The Amazing 10 Star Wine Rating System

Wine RatingEverything is being rated by its peers nowadays. J.D. Powers rates businesses by how they perform. Credit agencies rate you and give you a score based on how you pay your bills. The judges at the Olympics rates and scores the athletes as they do their best to win a gold medal. And if you weren’t aware of it, wines are being rated and scored for their flavor and quality by wine critics, sommeliers, and wine and food writers. I don’t read about any cereal critics! I don’t hear of any bread critics! Not even a whisper of a peanut critic. But yes, wine is being evaluated based on someone’s opinion of what tastes good and what doesn’t. But again, this is usually just one person’s opinion so it is subjective and it may not be the opinion you agree with. Hopefully this wine critic has been in the wine business for many years, has tasted a plethora of wines, and is a certified sommelier so they are knowledgeable in what each style of wine should taste like!

But I am getting off track. Robert Parker who is a fantastic wine critic developed the current wine rating system back in the 1970’s. It is based on scores that would be between 50-100 points. (What happened to 1-49?). Here is the Robert Parker wine rating system as we know it today:

An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.

90 – 95:
An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.

80 – 89:
A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.

70 – 79:
An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.

60 – 69:
A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.

 50 – 59:                                                                                                                                                  A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

wine ratingsI am here to say that the current wine rating system is outdated and the scale can be condensed so it is easier to use. As a wine writer who does reviews and ratings, if a wine scores below 70 points, it should not be rated at all. With the current 100 point system, the numbers 1-59 are not used and all those wines below 70 have deficiencies or are said to be undrinkable. So why should we only use the top 1/3 of a 100 point scale? That current rating system is definitely usable but there must be a better system that we can use that would make better use of the scale numbers. Very rarely do you see a score of under 70 points anyway! For one thing, no one would want a wine under 70 points because of all the flavor deficiencies. Second, if you did score a wine under 70 points, it would embarrass the winery or wine maker so why would that information be revealed. Third, a store would not post this score on their shelves because no one would buy the wine. Most wines on your store shelf do not have a rating only because they have not submitted their wines to a wine critic to be rated. So there are many wonderful wines out there with no ratings at all! But for the wines that have been submitted for evaluation, those wines should have an easier, more condensed rating system.

I am suggesting what I call the 10 Star Rating System (which could actually use 20 points if you wanted to use half stars). Referring to the current 100 point system, this is how the 10 Star Rating System would compare:

  • 10* (10 Stars) = 98 – 100 Points “Perfection”
  • 9* (9 Stars) = 95 – 97 Points  “Extraordinary”
  • 8* (8 Stars) = 92 – 94 Points  “Superb”
  • 7* (7 Stars) = 89 – 91 Points  “Very Good”
  • 6* (6 Stars) = 86 – 88 Points  “Good”
  • 5* (5 Stars) = 83 – 85 Points  “Fair”
  • 4* (4 Stars) = 80 – 82 Points  “Average”
  • 3* (3 Stars) = 77 – 79 Points  “Below Average”
  • 2* (2 Stars) = 74 – 76 Points  “Mediocre”
  • 1* (1 Star) = 70 – 73 Points   “Substandard”

judgesAnything below 70 points would not be worth buying or drinking anyway. So not advertising a substandard wine to the public would help the wine maker or winery keep their reputation. If the wine is below 1 Star, we should use Undrinkable in conversation but wouldn’t print that and embarrass the winery (unless the winery wants the world to know!). And if you really needed to make a point that your reviewed wine was 91 points (for example), you could use 7.5* if you really, seriously wanted to be exact. This would give you a little more flexibility and a touch more accuracy if you had to. If the wine has not been tasted, we would say/write “Not Rated”.

I am going to start to use this new 10 Star Wine Rating System from now on and see if it grows in popularity. I will probably use both ratings (the 10 Star and the 100 point rating) together through the end of 2016 and continue with the 10 Star. I am sure there may be other rating systems that use points, stars, corks, or numbers to evaluate wine or other products. I am interested in finding out what you may think of the 10 Star Rating System for wine! Contact me back on this website and let me know your thoughts. Until then, cheers to drinking some great 10* wines! WineSplashing!!


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