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What is it about scores that makes some people so CRAZEEE!?!?

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I was struck by this remark in yesterday’s St. Helena Star newspaper: “You gotta stop chasing the scores. The younger generation doesn’t even know who (Robert) Parker Jr. is.” That was by a fellow named Glen Knight, described as domestic wine buyer for an L.A. store, The Wine House. Knight made the remark at a Napa Valley Grapegrowers event, in Calistoga.

“Chasing the scores” has become a phrase of abject scorn. It’s used by pundits to finger-wag wineries who endeavor to get high scores from a cadre of critics who use the 100-point system to rate wine, as well as consumers who use those scores to make buying decisions. There’s an arch tone of condemnation to it, as though anyone who believes in point scores is consigned to Hell.

Well, I’m here to defend the score-chasers against the evil-doers who attack them!

Google “chasing the scores” and you’ll come upon a rogue’s gallery of derison. Here’s Jamie Goode lecturing people on chasing the scores, which he calls chasing the points: “I had some merchants breathlessly quoting Parker scores to encourage me to bite. Worse still, some were quoting Wine Spectator scores—a similar 100 point scale (derivative), but with less consistency and authority than Parker. Uuugh!”

In the N.Y. Times, David Darlington, author of the best book ever written on Zinfandel, equates “chasing the Score” [capital letter from him] with “the dark side.”

A writer for the Burlington Free Press bashes “score-chasing formulaic wines.

A Salt Lake City writer says that “number-chasing score-whores and wineries crafting their wines to attain higher scores [are] alarming.”

My bbff (best blogging friend forever) Joe Roberts refers to “classified Bordelais growths [that] are chasing the bombastic, high-point-scoring (and therefore high-price-demanding) style” (although he suggests this may be related to climate change).

An M.S (all rise) was quoted in the Houston Chronicle lambasting “trophy hunters [who are] chasing Parker scores and the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List. I hate that!”

The blogger Arete Wines refers to Kermit Lynch in arguing that “the way we view wine…needs to change from chasing scores to truly enjoying and understanding wine,” as if Kermit Lynch doesn’t pour lavish praise on every wine he (and his staff) write about in his sales-oriented newsletter.

The rock god Maynard James Keenan says about his wines, in an interview about his movie, Blood Into Wine, “[W]e’re not chasing scores” (despite that fact that he had both me and Jim Suckling — two score mavens if ever there were any — in the movie).

A commenter on Dr. Vino’s blog got off this Ben Franklinesque aphorism: “A man who would score wine would score women, and deserves neither.”

Whores! Dark side! Women! Hatred! Uuugh! What’s going on?

Look, I’ve said myself that scores can be crutches. But what is it about them that makes so many people go so crazy? I’m not sure, without getting into psychopathological concepts of sublimation and projection, but what I am sure about is that scores are helpful to both wineries and consumers. Let me explain.

Consumers obviously like scores. They’ve proven time and time again that they use them to help decide what to buy, of the gazillions of choices out there. You therefore can’t argue that scores aren’t beneficial to the consumer. The consumer is asking for guidance, and scores are one way of providing it.

Wineries, too, benefit from “chasing scores,” if that’s how you care to explain a behavior that’s actually much more complicated than it might sound by that derogatory label. Consider that a winemaker determines that a good score by Steve Heimoff can help move her Sauvignon Blanc, which hasn’t been doing all that well. So she studies Steve’s ratings and reviews, and learns that he likes a dry, fruity Sauv Blanc with refreshing acidity. It may have a touch of gooseberry or grass, but Steve detests too much cat pee, and will slash a wine accordingly. So the winemaker makes the necessary adjustments, and the next year, I give the wine 92 points and it sells out. The winemaker has not only improved the quality of her Sauvignon Blanc, she’s helped her company’s bottom line and — most importantly of all — she’s given the consumer a better wine.

What’s wrong with that?

I wouldn’t call this sort of thing “chasing scores.” Instead, the winemaker realizes that, sometimes, she gets a cellar palate in which she can’t really taste her wine objectively, which is to say, in the context of the full range of its competitors. I probably taste more wine than most working winemakers, so why wouldn’t they turn to me to find out what’s in the mainstream and what isn’t? You can call this “chasing the scores,” but that’s a very prejudiced, even jaundiced way of looking at it. As for the “younger generation” not even knowing who Parker is, that may well be true; it certainly doesn’t bother me. But I will guarantee you that the younger generation is going to be making their wine-buying decisions by scores, same way the older generation does. It won’t be the only basis on which they make their choices, no more than it is now. But it will be one of them, and one of the more important.

  1. Steve,

    You ask what is wrong with the winemaker adjusting the character of her Sauvignon Blanc to get a better review from you, sell more wine, etc. and ask “what’s wrong with that?”

    My response would be that there is a lot wrong with that. — In my opinion, a winemaker’s job is to look at the vines, the grapes, the land, the growing season, and integrating experience with these observations, make the finest possible wine in the style that the vintage and place provided.

    Let’s look at it this way. You said that 2007 was a great year for Pinot Noir but aren’t as high on the 2008 vintage. Let’s say that you discover that, by proclaiming 2007 a great vintage and giving more wines higher scores and more favorable reviews, you led more people to try more wine, you sold more issues for the Wine Enthusiast, and you were allocated more cover stories. Good for the people, good for your employer, and good for you! But readers didn’t respond favorably to 2008 being called a less than good year. So, you adjust your scale, start looking for different things in the wines, and start proclaiming more and more great vintages. What’s wrong with that?

    What is wrong with that is that it isn’t a real reflection of the wines, a real reflection of YOUR opinion, and isn’t being true to what your profession is about.

    In my opinion, it is much the same thing.

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  2. Adam, you say “a winemaker’s job is to look at the vines, the grapes, the land,” etc. All true. But what that doesn’t take into account is that the winemaker then has a potentially infinite range of choices in the actual crafting of the wine, including canopy and pruning decisions, harvest date, sorting, fermentation methodology, acidification, blending, barrel selection, etc. etc. etc. And at any of those points, the winemaker can send the wine off in a particular direction. The “vines, grapes, land and growing season” give only the raw materials for the finished wine. The winemaker provides the actual assembly and influences it at every step along the way. So, to use my example of Sauvignon Blanc, Mother Nature doesn’t make wine smell and taste like cat piss. Or, if it does, then there was something seriously wrong with the viticulture, or with where the grapes were grown — both of those are deliberate choices. On the matter of proclaiming great vintages, I do it rarely, and only when my scores justify it. It’s not done to “sell more magazines” and I don’t “adjust my scale” in order to create more great vintages. There would be plenty “wrong with that” if I did.

  3. Steve,

    I understand you don’t proclaim great vintages or change your reviews to “sell more magazines” but you say it is okay to for a winemaker to change their winemaking to get better reviews and sell more wine. I don’t get that being okay.

    Going back to your Sauvignon Blanc example, say the grapes naturally make a lower-acid Sauvignon Blanc, and the winemaker prefers a lower acid Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps with some wood (ala a White Graves as compared to a Sancerre). Should the winemaker change what she does….and do something that she believes makes a wine less reflective of the grapes and of a lesser quality to get a better review from you? Personally, I think that is the wrong thing to do.

    Finally, as far as a winemaker having infinite possibilities – I guess I don’t look at it that way. At most steps along the way nature, combined with experience, shows you a path. That’s the direction you take.

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  4. 2007 was/is a great Pinot Noir vintage in the North Coast. Full stop.

    2008 has already produced some exceptional Pinot Noirs, but seems less likely to produce as many across the board. Full stop.

    Those are opinions. They are not immutable or changeable or capable of misrepresentation.

    And they were not conceived as ways to sell more WE or more CGCW. They are opinion. The day that any critic starts fiddling with opinion to get more mentions on shelf talkers or sell more wine or more subscriptions is the day that publication starts down the slippery slope of self-destruction.

    One need only look at the reputations of some publications to see how that has happened lately.

  5. Hey bestest-buddy! :-)

    As you note, I do prefer a more balanced view. And in fact, recently I wrote an article on 1WineDude.com in which I say that the “International” / “globalization” style of wine (which one could argue is at least partially a result of “chasing points”) is not all bad – it has undoubtedly resulted in a significant increase in the quality of wine available to consumers worldwide.

    Cheers!

  6. Charlie, are you suggesting that some publications hype up “greatest vintage ever!” in order to sell more zines? I am shocked, shocked. Disclosure: I’ve done it just twice: 2005 Cabs and 2007 Pinots.

  7. Adam: If a Cali winemaker made a White Graves-style Sauv Blanc, and was successful at it (no flaws), I’d likely give it a high score. I mean, it would have to have some acidity, right? I’m not talking about searing, just balanced. If you look through my reviews, you’ll find I can recommend just about any style of wine (within the parameters that California’s climate imposes). The only wines I trash are those with outright flaws. Why would any winemaker make a flawed wine? Why would a winemaker make a flawed wine and then say, “The terroir made me do it”? That doesn’t make any sense. But most California wines are flawed (as they are elsewhere) by bad viticulture or poor winemaking. All I’m saying is that winemakers who consistently get bad scores from me could use that as a learning lesson, instead of continuing to make bad wine! Of course, if they’re managing to sell their bad wine, I guess they have no motive to improve. And from what I can tell, lots of consumers buy bad wine. We can speculate about the reasons why someplace else.

  8. Steve,

    Help me out on this last post by defining a couple of terms —

    “Trash” — Is that a good but not great review (87 points) or an awful review (number corresponding to?)

    “Flaw” — Something you don’t like (such as not enough acidity to taste “balanced” or “refreshing” to you) — or is that a chemical flaw such as VA levels above a certain number, oxidation, brett, etc?

    Depending on your definition I don’t know that I think most CA wines are flawed.

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  9. Charlie,

    When you say, “The day that any critic starts fiddling with opinion to get more mentions on shelf talkers or sell more wine or more subscriptions is the day that publication starts down the slippery slope of self-destruction.”– is exactly what I would say if you substitute winemaker for critic and better reviews for more subscriptions.

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  10. Maybe “trash” wasn’t the best verb I could have used. I have to be careful in my choice of words because my astute readers are always going to make me define them! I won’t use a certain point range to illustrate what I mean, because an 85 point wine (say) can be useful, if it’s clean and not too expensive. But yes, by “flaws” I mean things like unripeness (or overcropping), harshness in the mouth, residual sugar in a “dry” table wine, outright stinky, tanky, bretty, funky smells, unbalanced acidity, too much “oak” (from whatever source). Those are the most common flaws I experience. U.C. Davis might not define them as technical “flaws” but I’m not a V&E professor, so I do.

  11. Lorrie S. LeBeaux says:

    Steve,

    Who (winery) wants a bad report card (score) ? As kids, those of us that competed for the highest average in the class, which would result in our name on a construction paper balloon with yarn as the string, with the highest average printed for all to see. All eyes would be on you; the smartest kid in the class. It feels good; I’ve been there, and the wineries want that feeling as well, year after year…..

  12. Adjusting viticultural and winemaking inputs to make “better” wine is what we all do, even the ideologues who say they don’t. It is a matter of degree. Adam draws his line one place, I draw my line very near his, others chose a path of greater manipulation.

    The logical flaw arises when one absolutely equates “better” with “higher-scoring” – or perhaps it is just a failure of imagination. That’s what the craftsman inside me says. However the businessman inside me knows that better scores mean more sales – full stop.

    But as a business proposition you have to ask yourself – how big are you going to go? Bud over or replant the vineyard? Build a new winery with all new state-of-the-art equipment?

    Or, more to the point of this discussion, how many consultants are you going to hire, how famous, how much are you going to spend? Most importantly, how much control over your grape growing and winemaking are you going to turn over to them – in the name of higher scores? And then, how are you going to spin the PR?

    I’ve mentioned before my friend whose sales of of his expensive, cult Napa Cabernet were inextricably linked to the scores the wines received from a certain reviewer – he described it as “live by the sword, die by the sword.” But I credit him with getting there under his own power – no consultants. And especially, no overt intent to make the wine for the score. Not everyone who scores well is chasing scores.

    To my way of thinking, what defines the Dark Side is when the producer intent is to do whatever it takes to get the critic to award a high score. “[O]nce you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will…”

  13. During the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival’s recent Technical Conference there was an entire presentation by Dan Sogg (formerly of Wine Spectator) about the 100 point scale. He did a great demonstration about how our judgment of wines during a sequential tasting can be influenced by the order in which we taste a line up of wines as well as by the styles of the other wines being tasted at the same time. In the most simplistic terms, a more elegant pinot noir may not fare well when being compared with bolder companions.

    Dan also argued that often wines with the highest scores are those that stand out in tastings, which tend to be bigger wines. He said that in general these types of wines may not be as food-friendly and pointed out that they “hog the table,” “don’t play well with others,” and may not be the best wines for the long haul.

    So, although scores may be a helpful guide, they obviously don’t tell the entire story about a particular bottle of wine.

    Jennifer Waits
    Waits-Mast Family Cellars

    http://valleyfog.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/2010-anderson-valley-pinot-festival-recap-part-1-technical-conference-and-bbq/

  14. Wow. I didn’t get very far into your article when you stopped me dead in my tracks. So if your winemaker changes her style to fit your palate, she has “improved the wine” and ‘given the consumer a better wine?” And if that same Sauvignon Blanc is not to another critics – or consumers flavor profile or style, it’s not a good/better wine? Hmmm…

  15. “what defines the Dark Side is when the producer intent is to do whatever it takes to get the critic to award a high score”

    I think that’s a GREAT way to draw the distinction.

    Being incented to improve your wine (which scores might help to do) is good; manipulating your wine until it is something that it would otherwise not be as dictated by its place of “birth” is another thing, and I’d agree that is taking it way too far (even if there’s a fiscal incentive).

  16. I know a winery whose previous owner, in his last years in control before selling to new ownership, decided that he needed to make Chardonnay with 3.20 pH and acidity so screechy that it took the enamel off one’s teeth. Sad to say, those wines did not get good reviews.

    If he had read those reviews and said to himself, “Well, your vision of the world is not seconded by the world” and had brought his wines back closer to the balance that is accepted by the vox populi, he would have been committing two sins.

    He would not have been true to himself and he would have changed his wines in the chase for acceptance (which may not be the same as points, but, if critics are not all wet–a topic for another day, please–, then there could be some correlation between the two).

    However, he might also have been doing his business a favor by making wines he could sell. Adam, you do that all the time. You make wines in your own image, but your own image is shaped by the world you live in–just like the rest of us. I am not suggested that you are “whoring for points” or doing anything either nefarious or inappropriate. But, there are such things as learning from others–and that is what Steve is suggesting.

    I do not get that he is saying “My way is the only way”–as some winemakers have said in this blog–but that he is suggesting that his view of the world comes from experience, study, thoughtful analysis and, thus, has a certain standing that might be worth listening to by a producer that has less than happy results. Certainly, unless that producer so loves his own wines that he does not care what the world says, there is an argument that says that the producer needs to learn from somebody.

    Finally, as to 87 points being the same as a trashy wine. Where in the world does that idea come from? It is high time that the level of full acceptability and usefulness not be equated to 90 points lest some idiot start scoring things on the 105 point scale. I can’t speak to others, but I would gladly drink any wine that my rag rated at 87, because over half of what I review rates lower than that.

  17. Bruce, I wrote that passage knowing it would arouse certain sentiments. But I meant it. I think I have a good palate and a good understanding of California wines, and I can recognize a good Sauv Blanc when I taste one. Sauv Blanc is tricky to get right, as it never fetches much money and so many winemakers are tempted to let things slide, instead of super-focusing on it. So when I say that a winemaker can learn how to make good Sauv Blanc by studying my scores, what I’m really saying is that in order to make good Sauv Blanc, the winemaker has to work harder and do a better job. And ultimately that means it will be a better wine.

  18. Jennifer, Dan is correct, but that is a very old argument. I first heard it in the 90s but it’s probably older than that. I think to some extent it may be true for novice tasters, but I would hope that an experienced critic can recognize a good, more elegant wine in a lineup, and give it a good score even though it’s surrounded by steroidal wines — which may also get good scores.

  19. Charlie,

    First, I never said that 87 points was trashy. I asked for a definition of trashy and what point score that related to.

    I think there are many problems with having a goal of making wines that are more highly reviewed…..some of which I mentioned.

    But let’s even suppose that a winemaker wants to and is trying to make a Sauvignon Blanc that is highly reviewed by Steve. This winemaker “studies Steve’s ratings and reviews, and learns that he likes a dry, fruity Sauv Blanc with refreshing acidity. It may have a touch of gooseberry or grass, but Steve detests too much cat pee, and will slash a wine accordingly.” — It isn’t like there is an adjustment that she can do to make those changes. Remove more leaves and you might get rid of some of the cat pee, but you lose acidity. Pick later to get the fruit that Steve wants and the acidity falls out, the wine risks not going dry, and the alcohol may stand out.

    A review/rating really doesn’t tell me anything about making the wine.

    Adam Lee
    Siduri Wines

  20. Adam, if what you say is true, then the winery shouldn’t be making Sauv Blanc in that site.

  21. Steve – When I first read this post I truly thought you were joking, but then I realized it was June 1st not April 1st. I’m not sure I know what quality means when we’re talking wine, and consequently I don’t know what the importance of scores are. Some people like a little cat pee, or Brett, or VA, or you name it. And these are people with fine and experienced palates. As a case in point, there was a recent blog in WS about the ’97 Harlan Estate. There were at least a couple critics that gave it a 100pts back in the day, but those critics and others now say it did and does have too high VA. Go figure. You’ve mentioned that Screaming Eagle isn’t even close to being your favorite CA cab, but apparently there are many people that disagree with you. So where does that leave us on this topic? And counter to your statement, you can’t taste wine objectively because it’s a purely subjective experience, and why would any winemaker wanting to do something special care about what the mainstream thinks?

  22. Thanks, Adam. fpr the thought-provoking response. I appreciate that you were asking about what 87 points means, and my reaction was to the notion that some people might think it means trashy. I suppose for some critics, it does, and I guess I don’t read them because they are the ones who have done so much damage to the notion that fair and thoughtful criticism can also include a numerical rating that is understandable and useful.

    As for how much can be done on one site, I leave that to you with this one comment. I have stood in vineyards with viticulturists who tell me that they can alter the mix of leaves, shading, crop load, timing of green harvest, applications of water, etc, and change the character of their Sauv Blancs. And given the ability to add acid (judiciously, one hopes) it is possible to get a little more ripeness and still have integrated and vital acidity at differing levels of alcohol (Brix at picking).

    Now, that is as far as I am going to go in the discussion of vineyard practices, but I am not exaggerating about what I have been told by very good growers and not just here in CA.

    Finally, you are absolutely right that a review, even the best review short of a short story, cannot tell you about how a wine got to be the way it did. It can only tell you, or any of us, what the wine is like, and, in this case, what Steve likes. If a winery decides to alter its style based on what it perceives as an acceptable approach, then it has to figure out if it can get to that point given a particular site. And, as you point out so acutely, the site sometimes just will not be dictated to.

  23. I can see that the term Chasing Scores is miss used and over used in a lot of publications but I think you and anyone can appreciate the frustration for a winemaker or retailer that is proud and excited about a wine they are presenting only to be asked by the consumer. How many points did it get. That is like a party guest sizing up your parenting skills by asking about your kids SAT scores. It may carry some truth but it should not be the all encompassing and final judgment.

    The better term would be misusing or misunderstanding scores. As many consumers use the score as a reflection of status and taste instead of a guideline to what that reviewer perceives as quality. They walk up to a wine variety or region that they no nothing about and grab the wine with the most press or highest score assuming that 85 points means ‘I will not like this wine” 91 points means “I will love this wine”. And as we all know that is not the case.

    If anything instead of going into a store and looking for anything with 90+ points the consumer would be better off telling a educated wine steward. I really like a Steve Heimoff style wine. Or I am a big into Parker style wines. Exc…. More often than not a educated steward could show you plenty of wines you would like rated or not by knowing the style of wines the reviewer likes. Albiet. This will be no help at Safeway!

  24. If some winery is consistently buying full page ads in WS, WE, or whatever do they get preferential treatment when it’s time the rate their wines? Maybe throw in a “Best Buy” or something?

    Scores catch my attention, even though I’ve tasted many high point wines that have truly disappointed.

  25. Jake: Don’t be silly.

  26. I have had the fortunate pleasure of presenting my Pinot Noir directly to consumers in my Tasting Room in Anderson Valley for a year and a half. Here, the public tastes without any previous judgment or background of a 100 point score. It is the experience right here right now. My customers taste several different personalities of Pinot Noir and will pick their favorite or pick all for an eclectic experience. I dont adjust my wines to their preference of taste, mouthfeel or bouquet. Nor do I intend to create the same experience for each wine. Who wants to listen to the same song over and over again on your itunes playslist? Or look at the same painting in every room in your house? Artists are not interested in repetition either. Pinot Noir is an artform, a unique expression of its vintage, vineyard or blend. One of my most popular fasting selling Pinot Noirs never submitted for review, was reviewed by customers as their favorite cigar, the dairy farm they grew up on, the sweat from their spouse. It may never be repeated.

  27. David T says:

    Scores imply wine can be assesed objectively, free from context such as setting, age of bottle on tasting date (3 months from bottling? 6 months? 12?), other wines recently tasted, food (or lack thereof), length of time with the wine (30 seconds assessing one ounce? Or 90 minutes with a bottle over a meal?). or the highly evolved personal bias of a “wine professional” who gets all his wine for free.

    Even if the “wine professional” believes he can ignore the effects of these and other factors (which of course he cannot), he is quite simply perpetuating a lie to his readers of he implies (as he must to collect his paycheck) that his “score” will have any value to them in any other context.

  28. First off, the younger generation does know who Parker is. And they know he is the enemy. Whether he wants it or not, he wields too much power. But that is another post altogether . . . .

    Steve, I certainly do appreciate and enjoy your tasting notes. Usually reading the note gives me a very good sense of whether it’s a wine worth buying or not based on my tastes and interests. I do think to a large extent an objective, independent note is helpful for both consumer and producer.

    But then you bring in scores and everything sensible flies out the window. Above a certain threshold of craftsmanship, you’re no longer subtracting points for flaws, but adding points for how much you like a wine. This is where it gets funny. I’ll read a note that says a wine is sweet and overripe but still gets an 86. A wine that is green and astringent gets an 81. How do you assign a value judgment to a given flaw? Or better yet a value judgment to qualities you enjoy?

    There is most definitely a certain formula to what you like–you have basically spelled out what you find to be a good Sauv Blanc. To my palate this sounds like a superior wine to a flawed one. But if everyone makes their SB to your preferences, that excludes other possibilities. Sure, the herbal, thin possibility and the sweet flabby possibility are not good quality, but everyone making wine to one formula does homogenize the end product.

  29. Hey, David–

    Try explaining that to the millions of people who pay for ratings all over the world.

    And just one little point. If all wine is free, which of those thousands of bottles receives the most bias? Of course, if they are all biased to the same degree, because they are all free, then none gets more benefit than the others.

  30. Greg, all I can say is that I put myself out there to readers to poke and prod me and push me around and challenge me and ask me questions, and it’s all good. I’ll never be able to satisfy everybody concerning my methodology. My reviews and scores will always be suspect to some people. There’s nothing I can do about that. But I do appreciate being pushed beyond my comfort zone to address these issues. It’s something I didn’t anticipate when I started blogging, but I’m glad it happened. Comments like yours force me to re-examine my methods, my presuppositions and my preferences.

  31. Carlos Toledo says:

    Steve,

    if people (winemakers, journalists, pundits, ETs, that priest who knows nothing about wine, Prince, etc etc etc) understood how the 100 points score system is reached they’d stop bothering the world with these issues. Parker has given very high scores to many types of wine he is known for not having at home. Yes, he may love Bordeaux, but he’s given very low scores to thousands of bordeauxs too.

    Having 15% alcohol, lots of tannins, lots of fruit isn’t enough to guarantee 100 + + + + points with any serious wine critic. It can’t be enough.

    Am i almost alone in this reasoning? Am i too off here? I might be, gawd knows….i have very little experience compared to 99% (not 100!) of you all.

  32. I think this argument would be a lot less relevant if folks recognized scores for what they are- a numerical representation of one person’s opinion. It’s not scoring that is the problem per se, it’s the acceptance of the opinions of a select few people as fact that seems to be the trouble. The authoritative tone of our industry has got the average consumer feeling like they aren’t smart enough to trust their own likes and dislikes. Every person’s palate varies, so the fact that one person’s score (aka opinion) can determine the success of a wine in the marketplace is ludicrous.

  33. Go Super Steve!

  34. Another well-crafted controversial post to suck us all in and maintain your high traffic stats. ; ). But really, yawn.

    I am not sure customers “like” scores but rather they use them because that’s the only thing available to help with a purchase decision. And as wine lovers do we really want score lemmings out there rather than helping them join our club? Sales staff aren’t going try and educate the buyer when all he has to say is “look! 98 pts”

    Take consumer reports as an example. They review products and provide a ton of information to help purchasing decisions rather than just give it a score. Why can’t we do something similar for wine and provide more “value”?

  35. Ed: Score lemmings! Love it.

  36. seriously? You really need to ask or you are at a loss for a blog topic today?

  37. David Hance says:

    I’m waiting for the 100 point scale to be effectively used to rate music, books, paintings, sculptures, theatrical performances, and relationships (particularly relationships). Simpler methods (A-B-C-D-F grading, and the variations thereupon — stars, puffs, thumbs up or down, etc) are too vague. Wait until my friends begin to worry about the nice differences between my 82 and 87 point ratings assigned to them. And I suppose my wife really does deserve that 100 points.

  38. Aaron Inman says:

    Remember, there are many fish in the sea and you are only one of them. Suggesting that a winemaker change their style to suit one critic (even if the person has an amazing pallet) disturbs me. I have witnessed the same wine scoring a 88 by one critic, and 93 by another. Which critic is right? Who should the winemaker change to suit? Inconsistencies can unveil objective declarations for what they are, Subjective!

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