This was Gary’s Newsletter on 11/8/2012…
Some of our customers get confused with the numerical rating system on wine. They see a wine with 88 points and another wine with 91 points. In fairness to our customers the numeric rating system is a recent phenomenon. Robert Parker, founder of the Wine Advocate, introduced the numerical point system of grading wines in the 1970’s. The turn of the 21st century saw a surge by consumers in taking these scores more seriously in their purchases of wine.
The system to rate a wine is done with points, 50 to 100. You can relate this system to an A to F “grade.” In general, a 85 to 90 point score on wine is considered “above average” to “good”. 90 to 95 points is “outstanding” and 95 to 100 points is “extraordinary.” Where the rating system gets confusing is the person or organization that is issuing the ratings. Everybody’s taste is different.
It’s up to you what magazine or critic you want to believe in. Most retailers tend to use the highest rating they can find. They believe their customers will ignore who actually gave a wine their score. A real liquor store posts ratings based on the credibility of the person, not because the score was high. Robert Parker with the Wine Advocate and Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar are the two best wine critics. They receive no endorsement money or advertising dollars from other wineries.
If you are ever in doubt about what wines to buy, Robert Parker says “ask the people that sell wine for a living.”