Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Reliable Are Ratings?

I give ratings points, as people demand it, but it is important to understand that the assessment of a wine depends on many things. Let me list a few

Temperature: aromas and flavours of a wine vary dramatically with temperature. The sweet spot for each wine is only a few degrees. Cooler or warmer will make the wine less appealing.
- Breathing: the same applies for how long the wine has been opened, and how long it has been in the glass. You would have experienced significant changes, even from the first to, say, the third taste. And there is no exact science about the optimum breathing time.
- Bottle variation: this is mainly due to cork, but even under screwcap variations exist if there is variation between barrels, for example, in the winery.
- Occasion: The context influences one's judgement. Friends, food, location and ambiance all have an influence.

So what are the chances, these factors are always the same or at optimum levels? Have we all bought a bottle we loved at a tasting or winery or abroad, and it tasted ordinary at home?

I try to keep these influences under control in my assessments, but I am not a lab. I always encourage people to place more emphasis on the wine description, and to work out for yourself which elements appeal to you.

Any comments?


Anonymous said...

Hello Thomas,
Reading reviews this has at times been an issue i have wrestled with. I have wondered if there is a STANDARD process that a reviewer, such as yourself must adopt to assess a wine , the same as the next reviewer and the next and so on.
It would seem you have answered that question, so thankyou.
Personally, the rating system is not one that i pay particular attention to. I am more interested in the descriptors a particular reviewer may use. I have found that i target experienced reviewers who are prepared to criticise their preferred or favorite wines.
I am An advocate for the occassional negative comment.........for me this conveys a higher level of Independance and honesty.
As usual there is much sense in what you say.
Incidentally, bought your book will provide a review


Colin r

Alontin said...

Thank you, Colin. I appreciate your comments.