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Giving the wine a score!

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Bob Parsons Alberta

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Giving the wine a score!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:35 pm

OK, I know we have all been through this before and I have not given a score in years but I checked in today with Chris Kissick (the winedoctor) and he has an interesting point of view on his website...he scores out of 20!

I wonder if Otto and Peter use this system? Anyhows here is the website.........www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:38 pm

Ooooops perhaps someone could help!! I thought the website would come up automatically. Back to the drawing board I guess. Why did it work for the SF Chronicle website and not this one?
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:03 pm

Bob, the most secure way to make a link in this forum is to highlight the entire link with your cursor. Then, while it is highlighted, single-click the "URL" button at the far right side of the row of buttons above the reply window.

Don't forget to use the "http://", too.

Here's a URL made with the URL button:

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml

I don't think it makes a URL if you simply post in the address, but let's try it with the http:// and see ...

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml

Oh, hey! It does! So that's the easier way.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:33 pm

Well that does not work for me at all. See the practice forum.
Where is this URL button again? Up here on the right? Thats below to the right of "Post a reply". Tell me, Robin, is this all set up the same way here, for everyone. I do not think so.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Robin Garr » Thu Apr 06, 2006 11:36 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Well that does not work for me at all. See the practice forum.
Where is this URL button again? Up here on the right? Thats below to the right of "Post a reply". Tell me, Robin, is this all set up the same way here, for everyone. I do not think so.


Bob, I'll go look in the Practice Forum and see if I can help. Yes, the URL button is at the right of the row just above the text entry window, but below "Post A Reply."

It is possible to set up the forum with different "styles," but I assume that you are using the default form, which is mostly in a kind of silvery gray.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:34 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Well that does not work for me at all. See the practice forum.
Where is this URL button again? Up here on the right? Thats below to the right of "Post a reply". Tell me, Robin, is this all set up the same way here, for everyone. I do not think so.


Bob -

I think the problem with your initial post was the "...." just ahead of the
http://www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml

The software needs the "www." part to not have any characters just ahead of it (if that makes sense).

Mike
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Florida Jim » Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:35 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:OK, I know we have all been through this before and I have not given a score in years but I checked in today with Chris Kissick (the winedoctor) and he has an interesting point of view on his website...he scores out of 20!

I wonder if Otto and Peter use this system? Anyhows here is the website.........www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml


Bob,
All the technical problems aside, its still the use of a number when words will do just fine. Why imply precision and universality where there is none? Why not just say what you mean and leave the numbers to the Parker and the guys trying to 'sell' wine.
Best, Jim
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Robin Garr » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:14 am

Florida Jim wrote:Why not just say what you mean and leave the numbers to the Parker and the guys trying to 'sell' wine.


Let the choir sing, "Amen!"
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by David M. Bueker » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:24 am

The tasting group I joined in 1998 (the group was established in 1974) uses a very structured 20 point system. I hate doing it, but given that I was 7 years old when the group formed I comply.

Occasionally I will give a score, but it's usually more of a joke than anything else.

I give this thread 86 points.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Howie Hart » Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:17 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:...he scores out of 20!


There is a time and place for everything. Generally I don't pay any attention to points. However, in a wine competition a numerical rating system is practially essential. The few competitions I have entered also use a 20 point system. Medals are awarded based on these scores.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Peter May » Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:02 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote: he has an interesting point of view on his website...he scores out of 20!

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml


The 20 point system was the primary scoring system until Parker came along with his 100 point system.

They use the 20 point system at the International Wine Challenge in London and at the South African National Wine Show in South Africa.

Of course, although Parker uses 100, its only the top 20 that means anything, and in the 20 system its only the top 4. In competition you are basically judging whether it is a Gold, Silver or Bronze.

I prefer to use fewer points.

And personally when tastingwine I am interested only in divding them into 3 - wine I definitely want to buy, wine I wouldn't mind having and wine I want to avoid.

(PS take of the preceding dots and your link works, as above)
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Bill Spencer » Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:28 pm

Peter May wrote:And personally when tastingwine I am interested only in divding them into 3 - wine I definitely want to buy, wine I wouldn't mind having and wine I want to avoid.


%^)

Amazing ! Me, too ... scores MIGHT help if purchasing a wine you haven't actually tasted ... but I really try hard to taste the wine before I spend my hard earned dollars ... having a great wine shop like we do here in Yuma helps ... rarely does Mike hesitate to open a bottle and let you give it a try before you fork over your money ... of course we're not talking about $50+ wines here ... but then I'm not in THAT wine buying category anyway ...

Clink !

%^)
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Bill Spohn

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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Bill Spohn » Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:19 pm

I do not give numerical scores to wines, love-making, musical performances, automobiles, friends, pets - all are equally unsuited to being reduced to a simplistic number, yet insecure wine buyers flock to the usual pundits, happy to substitute someone else's expertise for their own judgement.

What is this fascination with numbers, that people are so willing to abdicate their judgements for those of someone else? Does a movie that is awarded an academy award suddenly become a better movie than it had been all last year? Yet people flock to see it when they couldn't have given a darn before.

What is so ironic is that the sort of aesthetic judgements we are talking about are so very personal to each of us that the very idea of allowing somebody else to designate what we should, or should not like seems ......bizarre to me. Surely I am not the only one?

Is this critical judgement by the democratic method? You see this at tastings where some people hold back their judgements until they see which way the wind is blowing before jumping on the bandwagon and allying their opinions with that of the majority. But no, for the wine scores that some so adore are the product of a single mind/palate, so it can't be a simple 'safety in the crowd' response.

I guess part of it is people's insecurity in their own senses or fear of standing out from the crowd (ironic when the only person ANYTHING has to please is YOU). But another factor has to be the impatience of the modern generation(s) who can't watch a movie unless there is a car crash every 4 minutes and can't be bothered actually thinking about wine or remembering previous experiences they may have had when they can get instant guidance without having to unlimber their supposed minds for critical ratiocination, just by following the little shelf-talkers that tell them what to buy.

Sad, but I fear, true.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Otto » Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:58 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:OK, I know we have all been through this before and I have not given a score in years but I checked in today with Chris Kissick (the winedoctor) and he has an interesting point of view on his website...he scores out of 20!

I wonder if Otto and Peter use this system? Anyhows here is the website.........www.thewinedoctor.com/winedoctor/scores.shtml


Why would I use the system? I hate points. In reality I "score" wines by saying they rock (or kick ass or some such synonym) or suck. I was, through feedback, persuaded to include scores out of 5 on my web site but frankly they are so dashed annoying to work with that I'm again thinking of dropping them. The greatest practical problem I have with scores is with wines I don't like but which represent the best of a certain wine when viewed from another - ok, here it comes - CENSORED. The Grange tasting I reported on on the old creaky forum is a case in point. They were 2 star wines to my mind - flawed by overoaking and overextracting and lacking in acidity. But we did have a few wines which I would consider as the ideals of what Grange is striving for. So how do I score these? Give 5 points? Or 2 as I would prefer? Only a verbal note can say that it was a great wine from a certain point of view but if I am to be consistent with myself the wine sucked. A TN says more than a thousand points.

Otto
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by Dan Donahue » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:16 pm

If I do a note for myself, I seldom assign a score. If I'm going to publish a note, however, I will assign points. Of course, the score is only part of the note and a score by itself means little. Since most of my notes go on CellarTracker, I use the 100 point scale set up there.

I find that using a score gets me to focus more on the wine qua wine as opposed to the whole experience. I'm sure everyone has had a bottle of wine when everything falls in place--atmosphere, company, food, occasion and wine--that bottle is usually recalled as perfect. I've opened the same wine in less than ideal settings: the wine just isn't the same.

Assigning a score helps me attain some level of internal consistency.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Bill Spohn » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Otto - the transferability of scores from one type of wine to another is an interesting question.

Most of us would agree that if one were to use the dreaded 100 point scale, there would be no problem with things like Bordeaux or Burgundy, or American Cabernet.

What would you do with something like Beaujolais? Is there such a thing as a 100 point Beaujolais, and if so, how would it be related to a 100 point Burgundy.

Some would say that you score out of 100 points not on an absolute scale, but only related to that particular type of wine, which would take most of the usefulness for comparison purposes out of the system.

Others would say that the 100 point scale is absolute and that therefor you would never get a Beaujolais scoring more than 88 (or some such).

Similarly, the top score a Chianti could ever expect to garner would probably be lower than a Barolo. I believe that is the way that Tanzer and Parker work, but from listening to the pointy headed ones out there,, there seems to be an impression that 100 point wines in any given type of wine must exist.....
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by AlexR » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:12 am

Percentage point ratings have something very absurd about them.

I realize that occasional consumers love to rely on them. They are a super highway to "wine knowledge".

But they present a number of inconveniences.

Imagine going to an art museum and giving precise percentage point evaluations. Absurd, no?

Is wine that different?

The paradox comes from the fact that [b]some [/b]sort of hierarchy needs to be established.

I think Clive Coates has an elegant way of dealing with this (good/very good/excellent, etc).

I am particularly peeved at critics who give % ratings to wines meant to age for 20-30 years or more [u]when the wines are only six months [/u]old.

In short, specific scored dumb down wine, with the good and bad this entails.

Best regards,
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Robin Garr » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:24 am

AlexR wrote:Imagine going to an art museum and giving precise percentage point evaluations. Absurd, no?

Is wine that different?


I can't believe I'm taking Parker's side (sort of), but I don't think this is a proper analogy. You don't go to a museum to purchase a one-time consumable item. Offering ratings at a gallery offering works of art for sale might come a little closer to the mark - and frankly, I'm not sure that would be such a bad idea - but even then, art is not a consumable; it lasts, and it may be returned or re-sold.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Bill Spohn » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:35 am

Ah - wines are consumables...aren't they?

Well yes and no. To most of us they are and to those of us confident enough to know what we like, scores are largely irrelevant (except for thse wines we wish to buy but haven't the opportunity to taste.


There is a segment of the market for whom scores are everything - those who treat wine as a commodity, not a consumable. There are a surprising number of people that will buy anything that gets a super-high score and then sit on it, probably never popping a cork. That is where much of the Petrus, Screaming Eagle and such sits, being resold several times before winding up with a real consumer who drinks it, albeit at a high price.

Maybe we should call such people 'Parkerites' except that would be unfair to Parker as he doesn't intend his material to be used or abused in that way.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by AlexR » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:35 am

Hi Robin,

No, the analogy is not perfect, I'll agree.

Still, people buy works of art, don't they?

As I wrote above, people need [u]some [/u]kind of yardstick, if only their own personal one.
The problem is: which one?

If art is an appropriate comparison, what is then please?
Cars? Restaurants? Hotels? Movies? Books? Theater?

I regularly participate in the Guide Hachette tastings. These consist of 4 professionals who taste blind, give a temporary grade, discuss, and then attribute a final grade.
I'm tempted to say that I lend more credence to a group effort than an individual one - even though this is somewhat beside the point of whether or not we should pin differences down to, let's say, one percentage point.

My quarrel with the point system is that there is no objective way of measuring wine quality. Period.
The closest thing I know is the UC Davis system.
But this is very simplistic and seems totally inappropriate when tasting [u]fine[/u] wine.

I've been told by Parker fans that they "know how to calibrate their palate according to Parker's" - even if they don't especially like the kind of wine he describes...
OK, if it works for some people, who am I to quarrel with that?

I guess what I'm trying to say too is that nuances are impossible to interpret mathamatically.
And, can personal preferences ever be far from determining evaluations?

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Robin Garr » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:55 am

AlexR wrote:I'm tempted to say that I lend more credence to a group effort than an individual one


Two words: Wine Spectator. The committee-tasting process often yields bizarre results there, although I'm not sure whether we should blame this on the process or simply on the Speck.

I've been told by Parker fans that they "know how to calibrate their palate according to Parker's"


There's a reason why they call those people "human shields."

I guess what I'm trying to say too is that nuances are impossible to interpret mathematically.
And, can personal preferences ever be far from determining evaluations?


As I said before, I'm not really comfortable defending Parker. And it should be noted that in my own wine writing, I do not give points, although I do try to express opions clearly, at least when I feel a wine is much better - or much worse - than the norm for either quality or value or both.

But I do think we need to recognize that wine is a consumer good, and one that many people find dauntingly difficult. I certainly don't object to efforts - including Parker and the Speck, and not excluding point systems - that seek to provide consumer buying advice.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by AlexR » Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:35 pm

Robin,

As the saying goes "you can't quarrel with success".

And the point system is definitely successful.

I have seen many newspaper ads with the name of the wine, the price, and the Parker note, as well as shelf talkers with the hallowed score... People like these reference points, and they're here to stay.
Parker is pushing 60 and leads an exhausting life. Surely someone out there will take his place to fill the void when he retires.
In other words, wine rankings like report card grades are here to stay.
I have no illusions about that.

However, I think it would be fair to say this: the longer someone is used to buying and consuming wine, the more likely he is to feel confident "straying" from what the pundits say.

I'm just left wondering (and you would undoubtedly know this better than me): to what extent do the critics affect wine distribution? In other words, to what extent are wines "pre-sold" in the USA today? Do heretofore unknown wines need a Parker or WS score to take off? Is it possible to introduce and promote a really good wine at a reasonable price if it has not received media attention?
If the answer to the last question is positive, then it leaves me wondering why so many good value French wines (such as you have encountered many times on your visits over here) - that can hold their own with any other vineyard region in the world, and represent great value for money, are not imported and distributed...

Best regards,
Alex R.
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Re: Giving the wine a score!

by Peter May » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:56 pm

AlexR wrote: Do heretofore unknown wines need a Parker or WS score to take off? Is it possible to introduce and promote a really good wine at a reasonable price if it has not received media attention?.


Brand new expensive wine* from Italy, primarily made with a unknown grape (70% Cesanese, 20% Sangiovese 10% Montepulciano) gets a 91 score from RP before release, gets bucketloads of publicity, and sells out immediately.

There are a lot of people who buy solely on RP scores, and that affects price and it affects how wines are made.

*Sogno Uno see http://www.decanter.com/news/71310.html

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