Scores in the PinotFile
Robert Parker Jr.'s 100-point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Spectator in 1985, has been a homing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, every major United States-based wine critic, magazine and internet wine review site uses the 100-point rating scale. There are many misgivings about the 100-point system, one of which is that there is no measurable difference in say, a rating of 89, versus 90.
In reality, scoring a wine only matters to the person doing the scoring since we all have different tastes. That said, the wine drinking public has come to rely on scores in choosing wines of quality and have become too dependent on others to tell them what they should like. Consumers often pay little attention to the description of the wine, focusing directly on the wine's score.
The PinotFile is truly unique in that numerical scoring is not used. Short, relevant tasting descriptions are featured instead, intended to guide the reader to styles of Pinot Noir he might enjoy. I prefer that the reader focus more on producers than specific wines.
I have enlisted the valuable services of the Pinot Geek. The Pinot Geek Icon (pictured) represents a passionate pinotphile using my oldest son, Garrick, as the model. He has agreed to allow me to use his image to signify a Pinot Noir that is truly exceptional. Only the most complete and transcendent Pinot Noirs will be so designated.
The Pinot Geek made his debut in Volume 7, Issue #1 of the PinotFile
The Pinot Value Icon signifies a Pinot Noir that represents an exceptional price/quality ratio. Generally this will be an inexpensive Pinot Noir (often under $30) that offers the drinker varietal correctness as well as appealing aromatics, flavors and enough complexity to signify a bargain at the wine's retail price. These wines often make very good daily drinkers.
The Pinot Value Icon made its debut in Volume 7, Issue #5 of the PinotFile
Occasionally, both the Pinot Geek Icon and Pinot Value Icon will be awarded to a Pinot Noir that represents both an extraordinary drinking experience and a very good value.
In addition, at the end of each tasting note on wines that do not receive the Pinot Geek Icon, I will give a qualitative assessment which includes the categories of Very Good, Good, Decent and Unsatisfactory. Very Good will indicate a distinctive and well-crafted wine. Good signifies a wine that is solid. Decent will denote those wines that are undistinguished, but very drinkable. Unsatisfactory will signify a wine that is flawed or that I would not recommend.
If you just have to translate my descriptive ratings to numerical scores, you can use the following approximate ranges: Pinot Geek - 94-98, Very Good - 90-93, Good - 86-89, and Decent - 83-86.
Beginning with Volume 8, Issue #15, I began to review Chardonnay using the same rating system as for Pinot Noir. The Chardonnay icons include the Golden Geek Icon and Chardonnay Value Glass Icon, counterparts to the Pinot Noir icons.
You can read about all of these wines on our Notable Pinots page.
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