Why I Don’t Use Wine Scores

The February 2nd Vintages release features an article on the 100 point scoring system along with several selections to try. Most of you will know that I find wine scoring to be terribly misleading and a bit of an ego trip for the critic. Its greatest flaw is it assumes that pleasure comes soley from the wine with no thought for context or mood. Just about all high scoring wines are super rich, a bit serious and totally inappropriate for most of life’s drinking and social occasions. Scoring places ‘bigness’ above delicacy. Monster wines get monster scores. All other styles are scored less and are therefore considered less good.

Wine, or anything for that matter, can only be good at, or for something – it can’t just be good in itself. Wine scoring fosters the belief that the higher the score the ‘better’ the wine. More pleasure to be had. But Beethoven and you’ll be happy!

Wine scoring is an American invention and the writers who use it seem to have very strong American sensibilities. They love comfort, softness, richness and sweetness, and all things obvious. They dislike any form of challenge, adventure or mystery. If you would like to sample a couple of 90 point wines by America’s most celebrate wine critic, Robert Parker Jr, try the following: Maxwell Four Roads Shiraz (57000 $21.90 page 10 in the catalogue) and Pillar Box Red (685941 $17.40 page 9). Both drinks seem to be modeled on Port, and are more closely related to chocolate than wine.

My pet boring/hate wine in this release is Bodega Cyan ’12 Messes’ Toro, Spain (66936 $16.75 page 17) a 90 pointer by Jay Miller (an associate of Parker). It’s a big, chunky, awkward brute. Shades of a really bad monster home.

What do YOU think? Would love to hear from you.

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