You'll have realized by now, I suspect,
that after each tasting note, I give wines a score out of 100.
Initially, when I started out, I simply used a verbal scale, with the
categories poor, OK, good, very good, very good+, very good/excellent
and excellent. You'll still find some of the older notes on this site
are rated this way.
But a few years back, I switched to
the 100-point scale, popularized by famous US wine critic Robert
Parker. This is because the 100-point system has become the standard
for assessing fine wine, and most people are familiar and comfortable
I'm not totally happy with the
100-point scale for a number of reasons. First, I
think it has an illusion of precision that just isn't possible with
Second, people treat Parker scores as a property of
the wine itself, and not as one taster's impression on one particular day.
Third, it only really scores over
quite a compressed range. It's rare to find a wine that gets awarded
fewer than 80 points, unless it's really, really bad. And most wines
tend to score in the 85-95 point range.
Indeed, you'll probably have noticed
that many wines rated here and on my blog
seem to score in this 85-95 10-point range. This is partly because
many wines which score lower don't justify a write-up, and partly
because I'm only rarely drinking wines that are astonishingly, mind-blowingly
good and worthy of more than 95 points. It does mean that there's a
strong clustering from 88-93, and even a one-point difference in this
zone can signify quite a bit in terms of quality.
Of course, I could use a broader
scale, and give poor wines, say 30/100 and leave myself a lot more
room in the higher register. But it's not my scale, and if I were to
devise my own version of the 100-point system, I'd confuse a lot of
readers who by now are very familiar with Parker's scoring.
There's no breakdown of these scores
(for example, I don't give 20 points for the nose, 40 points for the
palate etc.) - I see the wine as a whole and rate it according to my
For the sake of reference, here's my
old verbal scale with the 100-point equivalent scores.
(Don't drink, pour down
the sink - below 75/100)
(Mediocre stuff, just
about palatable, but not really worth the effort of drinking
(Acceptable quality plonk - definitely
a commodity wine; 79-81?)
- Very good
interesting wine with some appeal; 82-85?)
- Very good+
effort, worth seeking out, especially if the price is right - an
86-89 point wine)
- Very good/excellent
(A superb wine; this would probably be equivalent to a Parker score
(The very best
wines; a stunning effort - 95+)
Last updated: May 2009
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