We know that we’ve bitched and complained since the start about our distaste for the now ubiquitous 100pt scale popularized by Robert Parker. We’ve whined about how it was not fair, nor possible to give wines a rating where we had to choose between 90pts and 89pts. Can a wine be one point better than another? So for the past 3 years, we’ve used a 5 pt scale with 1/2pts allowing for in essence a 10pt system. But late last year, we eventually tossed this to the wayside and moved to a more practical system of “recommended”. Our idea is to make sure that all wines we talk about are wines that we recommend you try. Our main goal is to show people wines that are worth seeking out and judging for themselves.
That was all good until today. Today we find ourselves saddened by the lack of points in our reviews. I’ve come to realize that we are missing the simple number next to our wine ratings, and without this number wineries and consumers will never truly be able to take us seriously.How can a consumer go out and risk buying a wine based solely on our recommendation. How can they buy a wine without knowing where we put said wine in a hierarchy of our enjoyment? The answer is that they can’t! Catavino without points means there can never be a top 100 Catavino recommended wine tasting/auction and this, my friends, is sad. We need to make sure that one day, we have the ability to show which wines were the best wines we’ve tasted and which wines the worse. However, here at Catavino, we’ve also realized that 100pts are not enough.
What we are proposing, and moving towards, is a more inclusive and finer grained scale. What we are prepared to undertake is the 1000pt scale. That’s right 1000points, fine enough grained to allow for all parameters in a wines bouquet to be effectively assessed. Here is a quick breakdown of how this will work.
- 500 Point Base – To make this easier to understand, we’ll offer up a base from which to work of 500pts
- 500-700 – Basically, this is for wines that we would never ask you to rate, to drink or to cellar. So please, just forget this range of points, because they suck!f
- 700-800 – Wines in this category should also be promptly ignored. If you score in this range of 100pts, well who cares, you’ll never sell any wine anyways, so let’s move onto wines that matter.
- 800-850 – Once again, these are wines that only matter academically and should never be bought by a true wine geek. Sometimes good wines fall in this range in off vintages, but a good geek will promptly ignore them.
- 850-900 – Now we’re in the safe range, where we recommend you buy the wine. Taste the wine and then lament on at least one characteristic that keeps it from being a 900 point wine.
- 900-950 – Drinkable wines, finally! And you can also cellar them as well! Real prestige once we get to this range of points.
- 950-990 – Almost perfect, too bad the winemaker had an off day during racking or the planets were not aligned. Could have had a perfect wine, but for now, they will have to settle for a few points shy of greatness.
- 990-999 – Wow, everything done right! Well almost. But you know they gave it their best. Second place though is only for losers and anyone in this area, while better than most, is still missing something.
- 1000 – In truth, there will only be a few of these in our lifetime, though maybe more if we were only better at using a calculator. With so many points to tally, it is a shame that from time to time bad math may lead to wines not reaching this level. Oh well, the 1000 pt wines we do find are perfect, and thus, should not be consumed – less we forget how perfect they are. Upon coming across a 1000pt wine, seal it in a glass case, contact your nearest auction house, and have them whisk it away to their vaults as soon as possible. We wouldn’t to want anyone to tarnish this perfect work of art.
We do hope that this new rating system will help you, our readers, further understand the uniqueness of say a 875pt wine as compared to 876 or 877, where the oak is just a touch more integrated. But this whole thing may still be a little confusing; hence, to help you better understand, we want to show you this break down of how we tally the points on our road to finding the perfect wine.
Remember that our scoring allows for all sorts of granularity that the common 100pt scale is woefully lacking. As stated above, all wines will be given a 500pt base. After which, the following points are added on:
- 50pts for Appearance. – 10 for legs, 10 for color, 10 for wetness, 10 for sheen, and 10 for joy of gazing upon it.
- 150 for the Nose – 10 for strength, 25 for varietal correctness, 25 for pushing the envelope on what said grape varieties are capable of, 50 for pure enjoyment and desire to keep my nose in the glass, 10 for the right balance of smoky oak and whatever fruits are required to balance the oak, and 30 points for cleanliness and lack of taint.
- 200 for the Flavor – 25 for front palate, 25 for mid palate, 25 for back palate, 25 for tannins, or lack there of, 25 for acidity, 25 for alcohol balance, 10 for the amount of oak I can feel in my mouth, and finally, 40 for finish, which at its best, should last a day or two.
- 100 for Overall Quality – 10 if we like it, 10 if it will age for a decade or more, 10 if the winery is famous enough to warrant a good score, 10 if the wine is in a heavy enough bottle to be taken seriously, 10 if the label eschews all animal imagery, 10 if the wine is hard to understand, 10 if the wine is priced right, 10 if the percent of new oak is high enough, and 20 points for our overall personal opinion of this wine.
In this way, we can really refine the nuances and details for each wine, thus seriously getting to the heart of what perfection is. Wine is something that needs to have a perfect model to aspire to, and we at Catavino, hope we can find it for you. We encourage all wine bloggers everywhere to take up this cause and begin to use our new 1000pt scale. In this way, we can truly separate ourselves from the wine rags who’s mere 100pt scale remains rough and clunky, unable to truly define perfection.
Are you with us? Or are you against us?
Ryan and Gabriella
Coming soon, Catavino branded sliderules to help you with correctly calculating scores for the wines you taste!