I don’t believe in points. That’s why there are no points or other ways of scoring in my tasting notes.
I think they’re more confusing than helpful, and that their reliability is so low as to render them useless. That’s why I never used any scoring system for reviewing wines on this blog, and never will.
One person’s brilliantly refreshing and mineral white can be another’s « teeth enamel removing wine with acid levels close to toxic, made by some sheep farmer on the north side of his 4,000-foot foot elevation vineyard picked two months before ripeness ». One would score it, say, 92, the other (that’s Robert M. Parker Jr., by the way) would barely grant it 55. What’s the real value of that particular wine? Should we average this out?
A score takes what is obviously and strictly a subjective opinion and elevates it apparently to a more objective status. It imbues it with a sense of authority. It may even keep you from actually reading the review that goes with it – and in any case, if it’s a red wine scoring 90+ in Wine Spectator or Robert Parker, you just know there’s going to be « gobs of ripe red/black fruit » somewhere in there, right?
I feel much closer to Cory Cartwright’s non-scale, as expressed in a beautiful blog post he wrote last August. Cory has been getting tired of categories and rigid evaluations of wine, and I can understand why. Although it’s important for people learning about wine to get their bearings, know their categories, etc., it’s also important to avoid pigeonholing everything, which can easily happen – and points lead us inexorably in that formated, square holes for round wines kind of place.
Not everyone agrees with me about the value of scoring, though. Check out the debate I had with W. Blake Gray on Palate Press. Although Blake had some good, er, points, I think he… pointed out, in many ways, that the most important things about wine reviews – and about wine – are to be found elsewhere. I’d rather focus on the everything else, rather than reduce a full review of a wine to an 89 or a 90.
I enjoyed debating with Blake and would do it again. Please feel free to comment on this blog, and I’ll respond. I’ll give you extra points for participating.