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Where Are Scores in the PinotFile?

Robert Parker’s 100 point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Advocate in 1988, has been a honing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, a majority of United States based wine critics and magazines use the 100 point scale. The reality is that the 100 point scale is actually a 10 point scale. A score of 85 usually means a wine no one wants to buy or drink (although it is considered “good” in the 100 point scoring system). Wines scored between 85 and 89 may be perfect in the context of a good meal, yet most consumers look to wines scored 90 or above as being most desirable. There is no point in rating wines below 85 because no one cares, or greater than 95 because only the most well-healed can afford these wines. But perhaps the biggest criticism leveled at the 100 point scoring system is that it is based on the assumption that there is a detectable and measurable difference between say, a rating of 89, and 90. It is simply impossible to be that precise in judging wine.

In reality, scoring a wine only matters to the person doing the scoring since we all have different tastes. It is unfortunate that wine drinkers have become so dependent on someone else telling them what they like. Patrick Mott, writing in Inside OC, put it very well, “I’ve read books, I’ve gone to wine dinners and lectures, and God knows I’ve hung out with people from time to time who know more about wine - and are eagerly willing to tell you so - than anyone in his right mind wants to know, and it all comes down to the same result: my ears start to bleed, a high-pitched humming increases in volume, and the next thing I know people are standing over me trying to cut off my clothes.” Amen - that is why you will never find any rating scores in the PinotFile.

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