Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2008

wine rating system

I am proud to introduce the new wine rating system for the wines I/we are tasting. 

The Boku Heim tasting crew agreed (after long discussions) on this new rating system inspired by the book of Dr. Tyler Colman (Wine politics, blog:Dr Vino's wine blog) and based on the rating system of Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher (columnists and bloggers for the Wall Street Journal; Wine Notes and Tastings; Columns & Blogs - Lifestyle -

The advantage (for critics and consumers) of numbers is ... they are absolute! 93 points are better than 88 pts (on a scale from 0 to 100 ...  in Austria more from 85 to 100).
On the other hand wine consumers (or every other person) are tending more to describe their percepted sensations with adjectives than numbers. Something is ugly, good, bad, delicious, crap, ... You don´t say your steak, your date or your wine was 88 ... The first decision is: was it GOOD or BAD.

The key of this problem is hidden in the definition of absolute: 

absolute: a value or principle that is regarded as universally valid or that may be viewed without relation to other things

95 points are universally valid ... but just for the person who has tasted the wine.
without relation to other things ... what the heck ... first of all we are the other things and there is always a relation to us ... as well as the tasting environment, the food we eat with our wine, our mood ... everything influences our perceptions and therefore the very same wine tastes different on a terrace in Italy or 3 months later at home.

All this things made us think about to adopt a better system to express our perceptions of a certain wine. The rating system relies on adjectives rather than numbers and may vary on the same wine in different situations. (Nobody is perfect!)

These adjectives are:

The rating system

yech (speak: jek) - wines with winemaking related faults (cork taints and oxidation failures are excluded and stated as cork or ox)
ok - wines without faults but simple.
good - satisfactory wines which are showing nice flavors on the nose and the palate. Good value for money.
very good - wines are showing good expression of the variety with very typical aromas on the nose and the palate. Good value for money but definitely in a higher price range.
delicious - extremely good wines with great power, balance and length, with potential.
extraordinary - exceptional wines, perfectly balanced with great potential.

Half steps between adjectives are possible!


  1. Your system is actually the equivalent of a 6-point system. If you allow halfway adjectives, it's a 12-point system. I use the 100 point system at Wine Enthusiast Magazine, but my ratings are always accompanied by word descriptions, which I hope people read! Unfortunately, too many people look only at the number.

  2. Hey Steve,

    yes actually you are right! The problem are just the numbers. As soon as you add numbers people believe a 92 has to be better than a 91. Unconsciously they are cutting out their own taste and are relying just on these numbers.
    Recently I found this page and I hope that´s not the future.

    During my enology study I came across a master thesis from a german based psychologist.
    She made trials with novices and expert tasters. Both groups had to taste 6 white and 6 red wines and match them with given wine descriptions. No significant result.
    One can say ... ok the wine descriptions are from somebody else ... you may taste different.
    Next trial:
    Everybody had to write his own descriptions ... one week later same procedure as above .. match your description with the wine. No significant results!!

    resume: everybody tastes different and the "normal" consumers are not able to match a number or wine description to a certain wine.

    On the other hand: wine tastings are really great fun and I love to discuss different wines with different people. If you would like to know more about an Austrian wine, please let me know and we are going to taste it.