Rating System

 

The Central Coast Wine Report rating system addresses the merits of the wine with respect to the component grapes. This has also been called "distinct varietal character" and "typicity". Beyond that, our rating system emphasizes finesse, balance and complexity before absolute power of extraction. It should be noted that complexity is not the same as "a lot of different things going on". Aromatic, flavor and texture components should be in harmony and maintain a tempo from start to finish. A wine that delivers much promise aromatically, but is hollow, thin, hot or has a truncated or harsh finish lacks this composure and rhythm. Food-friendliness (which requires well-proportioned acidity), composed alcohol and potential longevity, where applicable, are also valued. While consideration is given to the particular wine style's character around the globe, the subject wine is ultimately assessed in the context of its AVA of origin. We firmly believe in the role of terroir in a wine's character and identity and value wines which strive to showcase the unique terroir of their AVA. Furthermore, we believe that the central coast wine growing regions are quite capable of producing world-class wines that meet these criteria. It is our belief in that potential that contributes to our final assessment of the wine's quality.

In a 2009 academic paper evaluating wine rating systems for their their “utility for producers, consumers, and oenologic researchers“, authors Domenic V Cichetti (Yale University) and Arnold F Cicchetti (Consulting Specialist of Wine, Director of National Accounts, Wine Warehouse, San Anselmo, CA) said of the Central Coast Wine Report (formerly redwinebuzz.com) rating system: "This scale is quite sophisticated in its psychometric structure, with carefully considered, quite comprehensive, nonoverlapping descriptors for each of the aforementioned wine characteristics" and summarized: “This carefully crafted wine scale would have appeal and be quite useful for the wine producer, the consumer, and the oenologic research scientist".

Read more detail about our reviewing philosophy here. Our methodology is outlined here.

Each published review represents an opinion of our findings but does not constitute a guarantee of any sort.

 

What we rate/score:

Each wine is scored on the following characteristics:

  • Color & Appearance: 5 stars max (view)
  • Aromas: 5 stars max (view)
  • Flavors: 5 stars max (view)
  • Structure : Balance: 5 stars max, (view) based on:
    • Acidity: 5 stars max (view)
    • Tannins/Minerality: 5 stars max (view)
      • Body, texture and mouthfeel qualitative descriptors
    • Alcohol: 5 stars max (view)
  • Finish: 5 stars max (view)
  • Aging Potential: 5 stars max (view)
  • Overall Quality: 5 stars max, taking into consideration: (view)

Also taken into consideration when possible and applicable:

  • Food Friendliness: 5 stars max (view)


Some commonly used terminology:


In order to be consistent and as descriptive as possible, we use specific terms to indicate intensity of smell and flavor. These intensities are based upon Arthur's sensory threshold. Not everyone has the same sensitivity but applying these terms and standards consistently allows us to serve as a reliable meter of intensity. The reader familiar with our reviews and the wines they describe will be able to use these descriptions as their barometer. In decreasing order they are:

Intense

Powerful and obvious.

Smells: Detectable with light sniffing when the rim of the glass is at the level of the chin but the nose is not in the glass. (Illustration)

Flavors: Very concentrated, obvious and immediately distinct and identifiable.

Medium

Easily detectable and distinct but less powerful.

Smells: Detectable with some light sniffing when the rim of the glass is brought up to the nose, but the nose is not in the glass. (Illustration)

Flavors: Detectable and identifiable but requiring swishing or more than one taste to detect or identify - particularly if more prominent flavors are present.

Light

Subtle and delicate. Still distinct and identifiable but more reserved.

Smells: Detectable with deep sniffing with the nose in the glass - particularly if more prominent smells are present. (Illustration)

Flavors: Subtle but detectable and identifiable. Requires aspiration through the wine or multiple tastes to detect or identify - particularly if more prominent flavors are present.

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We also use the terms 'note' and 'hint' for even more subtle smells or flavors. In general, these are very subtle and less persistent or less clearly identifiable:

Note

A nuance of a clearly identifiable smell or flavor. May be transient or short lived.

Hint

A nuance or vague suggestion of a smell or flavor. Typically, this indicates some difficulty in pinpointing or identifying the aroma or flavor with confidence. May be transient or short lived.

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The nitty-gritty:

Color and appearance are visual cues of the wine’s quality and character. Some argue that it has nothing to do with enjoyment of a wine. While that may be true, it does provide clues about the wine's quality. Legs or tears do not aid in assessing a wine. See our section on wine myths. The most important things to look for are color and clarity.

Saturation or depth of color is not necessarily related to quality. We look for clarity and vibrancy of color. The younger the wine, the more vibrant its color. Inkiness, on the other hand, does not guarantee a high quality wine, as some excellent wines may be lightly colored. Sparkling wines are generally paler than dry table wines, so the more important feature in these wines are the perlage (bubbles) and mousse (the frothy foam that forms on the surface when the wine is poured into a glass as well as the effervescent sensation in the mouth).

Some red wines are unfiltered and will not have much clarity- especially early in their life. Winemakers choose not to filter their wines to preserve flavor intensity and possibly allow for greater longevity. When evaluating an unfiltered wine, clarity is best left out of the equation.  However, a murky white wine is usually flawed. It is important to know that if a wine is over-chilled it may be come cloudy. This is not a flaw. It most likely indicates that the wine was not cold-stabilized during production. The cloudiness is due to the formation of harmless tartrate crystals in the wine. Allowing the wine to warm up on its own may alleviate this. Bubbles should only be present in wines intended to be sparkling. In any other circumstance, they indicate a flaw and result in a lower score.

In the final analysis, it is best to just observe the color and clarity of a wine. The most common indicator of age (and flawed production) in both white and red wines is browning. As a wine ages, the compounds responsible for color in wine oxidize and fall out of solution, forming a sediment in the bottle. The latter is a more prominent contributor to color change in red wines.

The redwinebuzz.com rating system first addresses the subjective description of the color followed by a 5-point scale addressing color quality:

Score White Wines
Sparkling Wines
Red Wines

5

Very vibrant, golden or yellow with amber, pink or greenish hues in some instances.
Excellent clarity. Active and profuse perlage of fine/pinpoint to  small bubbles consistent over the duration of the glass (5 minutes or more). Delicate, fine, dry mousse lasting 15 seconds or more. Vibrant hues without cloudiness or browning.

4

Pleasing, vibrant hues. Slightly opaque but not cloudy, no browning. Slight, transient effervescence.
Good clarity. Abundant perlage of small to medium sized bubbles with good activity diminishing only minimally over the duration of the glass (5 minutes or more). Dry mousse of small to medium sized bubbles. Mousse lasts about 10-15 seconds.
Good vibrancy without cloudiness or browning. Slight, transient effervescence.

3

Inappropriately pale. Some cloudiness or browning. Some persistent effervescence. Good to fair clarity. Medium to large size bubbles, in moderate amount and activity or activity diminishing moderately over the duration of the glass (5 minutes or more). Medium to large bead dry mousse lasting about 5-10 seconds. Inappropriately pale with some cloudiness and some browning. Some persistent effervescence.

2

Very Pale. Distinctly cloudy. Some browning. Inappropriate effervescence. Cloudy or murky with minimal, coarse or fat (pinhead size), short-lived perlage or activity diminishing significantly to only a small fraction of original activity over the duration of the glass (5 minutes or more). Coarse, soft drink-like mousse lasting no more than 5 seconds. Very pale. Distinct browning or a brick edge. Inappropriate effervescence.

1

Honey, colored, brown or darker. Murky. Inappropriate effervescence. Cloudy, murky and flat. Negligible mousse and perlage duration.
Uniformly brown. Very murky or cloudy. Inappropriate effervescence.

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Aromas refers to the smell of the wine. This is composed of the aromas attributable to the fruit used to make the wine, aromas which are typical hallmarks of a blend style. The latter are developed during aging prior to bottling and finally a synergy that comes about with bottle aging. Traditionally, these have been separated into Aroma (typically the scents originating from the fruit) and Bouquet (typically secondary scents which develop during aging and may reflect the growing region). In the context of this rating system “Aroma” means ‘smell’ or ‘scent’.

We first address the the identifiable aromas. We to seek out aromas expected for the type of wine being tasted. The score, then, reflects typicity and complexity. An alternate way of assigning a score is based on the number of identifiable aromas. Not all grapes are capable of producing wines with this degree of complexity, and a linear relationship between the number or aromas and a score are not always possible. Still, it is not enough to tally up the identifiable aromas. Harmony is important. Note is made of all unusual or unexpected aromas, if they change over the course of the tasting and if decanting is needed. Unexpected but pleasing aromas are rewarded. Aromas indicative of inadequate or excessive ripeness (to a flaw) or flaws in production result in a lowered score. This is followed by a 5 point scale which reflects complexity, taking into consideration intensity, expressed in the terminology outlined above:

Score Wine Characteristics

5

Very complex and balanced. This wine represents most of the full spectrum of possible aromas expected from this type of wine, including the rarer aromas found in exceptional examples of this type of wine (usually 5 or more). The aromas are very harmonious and multi-layered and exemplify the wine’s full potential. Unexpected pleasant and complimentary aromas are acknowledged here.

4

Wines with this score display pleasant aromas most typical of this style but not the rarer, exceptional components of the aroma of an exceptional wine (usually no more than 4). Aromas are distinct, typical and pleasant but may not show ideal balance.

3

The spectrum and complexity of aromas in wines with this score are average to above average (usually no more than 3). Aromas are appropriate for the wine but are not very evocative or captivating. Balance may be problematic.

2

The spectrum and depth of aromas in wines with this score are in the below average to average range. Aromas are appropriate but represent a small portion of possibilities (usually only 2 distinct aromas) and are limited in complexity, spectrum or depth. These wines are generally ordinary, may be out imbalanced.

1

A sub-par nose lacking pleasant aromas expected of the wine at hand. Usually only one distinct, identifiable smell may be noted. Very awkward or clumsy. Off-putting or unpleasant scents. Flawed. TCA taint is not included.

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Flavors refers to the flavors found in the wine. The fact is that humans can only taste five things: bitter, salty, sour, sweet and umami (a savory, meaty character). All other sensations are the result of aromatic compounds making their way up the back of the throat and up to the nose (as vapors). (This is easily demonstrated by pinching the nose or inhaling through the nose while swishing wine in the mouth.)

It may seem, then, that evaluating flavors in a wine is pointless. However, our mouths contain proteins and enzymes which begin the process of digestion. These substances, then, by their interaction with the wine, may alter its character. Thus, assessing the 'flavors' in a wine is valid pursuit.

These flavors include those originating from the fruit, typical hallmarks flavors of a blend style, which may include secondary flavors such as spice as well as flavors developed during aging prior to bottling and finally the evolution of flavors that comes about with bottle aging. Wine is a complex chemical system. With age, fruit flavors may lose expression and other flavors originating from the fruit, the place the fruit was grown, aging prior to bottling and the chemical interactions which take place within the wine over time come to predominate. We address the identifiable flavors. This includes flavors expected of the wine being tasted. Region and even vineyard of origin are also considered when possible. It is not enough to tally up the identifiable flavors. Note is made of all unusual or unexpected flavors, if they change over the course of the tasting and if decanting is needed. Unexpected but pleasing flavors are rewarded. Flavors indicative of inadequate or excessive ripeness (to a flaw) or flaws in production result in a lowered score. Note is made of all unusual or unexpected flavors, if they change over the course of the tasting and if decanting is needed. Unexpected but pleasing flavors are rewarded. This is followed by a 5 point scale which reflects complexity, taking into consideration intensity, expressed in the terminology outlined above:

Score Wine Characteristics

5

Very complex and balanced. This score represents most of the full spectrum of possible flavors expected of this wine type (at least 4). These flavors show diversity and depth. They are complex and multi-layered, showcasing the wine’s full potential. Unexpected but pleasant and complimentary flavors are possibly present. Great harmony and balance are required for this score.

4

Wines with this score display pleasant flavors most typical of this style but not the rarer components of the flavor of an exceptional wine (typically 3). There is good complexity and depth but possibly to a lesser degree than the higher score category. Balance and harmony are not ideal and alcohol may be excessive.

3

Wines with this score display pleasant flavors most typical of this style that are average to just above average in complexity. These wines display an even narrower spectrum and lesser complexity of expected flavors than the next higher score category (usually 2-3). The flavors may be straightforward. Balance may be problematic and alcohol may be excessive.

2

Complexity of flavors in wines with this score is in the average range (usually no more than 2). Flavors are those typically expected of the variety but are not evocative or captivating. Wine may seem inordinately thin or lean and balance may be problematic giving the wine a crudely constructed character.

1

A sub-par wine lacking pleasant fruit or wine style related flavors. Only one identifiable flavor is present. May also have off-putting or unpleasant flavors. Flawed. TCA taint is not included.

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Structure & Balance is a composite score reflecting the interplay of acidity, minerality or tannins and alcohol (detailed below). Body, Texture and Mouthfeel are three sensory qualities of wine which do not lend themselves to numerical rating. As with appearance, it is best to make note of them qualitatively. They are integral to the wine's structure - the way the flavors, acidity, tannins or minerality come together in the totality of the wine. Our assessment of how they relate to the rest of the wine's structure is taken into account when generating a final score for the Structure & Balance category.

The Body refers to the feeling of weight or fullness in the mouth. In that, it is different from ‘texture’ or ‘mouthfeel’ and is typically qualified as ‘light bodied’, ‘medium bodied’ and ‘full bodied’. These may be qualified further as 'upper medium bodied' or 'light to medium bodied'. Wines described as full bodied are often characterized by high amounts of flavor or extract, tannins and alcohol.

Texture is the tactile sensation of the wine on the tongue and against the insides of the cheeks. Some common terms we use to describe texture are: “chalky”, “coarse”, “dusty", “grainy”, “gravelly”, “gritty”, “silky”, “smooth”, “velvety” etc. We have not yet defined any clear rules or nomenclature for this. The following sections point out that much of this terminology can be related to the texture of the tannins.

Mouthfeel is a more general sensation of the wine in the mouth and does not address texture. Some common words we use to describe mouthfeel are: “angular”, “ashy”, “astringent”, “austere”, “creamy”, “chewy”, “dry”, “fat”, “flabby”, “flinty”, “grippy”, “harsh”, “hollow”, “hollow”, “hot”, “juicy”, “lean”, “lush”, “opulent”, “puckery”, “plush”, “sweet”, “tannic”, “taut” and “unctuous” but, again, there are no specific rules.

Each type of wine has typical structural profiles. This is true for variety (varieties) used as well as the region where they are grown. These typical profiles are are used as guidelines for assessing this characteristic of a given wine.

Score Wine Characteristics

5

Very balanced. Body, weight, acidity, sweetness, other flavors, tannins and alcohol are in superb harmony.

4

Generally balanced, but one component is slightly deficient or slightly pronounced without being overpowering.

3

One or more structural components is prominent to the point of dominating the composition or deficient to an obvious degree and to a degree greater than is generally seen in this type of wine.

2

Imbalanced wine. There is a noticeable disproportion between structural components. Wine may seem hollow, hot fat or flabby.

1

 Very awkward and imbalanced. There is a profound and distracting or unpleasant disproportion between structural components. Wine may be very hollow, hot, fat or flabby.

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Tannins originate from the skins of the fruit, the stems as well as the oak of the barrels. They impart a "puckery", astringent or sometimes bitter sensation to the wine. They also contribute to the structure and body of the wine. With time, they settle or soften. This is thought to be the result of polymerization, precipitation and some other chemical alterations tannins undergo in the bottle. A good wine has a balance of tannins to the flavors in the wine. It also displays a pleasing texture.

We first address the description of the sensation the tannins produce when the wine is in the mouth. We use common foods to give an reference of the astringency (different from 'bitter') such as: “tea-like”, “fresh walnuts”, “unripe persimmons” or "banana peel", textural descriptors such as: “coarse", “dusty”, “filigree”, “fine”, "fine-grained", “gravely”, “gritty”, “velvety”, “silky”, “smooth”, “taut” and  qualifiers such as: “brawny”, "chewy", “demure”, "slight", “downy”,  “firm”,  “robust”. Of course, tannins themselves may have a bitter characteristics and so we do use the word “bitter” in describing them.

A distinction “astringent” and “bitter” is necessary. Astringent is a dry, puckery tactile sensation felt in the mouth, while bitter is a flavor and is sensed at the back of the tongue. Bitterness is one of the elements which can define the character of tannins, particularly as "hard", "harsh" or "rough". This final assessment is addressed in the context of describing texture and mouthfeel of the wine (above).

White wines have minimal tannins because they have little contact with the skins during fermentation. Some white wines have a Mineral or Astringent quality. In the case of white wine, then, we look at these characteristics. We are working on defining consistent terminology for this characteristic.

The 5 point scale describes the level (or degree) of astringency or minerality relative to the entire composition of the wine, with emphasis placed on balance but respecting the grape variety(ies) and terroir.

Score White Wines Red Wines
5 Appropriately high for this variety. Plays well with other elements of the wine. These contribute positively to the wine's structure.
4 Somewhat prominent or bold. Pleasant and still proportionate to composition. Contribute positively to the wine's structure. Somewhat soft or subdued. Detectable and pleasant and still proportionate to composition. Contribute positively to the wine's structure. Somewhat prominent or bold. Pleasant and still proportionate to composition. Contribute positively to the wine's structure. Somewhat soft or subdued. Detectable and pleasant and still proportionate to composition. Contribute positively to the wine's structure.
3 Very bold and prominent. Dominates the composition leading to an imbalanced structure. Deficient for variety and composition. Deficiency diminishes wine’s structure and composition. Very bold and prominent. Dominates the composition leading to an imbalanced structure. Deficient for variety and composition. Deficiency diminishes wine’s structure and composition.
2 Excessive. Overshadows the composition. Give a dry or bitter quality. A very awkward structure. Lacking. Overshadowed by other components making for a very awkward structure. Excessive. Overshadows the composition. Give a dry or bitter quality. A very awkward structure. Lacking. Overshadowed by other components making for a very awkward structure.
1 Overwhelming. Overpowering the composition. Unpleasant Absent to an unpleasant degree which rids the wine of structure. Unpleasantly tannic or lacking any expected tannins. Absent to an unpleasant degree which rids the wine of structure.

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Acids impart a sour, tart or tangy sensation to the wine. They are a desirable element of the wine's structure and, in the right proportions, preserve the freshness of the fruit flavors as the wine ages. The 5 point scale describes the level (or degree)of this sensation relative to the entire composition of the wine, with emphasis placed on balance but respecting the grape variety(ies) and terroir. For example, Albariñio is a very acidic (or sour tasting) wine and one expects its best examples to carry this trait. We are working on defining consistent terminology for this characteristic.

Score Characteristics

5

Appropriately high but not overpowering. Acid nicely complements the wine’s structure. Excellent food companion. This level of acidity stands up well to food and cleanses the palate.

4

Slightly low acid levels, somewhat deficient for the composition of the wine. May have trouble pairing with food but still be a good social wine. Slightly bold acidity which still integrates well with the structure of the wine. A degree of Volatile Acidity may be unappealing to some.

3

Distinctly low acidity. May be problematic for the composition and structure of the wine. Makes the wine difficult to pair with food. Distinctly high acidity. May be problematic for the composition and structure. May be difficult to pair with food. A degree of Volatile Acidity may be unappealing to most.

2

Inappropriately low acidity. Does not suit the composition of the wine. Flabby. This wine will not do well with food. Inappropriately high acidity or unpleasantly sour wine. High and unpleasant Volatile Acidity. Poor social wine or food companion.

1

Nonexistent acidity. Bland, Excessively sour. Very unpleasant Volatile Acidity.

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Wine is an alcoholic beverage. Alcohol contributes to the wine’s body. However, part of the art is making a wine which does not have excessive levels of alcohol which overpower the other elements of the wine or cause an unpleasant burning sensation. The 5 point scale describes the intensity of this sensation and an appraisal of how proportioned to the rest of the wine's elements it is:

Score Characteristics

5

Alcohol level appropriate for wine. Well balanced. Does not stand out in the composition. Proportionate to the intensity of flavors.

4

A bit bold but not overpowering. Heady nose, notable but not unpleasant on the palate. May still suit the wine's composition and extraction levels. May be problematic with spicy foods.

3

Prominent on the nose and gives a notable burn or sizzle on the palate. Likely to be problematic with spicy foods and other dishes.

2

Alcohol is too prominent and overpowering for the wine. A distinctly hot wine that will likely make it difficult to enjoy with food.

1

This score reflects unpleasantly excessive alcohol levels. Alcohol dominates the wine's composition.

 

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The Finish refers to the aftertaste, qualitatively, as well as to the duration of that aftertaste after the wine is swallowed. This aspect of a wine is a function of its body, extraction and acidity - to name a few. Generally speaking a complex wine will have a more interesting and lingering after taste.

The Central Coast Wine Report rating system first addresses the identifiable flavors in the aftertaste as well as the duration of those flavors. Attention is paid to how these flavors relate to the Palate and Nose. Are they in line with or complimentary to the Nose and Palate? Note is made of all unusual or unexpected characteristics and if they change over the course of the tasting. Unexpected but pleasing aromas and flavors are rewarded. This is followed by a 5 point scale which reflects complexity, duration and harmony:

Score Characteristics

5

Very complex and persistent flavors (4+) Very Long. Lingers well past 60 seconds.

4

Complex flavors (3-4) Long. 30 to 60 seconds.

3

Medium complexity of flavors (2-3) Medium. 20-30 seconds.

2

Straight forward flavors (1-2) Short. 10 to 20 seconds.

1

Very simple, vague flavors. (only 1) Very short. No more than 10 seconds.

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Aging potential.

While very few people are collectors and most want to enjoy their wine shortly after purchase, at Central Coast Wine Report we feel it is most fair to assign increasing scores to wines with increasing potential to age. This score reflects our opinion regarding the wine’s potential to age and improve with time - assuming ideal storage conditions. Read more about estimating a wine's longevity here.

Score Characteristics

5

Long-term aging potential. This wine will be best with long term cellaring (beyond 20 years) in proper conditions.

4

May be drinkable or enjoyable now, but needs bottle time: Cellaring potential approaching the 20 year range.

3

Drink now or hold as this wine is expected to improve with some bottle age. Cellaring potential in the 10 year range.

2

Nothing is lost in drinking it now. This wine might benefit from some bottle aging. Cellaring potential in the 5 year range.

1

No potential to improve with age. Drink up.

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Food friendliness.

Pairing food and wine can be a challenge. Certainly, many wines made today are cocktail-like, "stand-up" or "walk-around" wines. There is a broad range of rules and recommendations for pairing a dish with a wine. Of course, there are also different ways to approach wine and food pairing depending on personal preference. We believe that wines made with restraint, but also good structure, balance, nuance and finesse tend to make the best food pairings. Ultimately, one should consider what kind of culinary or food and wine experience is desired. That leads to the consideration of what can be considered "optimal".  In our opinion, the interaction between food and wine can be placed into several categories with increasing degree of synergy between food and wine being rated higher:

Score Button Characteristics
5 Ultimate synergy of wine and food resulting in pleasing flavors and textures not present in either the wine or food alone.
4 Wine flavors and structure complement the food, enhancing or positively affecting flavor and texture characteristics already present in both food and wine.
3 Wine flavors and structure match or reflect the character of the food.
2 Wine and food flavors and textures stand side-by-side without any negative interaction. The wine, at best, may only cleanse the palate for the next mouthful. The wine offers limited or very specific food pairing potential.
1 The wine clashes with food. The interaction between food and wine is unpleasant and there is a harsh and striking discord and an unpleasant contrast or mismatch between the food and wine.

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Overall quality.

The entire Central Coast Wine Report evaluation and rating system is a deductive one. All preceding parts of the rating system are necessary to make a determination of overall quality. By following pre-determined criteria for awarding points, the system allows for standards of consistency and reliability.

This final part of our evaluation assesses the wine as a whole and strives to convey some general idea of quality based on the previously addressed characteristics.  It asks more than: "Is this wine well made?". The scores in all the preceding categories are the foundation of this larger picture determination. Not infrequently, the score for the overall quality of a particlar wine will be close to the average of the scores in the above categories.

However, the consideration of overall quality looks at a more than a numerical average. It aims to distill a global picture of the wine in several broader contexts:

It considers integration and overall presentation of the wine, giving consideration to its component grapes and origin – the place and the year it was grown. This part of the evaluation process asks:" How does ithis wine fare against other wines from this variety, region, vineyard or vintage?"

It also weighs the wine against the winemaker's stylistic inclinations in making the wine. That goes beyond a general wine making philosophy or interpretation of a blend, style or variety and addresses spontaneous inspirations, taking advantage of an opportunity as well as uncontrollable factors such as unusual growth season or other climatic variations and departure from normal in vineyard yield volume or fruit quality.

Value is also considered: Is the price appropriate for the quality of the wine?

Characteristics indicative of inadequate or excessive ripeness or flaws in production result in a lowered overall quality score.

Characteristics indicative of inadequate or excessive ripeness or flaws in production contribute to a lowered overall quality score.

Score Characteristics

5

Outstanding, exceptional, rare and classic. Must-have. This is a superb wine exemplifying the best this variety, and region have to offer. / This offering exceeds the wine maker’s stylistic intentions.

4

Very good.Highly recommended.Very good wine reflective of high standards of this variety and region. Meets or exceeds wine maker’s vision.

3

Good, with appealing characteristics. No flaws. Recommended. A good wine. Characteristics are in the upper ranks of wines in this style and from this region. / Meets or falls a bit short of wine maker’s stylistic intentions.

2

Fairly good. Minor flaws. Demonstrates the general traits of a wine of this style or region. / Meets or falls short of the wine maker’s stylistic intentions for a good, approachable wine.

1

Serviceable. Not very complex. Balance may be problematic. May not demonstrate varietal characteristics. May have some flaws. / Falls short of aspirations to a higher standard.

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A wine can, technically, receive a "0" (zero) score. This may occur when it has scored very poorly in all preceding categories. We cannot recommend such a wine.

Additional Ratings

Readiness.

This rating indicates whether a wine is ready to drink or requires additional bottle ageing.

  Ready to drink.

  Young. Age or drink.
  Requires more ageing.

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General Drinkability.

This rating indicates how enjoyable the wine is as a stand-alone drink.

  Very good by itself.

  Acceptable by itself.

  Not very enjoyable alone.

Food friendliness.

This rating indicates how compatible a wine is with foods conventionally paired with it. See above.

Value ("Quality-Price Ratio").

This icon indicates the value of the wine in terms of the quality of the finished prduct relative to its retail price, taking into consideration the spectrum of prices for comparable wines.

  Excellent value.

  Moderate value.

  Poor value.

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