I'm Alicia Bien. Mr. Wonderful (aka my husband) and I are first time homeowners
California. Here are some of our adventures fixing up a house while living in it, parenting a baby,
coping with neighbors, and negotiating life in the married lane. Thanks for stopping by my sunny, funny blog!
“What about this one?” My husband said pulling a bottle off
the store shelf.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“It got a wine score of 91.”
“I don’t know.”
“What will make you know?”
90 - 95 = Outstanding
Most people only know if they like a wine after they have
drunk it. I confess to being one of those people. The ability to sample a wine
before purchase is possible in just a few cases, namely: 1) Winery visits; 2) A
wine club; or 3) Your husband’s wine glass. The rest of the time deciding which
wine to buy is left to you and your very dry mouth. Darn it!
Enter the Wine Score. Sensing the need to help wine
consumers make educated choices about wine purchases, in the mid to late 20th
century wine critics started ranking wines through descriptive tasting notes
and assigning a numbered score to them. Some critics used a 5-Star scale with 5
Stars being the best. Other critics used a 1-20 point scale with 20 being tops.
However, the majority of the movers and shakers of wine criticism—including
Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate and Wine
Spectator magazines—used the 100-point
scale, which is defined by Mr. Parker as:
Finally! An aide to help me buy wine before tasting it! With
such a clearly delineated system, it would be easy to always choose the
“extraordinary” wines ranked 96-100, if… if I didn’t have to pay for them.
Because a funny thing happened to wine with the advent of wine scores: the
higher the wine score the higher the wine’s price. Darn money!
But price isn’t the only method used in determining to
buy—or not to buy—a bottle of wine. The occasion will also guide your purchase
decision. Say I wanted to buy a business gift for my boss, I would spend more
money on it than I would for a bottle that I’d use in the kitchen to marinate
meat. If Robert Parker knew that anyone
was using a 1947 bottle of Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint Emilion to make
Grandma’s beef stew, I believe he would strangle said person with one vise-like grip. That $400 + bottle of wine (which he gave 100 points to) was meant to be
drunk for a very special occasion.
Wine points, price and occasion—buying wine comes down to
these three things, but the greatest of these is: What do you like? Because knowing what you like in a wine is paramount. For example, do you like flavors of
berry, melon, mineral or oak? Do you like grapes of Reisling, Syrah,
Tempranillo or Grenache? Do you like wines of the new world or the old world? Do you like wine at all?
Thus your best guide to purchasing
wines is your own self-knowledge.
Back at the wine store my husband held up another bottle:
“How about this one?”