Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The problem with scoring wine...

Everyone is at it, Parker does it out of 100, Robinson does it out of 20 and Broadbent rates his out of 5 stars.

According to the three systems above, which would score more highly, the world renown Bordeaux 1st growth Chateau Latour or a holiday rose from the local co-op? I am sure the Latour would win hands down across the board.

However, the answer is not as clearcut as you might think. A numerical score is too one dimensional as a basis of both expression and comparison, since, although both wines are leagues apart, both can be equally enjoyable.

I propose a better, two tier system, one that acknowledges both the quality of the wine and the satisfaction gained from it. Using the example above, marking the quality out of five stars and the satisfaction out of ten might deliver the following scores:
  • Chateau Latour 5* 9/10
  • Vin de Pays Rose 1* 9/10 
Is the Latour really as good as the cheap rose? No, but they were equally enjoyable, albeit in a different league (hence the big difference in stars awarded).

The result, a more flexible and accurate system that not only reflects the qualities of lesser wines (instant enjoyment without the need to engage the brain) but also captures quality of the higher echelons of wine for what they are (superior in quality and but not necessarily enjoyment). Without this system, wine scores recognise only the finest of wines, which for the majority of tasters, are seldom tasted.

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