experience in wine tasting, though you might want to come up with a conversion metric between the traditional scale and yours.

Jason August 9, 2011 Reply

Agreed on the first count – for the second, I’d be tempted to say that an 8 is an 80, an 8.5 an 85, etc.; but then we get to 10.5 and 11 and the conversion becomes kind of impossible.

Maybe it’s better that way.

Rain August 9, 2011 Reply

I have been trying to think of a cool scale that is specific to me. I think you need scales but in the end what you rate an 8 I think is a 7. There is no way to completely agree.

Jason August 10, 2011 Reply

Rain, very true about universal consensus being impossible. Scales are intrinsically personal to the person using them, so it only makes sense for everyone to come up with his or her own.


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