Friday, June 22, 2007

Tasting Notes and Scores

I want to touch a little on my thoughts about tasting notes and giving wine scores.

First, on the subject of tasting notes. We plan to put up tasting notes for many of the wines we drink. You'll notice that Sirpa and I don't agree on everything most of the time, and that is what's great about wine. Different people have different palates, with different likes and dislikes. I'm not a fan of big, tannic red wines (Such as Cab Sauv or Syrah), but Sirpa loves those kinds of wines. Bottom line, if we recommend a wine, you should try it. Ha, that sounds kind of bossy. Don't take our word, or anybody else's for that matter, on what a wine tastes like. Try it for yourself and see what you think. You are the ultimate judge on what you like.

Now, about wine scores. I really hate how wine scores have taken over the marketing of wine, especially the 100 point system. Most of the time, the 100 point system isn't a full 100 points, but really only 30 points (70-100). Robert Parker's published system is only 50 points (50-100). So now what makes a wine score an 89 instead of a 90? That could come down to taste preferences (see above). For instance, Parker likes big, tannic wines, and scores those highest. This leads to Pinot Noir not getting very high scores, because it is a more elegant and delicate wine.

So my plan is to use a 10 point system, and truly utilize the full 10 points. Points will be awarded based upon all aspects of the wine, including: how complex the wine is, how nice it is to drink, what the nose is like, the color, the mouthfeel, and how good of a wine it is compared to similarly priced wines and wines of the same varietal. For example, LaVelle Vineyard's 2005 Pinot Noir would get a 8 or 9 from me, because it is a very nice wine at a really great price. On the other hand, Erath's Juliard Vineyard Pinot Noir would also get an 8 or 9, even though it is a better wine. The difference is in the price points. By price, the Juliard is more of a special occasion wine ($35-40), where the LaVelle falls into the every day drinker category ($20-$25). If the Juliard was priced at $20-$25, it would be a 10 point wine. Wines under a score of 5 should be avoided, and anything above a 6 is drinkable and good.

Now, also keep in mind that our palates change throughout time. I will try and revist wines when I have the opportunity, and we'll have to go back and compare scores and notes. As I said in regards to the tasting notes above, take my scores with a grain of salt. Hopefully the scores I give will just help weed out the bad wines, and maybe get you to try a wine you might end up likeing. I definitely want to compare tasting notes, so if you have any about the wines I try, please let me know.

Link to LaVelle Vineyards

Link to Erath

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