How does wine rating work and what do PROs use to rate wine?
Besides the pleasure that it can produce, wine is a complex product, and judging its quality is not easy, even for those working in the wine business.
Many industry experts express their judgment in numerical rating systems, and even if this may sound harsh or unromantic and somehow limiting, these scales are universally understandable and, knowing how to use them critically, and not just as a convenient shortcut, can be extremely helpful.
Because, rating wines and keeping tasting notes is not just experts material; it is essential for anyone approaching the subject as it can help in creating our personal wine library.
What are the most popular wine rating systems?
The most used wine rating systems at an international level are those in cents and twentieths. While the latter was popularised by the most famous wine woman, Jancis Robinson, and it is mainly used in UK, the first is the most widespread and popular around the world. It was invented by the American critic Robert Parker in 1978 and is used (although in different ways) by the most influential trade magazines.
Jancis Robinson’s 20-point wine scoring scale.
Who is Robert Parker?
The Wall Street Journal defines Robert Parker as the most powerful wine critic of our time. He discovered wine while in college in Alsace and began writing his first reviews in the early 70s.
In 1978 he published a bulletin called The Wine Advocate Baltimore-Washington. The first issue was sent free to a number of US wine retailers, but soon the number of subscribers started to grow out of proportion, and not only in the US.
But it was in 1982 that Robert Parker and his ability to influence the market became clear when his “superb” definition of the ‘82 Bordeaux vintage promptly raised the prices of those bottles. From that moment on, Robert Parker influential role became key in the international market.
How does Robert Parker rating work and how can we use it to rate our wines?
Based on the consideration that the twenty points system does not provide the needed flexibility, Robert Parker decided to use a 50-100 points quality scale.
Wines are judged based on specific and recognizable quality standards and on reference wines. The score is the expression of the opinion of a professional produced by applying a numerical system in a coherent way. The score allows a rapid communication of information to experts and beginners and reflects the quality of the wine at its best.
Here is an explanation of the quality scale scores:
Robert parker wine rating system
And our video can help you in using this scale in an easy way:
You’ll see…the more wines you taste, the more you’ll become familiar with the rating system. To understand the wine score system better try Wine Picker, a wine rating app for Android and iOS that will assist you with food pairing and tasting notes.
Wine Picker quick tip:
I’d like to add, that, in addition to the rating system, it is always very important to write a few notes about the wine you taste. Look at its color, fragrances and flavours and if possible something that struck you or that it is memorable to you.