Thursday, July 16, 2015
How Reliable Are Ratings?
- 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.