Selecting that perfect bottle of wine can be a downright painstaking experience if you don’t know what you are looking for. You walk into the wine store and your head begins to spin when you see hundreds if not thousands of shiny glass cylinders in different colors, a myriad of varietals and enough animal labels to make you feel like you are at the county zoo. Then you stumble across the “coveted” wine score in bold font tempting you to select the wine with the highest point value.
As you stand in the middle of the aisle with a glazed look on your face and begin scratching your head, the young
salesperson walks over to you, points at the shelf and says “you must try that bottle, it’s nearly perfect with a 96 point score!”
But, what do those numbers really mean? Is a 90+ pointer always a good bottle? And why don’t you see 88-89 point wines promoted like they used to. 89 used to be equivalent to a B+ when I was in school, but many winemakers who receive such scores rarely tout the honor.
The Wall Street Journal has a great piece by Lettie Teague, Wine Scores: Remaking the Grade, that discusses the inflation of wine scores and why so many great bottles that score in the high 80’s may never make it to your local store shelf. Simply put, high scores mean big business!
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