Monday 18 May 2009

How to Understand Wine Rating Systems

Many people use wine ratings to help them choose wines. These
rating systems can be confusing because there is no standard for
how they rate wine or even what factors they use to rate the
wine. Since there is no main standard recognized by the
industry, you have to take it upon yourself to review the rating
system you are using.

There are several wine rating systems in use that are quite
popular. Below is a brief explanation of two popular systems:
The Wine Advocate Rating System and The Connoisseurs Guide to
California Wine. As you can see by the names of these rating
systems that some systems rate only specific types of wine.

Basics to Know

The main thing you have to recognize about rating systems is
that they are very biased. One person usually writes the
ratings, and they are solely based upon his or her specific
tastes. So, the only way to get real use out of a rating system
is to find one that suits your tastes.

You need to start by reading wine ratings and then tasting the
wine yourself. Then you can see if you agree or disagree with
the rating. Do this for a variety of ratings and try out a few
different wines that each system rates. Eventually you should
find a rating system that matches with your tastes. You can then
use that system to help you choose new wines.

The Wine Advocate Rating System

The Wine Advocate Rating System is written by Robert Parker and
runs from 50 to 100. The ratings are based upon the color,
appearance, aroma, bouquet, flavor and overall quality of the
wine. Anything over 80 is considered very good and anything over
90 is considered excellent. You know better the cost of a bottle
of wine and the wine's ratings.

Connoisseur's Guide to California Wine

The Connoisseur's Guide to California Wine is a magazine that
rates wine from 90 to 100. It uses a star system to rate wine.

• A rating of 80 to 86 is good but there is a note that it
• A rating of 87 to 90 gets one star.
• A rating of 91 to 94 gets 2 stars and
• A rating of 95 to 98 gets 3 stars.

Each star is representative of how good the wine is, but the
ratings number system is still used to distinguish between those
on the low end of the spectrum. For example, a two star wine
with a rating of 94 will be better than a two star wine with a
rating of 91.

As you can see, rating systems vary greatly in many aspects.
You alone can decide what makes a good rating system. Everyone
is different. Even once you find a good rating system you may
disagree from time to time with the ratings. Only you can really
rate wine and how it tastes to you, but rating systems can be a
handy guide when you are looking to try something new or choose
a good wine for a special occasion.

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