My Wine Rating Scale

by Tim Elliott on March 9, 2005

I have decided to start to rate the wines I taste and podcast/blog about on a 10-point scale. I have arrived at this decision as I prepare to post for Wine Blogging Wednesday later this evening, which should help readers/listeners relatively judge the wines tasted during this event. It will also make it easier for me to rank the “Best of Tasting” and “Best Value” wines in my upcoming listings and a future “Best…” round-up podcast.

“Why 10 points and not 100 points?”, you might ask. Like Alder over at Vinography, I think the 100-point scale made famous by The Wine Spectator is too fine a gauge for my palate, preferring to use 10 points as the top-end and half-points in between to delineate the scores a bit more precisely.

So here is my scale, with a cross reference to the subjective “word ranking” I have used up to now on Winecast:

Numerical Rank Word Rank Comments
10 Excellent Heitz “Martha’s Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 1974 comes to mind as the best wine I have ever had the good fortune to taste and would earn a “10”. This rating is reserved for classic wines.
9 Delicious A wine of complexity and distinction; the top-end of wines tasted on the show to date.
8 Very Good Highly recommended wine; one that I probably have in my cellar right now.
7 “Quaffable” Like Miles says in “Sideways“, a well made, but ultimately non-distinctive wine. Nothing wrong here, just not a transcendent wine experience.
6 Fair, but has noticeable flaws A drinkable wine, but one that is not recommended due to winemaking problems or thin fruit flavors.
5 Pretty bad A wine that is on the verge of being undrinkable; avoid!
4 Undrinkable I would demand a refund should I have the bad fortune to taste a wine that rates a 4 or below.

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