Wine has been a passion and curiosity of mine for a very long time. I enjoy pretty much everything about it, from it's history and geography, to viticulture and drinking (emphasis on drinking). The business of wine however is a horse of a different color. It's quirky to say the least, take for example, wine ratings. Check out the rating systems below;
98-100 Classic; The pinnacle of quality
94-97 Superb; A great achievement
90-93 Excellent; Highly Recommended
87-89 Very Good; Often good value; well recommended
83-86 Good; Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value
80-82 Acceptable; Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances
95-100 Classic: a great wine
90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine
75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50-74 Not recommended
96-100: 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.
90 - 95: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
80 - 89: A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
70 - 79: An average wine with little distinction except that it is soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
60 - 69: A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
50 - 59: A wine deemed to be unacceptable.
They are austere, terribly serious and a bit "bloviated" to me. Each scale utilizes 100 points, why 100 points is a mystery along the lines of the Stonehenge. If you occasionally glance at wine ratings, have you ever noticed a wine rated less than 80? If a wine were rated that low what are the chances you would buy it? Can you imagine a conversation in the wine store with the sales person, "Yes, that Cabernet rated 89 points by Robert Parker is delightful, but my in laws are coming over this evening and I was really hoping to find something rated in the mid 30's, do you carry that"? Fire that line off one time, just for effect!
So, in effort to lighten things up a bit I would like to suggest an alternative to the rating systems above, similar to the way the Flowbee is an alternative to a Hair Stylist, allow me to introduce the AM wine rating system (by the way AM is my mother Alice and, not in apology for any gray hairs I may possibly have caused her over the years, is one of the most genuine, caring, truly funny and wonderful people you might ever meet). It’s an uncomplicated 5 point scale with 1 representing the “complete pits” and 5 “the best evah”.
5 – “Oh honey, I would hate to drink all your good wine…but is there any left in that bottle”?
4 – “I would love another glass thank you”.
3 – “It’s really kind of nice after you get through the first swallow and the bubbles settle down”.
2 – “No thank you, I am just fine with the one I have”.
1 – “Could I trouble you for a vodka & tonic”?
Enjoy the wine, but don't take it too seriously!