Everything you need to know about wine scores…

Everything you need to know about wine scores…

but didn’t ask because you’d never heard of them!

For most of us, tasting wine is a purely subjective experience. “Mmmm, nectar from heaven!” or “Ooooh, that’s a little tart on the tongue!” or sometimes, (but never as a result of drinking one of our wines from Campania!) ” Eeeek, that’s stripped all the enamel off my teeth…”

In reality, what’s important is that we enjoy our glass of wine, never mind any of its technical qualities such as the balance of sugars, tannins and acid. However, in wine circles, there are scoring systems which offer a more objective assessment of a wine’s quality.

A score acts as a guide for buyers and investors and can appear in a wine critic’s or seller’s description in newspapers and magazines, guides, websites and even on bottle labels. It can make or break a brand of wine – of course, the higher the score, the more a wine seller can charge per bottle.

The most common scoring system is the 100-point scale, made popular in the 1970s by Robert M Parker, leading US wine critic. It is not without its detractors, based on the American high-school marking system, so that the scale actually starts at 50. The first 50 points seem to be awarded simply for being a bottle of wine!

For example, a wine scoring between 50 and 74 is “not recommended” and 85-89 denotes a wine which is “very good, with special qualities.” Wines which achieve 95 to 100 are “classic.”

The other scale, favoured by British wine writer,  Jancis Robinson, has 20 points, attributed for flavour, colour and aroma as well as other more technical qualities. It does seem more user-friendly – a wine scoring 14 is “deadly dull,” 19, “a humdinger,” and 20, “truly exceptional” – but yet, the 100 point scale prevails.

For the most part, people choose their wines on the advice of friends or a trusted wine dealer, or because of the grape variety or even the pretty picture on the label. I’m here to tell you to do whatever works for you – EXCEPT – here at Campania Wines, we have just taken on the most sublime red wine, which has been awarded a very respectable 93 points by James Suckling. Feudi Di San Gregorio Serpico I.G.T. 2009. James Suckling is an American wine critic and journalist who spent 30 years writing for Wine Spectator magazine until leaving to start his own website. As a policy, Suckling focuses on wines rated higher than 90 points, creating the two-tier scale below.

James Suckling’s 100-point wine-scoring scale:

  • 95–100 – A ‘must buy’
  • 90–95 – Outstanding.                                                                                                                                                                              

I would urge you to try it, for the drinking experience of a lifetime.

Be very excited! I know I am.

A special thanks to Dan Page who kindly permitted Campania Wines to use his image in our blog. www.danpage.net