Wine: Points, Ratings & Best/Top of Lists

Wine: Points, Ratings & Best/Top of Lists

This is the time of the year when the Best (insert number here) Wines of 2019 and Top (insert number here) Wines Under (insert price here) of 2019 all appear in magazines and online on various websites. Publications in print and online like ”Wine Spectator,” ”Forbes,” ”Wine Enthusiast,” ”Decanter,” and ”The Wine Advocate,” from wine critics James Suckling, Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Neal Martin, and so many others proudly list points, ratings and best/top of lists. What does it all mean?

The 100-point system was developed by Robert Parker and became popular in the 1980s. The ratings apply more to how the wine reflects the typical characteristics of the grape/grapes from the region where the grapes were grown, and where the wine was made, rather than is it simply delicious. The 100-point system has become a benchmark system.

Rarely do you see ratings displayed under 80 points even though, technically, the scale begins at 50. Wines rated from 50 to 59 are flawed and deemed undrinkable. Those in the 60 to 69-point range are also flawed and not recommended, but they are drinkable. Wines deemed to taste average and also show flaws are rated from 70 to 80. The 80- to 84-point rated wines are considered in the above average to good range. Wines with ratings of 85 to 89 are judged as good to very good. Wines that are superior to exceptional are in the 90- to 94-point range, and finally, any wine above 95 and up to 100 points are benchmark or truly classic examples of that wine.

The scoring is obviously subjective, as the reviewing wine critic may have a personal preference for certain traits, styles, and characteristics. Some critics may rate wines lower than others. Some wines are rated based on a panel, rather than an individual reviewer.

How can you use ratings to assist you with your wine buying?  If you try a highly rated wine by a wine critic or panel from a publication and you really like that wine, maybe you should try another that is rated high from that same wine critic or panel. Maybe your palate and preferences seem to align with theirs, and it may give you a good idea before purchasing a new-to-you wine that you may very well enjoy.

If you are interested in trying a highly rated wine, we have the 2017 Torbreck Woodcutters Shiraz <> in stock. This wine recently received 93 points from both “Wine Spectator” and James Suckling, and also rated #32 wine on ”Wine Spectator” magazine’s Top 100 Wines of 2019 <>. The Torbreck would make a lovely holiday gift for your favorite wine lover, or a great wine to grace your own holiday table. The wine was also prominently featured in “Vinepair’s” <> article ”Here's Why Shiraz Is the Most Popular Red Wine in Australia” <>. ”Vinepair’s” article also mentions The Chook Sparkling Shiraz, and while we do not have that one in stock, we do have the 2017 The Chook Shiraz Viognier, <> which is Shiraz with a bit of Viognier co-fermented in it. The Viognier adds some acidity and fruit notes to the wine, and helps the wine retain its color!

While we may not have the other 99 wines that made Wine Spectator’s Top 100, we do have seven wines from five of the producers that made this year’s list. We have the 2013 Domaine de la Charbonnière Châteauneuf-du-Pape, <> which is an older vintage of the #30 wine, which was from the 2016 vintage. City Vino has the 2014 G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe, <> which is the prior vintage to the #48 wine, which is a 2015. Carole Shelton was the producer of the #41 wine for her 2017 Coquille Blanc, we have the 2015 Carol Shelton Karma, <> and 2016 Carol Shelton Wild Thing <>.

The #78 wine was the 2015 Languedoc Art de Vivre from Gerard Bertrand and we currently have the 2015 Gerard Bertrand Chateau La Sauvageonne Grand Vin Rouge <>. Finally, we have two wines from the producer of the #90 wine which was the Riesling Franken from Wirsching Iphofer. We have the 2016 Wirsching Iphofer Scheurebe Kabinett Trocken, <> and 2017 Wirsching Iphofer Silvaner Trocken <>.


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