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Whining About Wines . . . Points . . .

As a relatively new winery, I feel it is important for me to submit my wines to a select group of reviewers to get their feedback on my wines. Why? There are a few reasons I do this:

1) I am truly interested in their professional opinion about my wines – ‘they’ drink and review a lot more wines than I ever will . . .

2) Their reviews can only help me, as far as I’m concerned, in getting my wines known by more people in the ‘wine world’.

That said, the points that are associated with the reviews are certainly of interest to me, but they are not ‘end alls’. I am always amazed at the apparent disparity with the reviews of many wines, including mine, and the points that are awarded to them.

For instance, in the latest Wine Advocate, out 2006 Cuvee Christie GSM Blend had the following review:

The 2006 GSM Cuvee Christie, a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, reveals abundant aromas of cedar, spice, pepper, black cherries, and raspberries, a round, gracious texture, medium to full body, and a heady, pure finish with no hard edges. It is a seductive red to drink over the next 3-4 years.

I really enjoyed reading this review, for I think it captures the essence of the wine at this time, and is in line with what many who have tasted the wine at the various events I have poured at over the past 6 months.

At the bottom of the review are the ‘all important’ points . . .an 88. So does these points ‘match’ the review? I don’t know, but I’ve been told by a few who read it that they do not – that the points should have been higher . . .

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this issue – and not just about a specific reviewer, but about reviews and points in general . . .

Cheers!

4 responses to “Whining About Wines . . . Points . . .”

  1. Larry says:

    Pamela,

    Thanks for taking part in the discussion! Yep, what you said totally makes sense to me . . . and that’s partly what I’m trying to say as well . . .

    To me, the write up is the key . . . and puts things in terms that wine drinkers can hopefully relate to (unless terms used are so ‘winespeak’ that the average consumer can’t understand them!!!). The points are ‘nice’ – and doesn’t EVERYONE want to get an ‘A’ on the work they do?!?!?!?

    Of course, when each of the ‘teachers’ have their own set of subjective criteria they look for in a wine, it’s certainly not like making sure your time tables are correct, eh?

    Thanks again and hope to see you taking part in more of these (-:

    Cheers!

  2. Larry says:

    Jason,

    Thanks for the comments! I dislike ‘point chasers’ as well . . . way too ‘fashionable’ for me.

    And I agree – if you like the wine and write up a nice review, to me, this is no different than giving it an ‘A’ or a ‘XX’ score . . .

    Hope to see you take part in more of these (-:

    Cheers!

  3. Pamela says:

    I completely understand your frustration. I’m not sure this will help, but here is my perspective. The review is saying that it’s a well made wine. The reviewer obviously likes the wine…and in my eyes an 88 is a damn good score (B+, good job by the way).

    Maybe it would help to give you an example of one of my 90+ scoring wines:

    “…is a wine that flows effortlessly through all sensory aspects. It has a wonderful deep garnet color with a complex ripe black currant, blackberry and raspberry bouquet that impersonates the scent of the sweetest ripe fruit found at any berry patch field during strong windy gusts on a late summer day. Beautifully constructed, this wine displays intense blackberry, dried cherry and licorice flavors that harmonize with earthy flavors of clove, cedar, black pepper and spice; a full-bodied wine with great balance and a superb, intoxicating midpalate. The tantalizing spicy and robust finish complemented with dusty tannins will have you screaming for more.”

    Or…

    “…the brambly cedar nose was followed by a strong smokiness and intense dark fruit flavor mingled with tobacco and fennel. All this in a densely enjoyably chewy racy wine that brought home a smooth package of everything that could possibly happen to make a red wine legendary. I liked this wine enough to say it is probably the best wine that has graced my palate in the last five years.”

    Do you see the difference? When I write something like this, I hope to communicate the passion that comes from the bottle. So many wines are well made, and even downright sleek but what makes a wine reach the ♫ ♪ factor is that special note that puts it over the top. Does this make sense?

  4. jason hagen says:

    Love points! I started actually tracking my wines and keeping notes around ’97 … I still remember my favorites from years prior but I can’t revisit my previous thoughts when I drink the wines again. Blah blah blah. When I taste a wine I have some level of measurable enjoyment. Certainly setting and company play a part. To me there is no difference if I say this wine is great … or this wine is an “A” or an “A+”.

    When it comes to reviewers (I only subscribe to Burghound), I know the parameters and palate preferences.

    I don’t take any of it that serious. And I am totally sick of point bashing. I guess that is the cool thing to do. And if someone likes points they are “red baited” and referred to as point chasers. Many of us who enjoy reading scores (whether professional or on Cellartracker) don’t buy based on points. My short list of producers is fairly cemented.

    Point haters can ignore the points, so step off the high horse and let others enjoy them.

    🙂

    You need one those pot stirring things 🙂

    Cheers!