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Thread: Something I've been meaning to ask Stu.........

  1. #1
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    Something I've been meaning to ask Stu.........

    Here in CA, for about the last couple of weeks, there has been a radio ad campaign for a chain of stores (I don't know if it's national or not) called "Beverages and More", shortened to just "BevMo" (I'm sure to make it more hip, here in CA anyway).

    This particular ad campaign has featured a sale on certain "rated"(?) wines? They have people (actors) mentioning "90 point wines". I've been here in Northern CA all my life, we have a few wines here as you know, and I've never heard of a point rating system relating to wines. Have you?

    I'm thinking that it's just some froofie, made up rating thing to hype wines here or maybe just in the "BevMo" product gatalog. Heaven knows that we have a corner on the market of froofiness here in CA.
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  2. #2
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    Mark,
    Wines are rated on a scale of something to 100...Mags like Wine Spectator and others have experts taste wine and rate them. Robert M. Parker Jr., the wine critic, is credited with devising the numerical rating system in his buying guide. Above 90 is considered excellant....but of course it's also about your own personel taste. IMHO it's somewhat what nonsensical...because we have found some really good wines that weren't that high on the points list. For some people who don't want to just take a chance and spend the money (which for me the adventure is fun) it gives you some idea of what others think have good quality/taste.
    Last edited by Glenn Clabo; 11-15-2006 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Added some info

  3. #3
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    Glenn has it right, Robert Parker, set up the 100 point scale, and anything over 90 is VERY good.

    It is HIS rating to HIS taste, and he makes that VERY clear in his publication "The Wine Advocate".

    I've met the man a few times here in Japan, one heck of a nice guy, easy going, loves good wine, good company, and he like to eat

    Attachment 810

    The whole Parker Point system is good in many ways, and has been a boon and a pain too. The boon is that because of his blind tastings, he don't care how much the bottle costs or the name on it, he forced many older famous houses to clean up their act, they had been resting on their past achievments for many years. I truly think that in part because of Mr. Parker's enthusiasum for wine, that we are living in a golden age of wine, that is truly remarkable.

    I have a good two dozen wines in my shop, if not more, that for under $15 are GOOD bottles of wine, some as cheap as $8 (prices are anywhere from 30% to 100% more here than I see in the US, so take that into account).

    I think that a lot of people now use the 100 point system, and like I said it is good, as if you see a bottle of wine and it is rated 85 RP Points, the chances are you are going to get a good bottle of wine, the bane of all of this is when a decent bottle of wine is rated highly, the price soars, and I've seen wine in one year go from $12 a bottle to $75 a bottle, just because Parker gave it a 95 point rating, such is life.

    Here, read this, most people who complain about Parker have NEVER read and understood this.............

    Robert Parker's rating system employs a 50-100 point quality scale. It is my belief that the various twenty (20) point rating systems do not provide enough flexibility and often result in compressed and inflated wine ratings. The Wine Advocate takes a hard, very critical look at wine, since I would prefer to underestimate the wine's quality than to overestimate it. The numerical ratings are utilized only to enhance and complement the thorough tasting notes, which are my primary means of communicating my judgments to you.



    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.


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


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


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


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


    A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

    Scores in parentheses indicate that the wine was tasted from barrel.

    When possible all of my tastings are done in peer-group, single-blind conditions, (meaning that the same types of wines are tasted against each other and the producers' names are not known). The ratings reflect an independent, critical look at the wines. Neither price nor the reputation of the producer/grower affect the rating in any manner. I spend three months of every year tasting in vineyards. During the other nine months of the year, six and sometimes seven-day workweeks are devoted solely to tasting and writing. I do not participate in wine judgings or trade tastings for many reasons, but principal among these are the following:
    (1) I prefer to taste from an entire bottle of wine, (2) I find it essential to have properly sized and cleaned professional tasting glasses, (3) the temperature of the wine must be correct, and (4) I prefer to determine the time allocated to the number of wines to be critiqued.

    The numeral rating given is a guide to what I think of the wine vis-ŕ-vis its peer group. Certainly, wines rated above 85 are very good to excellent, and any wine rated 90 or above will be outstanding for its particular type.

    While some have suggested that scoring is not well suited to a beverage that has been romantically extolled for centuries, wine is no different from any consumer product. There are specific standards of quality that full-time wine professionals recognize, and there are benchmark wines against which others can be judged. I know of no one with three or four different glasses of wine in front of him or her, regardless of how good or bad the wines might be, who cannot say, "I prefer this one to that one." Scoring wines is simply taking a professional's opinion and applying some sort of numerical system to it on a consistent basis. Scoring permits rapid communication of information to expert and novice alike.
    The score given for a specific wine reflects the quality of the wine at its best. I often tell people that evaluating a wine and assigning a score to a beverage that will change and evolve in many cases for up to 10 or more years is analogous to taking a photograph of a marathon runner. Much can be ascertained but, like a picture of a moving object, the wine will also evolve and change. Wines from obviously badly corked or defective bottles are retasted, since a wine from a single bad bottle does not indicate an entirely spoiled batch. Many of the wines reviewed have been tasted many times, and the score represents a cumulative average of the wine's performance in tastings to date.


    Scores, however, do not reveal the important facts about a wine. The written commentary that accompanies the ratings is a better source of information regarding the wine's style and personality, its relative quality vis-ŕ-vis its peers, and its value and aging potential than any score could ever indicate.


    Here then is a general guide to interpreting the numerical ratings:
    90-100 is equivalent to an A and is given only for an outstanding or special effort. Wines in this category are the very best produced of their type. There is a big difference between a 90 and 99, but both are top marks. As you will note through the text, there are few wines that actually make it into this top category because there are not many great wines.

    80-89 is equivalent to a B in school and such a wine, particularly in the 85-89 range, is very, very good; many of the wines that fall into this range often are great values as well. I have many of these wines in my personal collection.

    70-79 represents a C, or average mark, but obviously 79 is a much more desirable score than 70. Wines that receive scores between 75 and 79 are generally pleasant, straightforward wines that lack complexity, character, or depth. If inexpensive, they may be ideal for uncritical quaffing.

    Below 70 is a D or F, depending on where you went to school. For wine, it is a sign of an imbalanced, flawed, or terribly dull or diluted product that will be of little interest to the discriminating consumer.

    In terms of awarding points, my scoring system gives every wine a base of 50 points. The wine's general color and appearance merit up to 5 points. Since most wines today are well made, thanks to modern technology and the increased use of professional oenologists, they tend to receive at least 4, often 5 points. The aroma and bouquet merit up to 15 points, depending on the intensity level and dimension of the aroma and bouquet as well as the cleanliness of the wine. The flavor and finish merit up to 20 points, and again, intensity of flavor, balance, cleanliness, and depth and length on the palate are all important considerations when giving out points. Finally, the overall quality level or potential for further evolution and improvement—aging—merits up to 10 points.

    Scores are important for the reader to gauge a professional critic's overall qualitative placement of a wine vis-ŕ-vis its peer group. However, it is also vital to consider the description of the wine's style, personality, and potential. No scoring system is perfect, but a system that provides for flexibility in scores, if applied by the same taster without prejudice, can quantify different levels of wine quality and provide the reader with one professional's judgment.

    However, there can never be any substitute for your own palate nor any better education than tasting the wine yourself.
    Did you read that?

    Now what do you think?

    While you may have the corner on "froofiness" I do not think this is an example of it

    Cheers!

  4. #4
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    Thanks very much guys. That WAS very intresting reading. I also Googled Robert Parker and found out a little more about him and his history and rating system. I see that his system is definately serious business.

    However, I also went to "BevMo's" site and saw that they are in fact a California chain (Even though on the "Select a city" pull down menu the first choice is Arizona. Is Arizona a city of California? ). So, while I see and understand now that the point rating system(s) are for real, I'll bet you 589 yen that "BevMo" is marketing to the froofiness of Californians. I'd bet you another 589 yen that 95% of the people who go there to buy a "90 pint wine" have no clue as to what they are buying and are only buying it to say that they bought a 90 point wine.......Okay, maybe 85%. But hey, that's the free market at work I guess.

    There have been a couple of wine ads on the radio in the past few years that have really gotten under my skin. I really get bugged by the pretend sophistication/sophicated palettes (froofiness) of people who shop at Walmart while carrying their Starbucks cups and complaining that because of the price of gas for their Escalades and Navigators they have to shop at Walmart!

    (OH........I'm so elitist in my anti-elitist rantings. )

    Thanks again Stu and Glenn. Have a happy day!
    Last edited by Mark Rios; 11-15-2006 at 07:38 PM.
    Thanks, Mark.

    Custom Bonehead.

    My diet is working good. I'm down to needing just one chair now.

    "Just think how stupid the average person is, and then realize that half of them are even stupider!" --George Carlin

  5. #5
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    Thanks Stu! I need to print this out so I can refer to it. I knew enough to be dangerous.

    I still like the of trying different wine...and beer. I got my own points system in my head.

  6. #6
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    I sell wine, I have to know a lot about it, part of the job, but I know exactly what you are talking about when it comes to "pretend sophistication/sophicated palettes (froofiness) of people" even people in the industry can be subject to this silliness. It's like they want to out word the other guy

    When customers come into my shop, looking for me to recommend a wine they always say "Which wine is good?" and I always answer "All of them", they usually say something to the effect of "Ya right " but I insist, all of my wine is good wine, why on God's green earth would I have wine that is NOT good in my shop? Do you go to a restaurant and say "Oh, do you have any dishes that taste lousy?" nope.

    I have a few basic questions for them, when they want me to recommend a wine;

    1) Red, white, Rose, still, sparkling, sweet, dry...?

    2) Price range, how much they want to spend.
    If they want to spend max $20, then I know the bottles that might be good to suggest, but I don't always suggest a $18 or $20 bottle, sometimes I suggest a $12 bottle, as it fits the need they have.

    3) Do they have a country or region preference?

    4) Are they matching the wine with food, if so what?

    5) What do they like?

    The last one is the most important, because if a wine has a 90 point rating, but it is a style that they customer does not like, then the 90 points mean nothing. Some like full bodied heavy duty reds, some like the more elegant cool reds, some like the hot climate cooked spicy reds, don't matter much, as it is the quintessential "Personal Taste" situation

    Most everyone knows what they like, so if they can tell me just a bit of info on that, then I can do my job of finding a wine for them. I'm fairly good at it, I must be, as I have a number of customers that e-mail me with a few bits of info and tell me they want say 12 bottles and they want to spend "X" amount of money. I pick the wines, box them up and send the wine, they keep coming back, so I must be doing something right

    Glen, I like the off the beaten track wines too, everyone can recommend a wine that has been a top scorer in two or three publications, nothing wrong with that, but I like to find things that are not well known and if good carry them. I think my customers appreciate it, as they get to do the adventure part, but without buying a bunch of questionable wine and only finding a few gems

    I've been to tastings of importers where we tasted maybe 100 bottles, and out of those, I found maybe 3 or 4 that I would buy and stock. Where the rest bad, yes, some were CRAP, but most were just uninspiring.

    Well that is enough on the subject to bore you to tears....

    Yes I ramble about the wine thing too, not just wood working!

    Cheers!

  7. #7
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    Mark, they don't give any points to screw top wines.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Arnold View Post
    Mark, they don't give any points to screw top wines.
    And I think the box is an automatic 30-point deduction, too.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    And I think the box is an automatic 30-point deduction, too.
    Even if you get it from Trader Joe's?

  10. #10
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    Guys the screw top thing is coming, trust me, even some of the top wine makers are looking into it, and some of the BEST wines from Australia have screw tops.

    A certain percentage of wine is ruined all the time by problems with the corks, to them having voids that the wines loose their seal, which means you get vinegar, to the corks having a bacteria or fungus on them that destroys the wine, to failure to hold a seal over an extended period of aging (30 to 40 years). One thing I know, if you paid $400 or $500 and the bottle of wine was ruined by a fifty cent cork, you'd be saying some bad words!

    The screw caps have none of these problems.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

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