Monday, August 31, 2015

Rant: Wines Over 100 Points?

Imagine this...

Famed wine reviewer, James Sackless, has declared that the 2016 Hi-alk Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has been awarded 103 points. How is that possible with a 100 point wine scoring system? There may now be a precedent which some wine reviewer could potentially use to start giving out 100+ points. That is a scary scenario.

Consumer Reports recently released their review of the all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S P85D sedan and stated that it broke their ratings systen.  "The Tesla initially scored 103 in the Consumer Reports‘ Ratings system, which by definition doesn’t go past 100. The car set a new benchmark, so we had to make changes to our scoring to account for it." Could this be a sign of the future, that 100 point ratings systems may be inadequate?

Some wine magazines and reviewers use a 100 point scoring system for wine and it seems that those wine scores have generally been getting higher with time, that more and more wines are scoring in the 90s and more wines are being awarded 100 points too.  As these scores continue to creep up, it isn't that hard to believe that some reviewer would like to award a wine more than 100 points, to set a new benchmark for what is seen as a quality wine. And the Tesla case could be used as a precedent to do so. Though the Tesla is an auto and not a bottle of wine, they both still use 100 point rating systems so there is some similarity.

The battle over the use of wine scores continues to rage on in the wine world. The rating system isn't going away any time soon, though it seems the number of people relying on wine scores is decreasing. Wine lovers are relying on alternatives, on the recommendations of trusted peers, wine shop staff, wine bloggers, and others. I won't go into all the arguments for and against wine scores, but the key here is wine scores have been losing credibility in some circles and that will continue, especially if a few reviewers start pushing for 100+ scores.

Consumers are better off without wine scores. It is never a guarantee that you will enjoy a wine. Instead, relyon your own taste, and those people you trust who have a similar palate. Experiment and broaden your tasting horizons, seeking out new wines as you never know where you might find a new favorite. With so many thousands of wines out there, opportunities for tasting are everywhere and you should take advantage whenever you can.

And if in the near future a wine receives a score over 100 points, it could be a sign of the wine apocalypse.

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