Wine Rating Systems

A few wine ratings sites that will help you determine which wine is worth paying for. It serves as a little background information on the history of the wine rating scales.

One of the top and most widely used wine ratings system is Parkers 100 Point Scale. The scale, which was founded by Robert Parker and his friend Victor Morgenroth, rates wines from 50 – 100, 100 being, “An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume,” and 50 being, “A wine deemed to be unacceptable.” All wine rankings are based on the wine’s color, appearances, taste, aroma, bouquet, flavor, finish, and overall quality level or potential.

Another wine ratings scale is Wine Spectator’s 100 Point Scale.

The scale was imitated from Parker’s Scale and used mostly for their magazine readers. It has the same principles as Parkers, but a little less detail in the actual rating and it’s more frank. A wine rated at 100-95 is considered a “Classic: a great wine,” and 74-50 is rated as a “Not recommended.” A score that was given a range is usually the preliminary score and is usually based on barrel tasting.

As of March 2008, the wine ratings have switched to rolling four point spreads for unfinished wines. Wine Spectator believes it will “better reflect the subtle differences between wines, and give our readers better information for their buying decisions.” A different wine ratings site is Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

They have a unique search engine that allows you to find wines based on rating, price, type, vintage, blend or varietal, region, brand, special qualifiers, publication date, reviewer, and records per page.

Their wine rating system is also based on a 100 point scale with 100 being “Classic,” and 80-82 as being, “Acceptable.” They do not include any lower numbers since none of their users look for anything under 80. You have a choice to either smart search or field search on their web page for the wine of your choice. As a final point, we have our own wine ratings expert Michael Zimberg. He has an actual grading system for wines instead of a point system. He uses the school based method of grading from A-F. He believes that regardless of the cost of wine “region and rarity also play a factor. “He also grades based upon something that is fun and different to try so it may merit a higher grade. He has an exceptional sense of taste and always knows the perfect thing to drink.

Lindsay Aston is a contributing editor for Classic Wines, specializing in wine ratings.