Wine Points Critics: Please…At Least Make a Case
You know why? Because people who are affected by published scores don’t like the fact that people seem to follow the people who give out 100 Point scores. At the moment the primary group of people who don’t like that people like scores are those behind ScoreRevoluition.com.
The top wine publications in America, in order of single issue sales and subscriptions, are, I think:
The Wine Spectator
The Wine Enthusiast
Wines & Spirits
The Wine Advocate
They all use the 100 Point rating system and they all provide a description of the wine along with the score. None of them claim that their score and description is objective, nor do they claim any reader must agree with their score and description.
Anyone who has a beef with these critics and their system of reviewing wines has a beef with subjective evaluation and criticism, two thing that have been applied to every artistic or craft endeavor since a neanderthal first scribbled over a cave-mate’s wall drawing.
I’m now going to critique the contents of a press release the folks at ScoreRevolution.com issued in which they describe their efforts and the momentum their cause is gaining. I’m going to critique the contents of this press reease from ScoreRevolution.com because while I don’t believe it’s a bad thing to issue press releases, I do think it’s important that their content be reasonable.
“Assigning a number to the taste of a wine should be (but unfortunately is not always) seen as one person’s opinion, and opinions are as varied as those giving them.”
First, no one assigns only a number to a wine, let alone only to its “taste”. Second, no one who has ever applied a score to a wine has ever suggested it represents anything other than their own opinion (or that of a tasting panel). ScoreRevolution.com is attempting (and doing it poorly) to suggest that scores issued by critics are meant to be seen as objective and applicable to all tasters. As I said, this is never done and ScoreRevolution does a poor job at even attempting to suggest this. Yet they try any way.
“An equally alarming thought is that winemakers are being pushed to make a more international style wine. They are changing their farming and winemaking techniques in order to achieve a higher score. We believe this is wrong.”
“Equally Alarming” to what? That a winemaker is pushed to do anything does not mean they must respond. If winemakers are “changing their farming and winemaking techniques” to achieve a higher score isn’t this a matter of making a style of wine they believe will be most welcomed not only by critics, but by consumers? That aside, this is believed by the folks at ScoreRevolution to be “wrong”. Why is this wrong? Is it morally wrong? Ethically wrong?
“Scores should not be used to buy or sell wine. Our goal is to create transparency among buyers and sellers and to encourage people to find wines based on writings and by word of mouth”
Why is word of mouth a better way of “finding wines”? What if you read Wine & Spirits Magazine and find that you too seem to like the wines Wine & Spirits rate 90 Points or 92 Points or 98 Points. What’s the problem with looking forward to their next 95 point wine? Is such anticipation immoral? Unethical?
“The power of scores is limiting the discovery of numerous grower wines, encouraging formula wines, and even influencing the creation of brand icons and inflated pricing.”
Is it a function of the Internet Age or has it always been that some people believe that by simply stating a proposition they think they’ve made their case? How are scores limiting the discovery of “grower wines”? Can you make a case to back up this proposition? I know a number of “grower wines” that have been rated highly on the 100 Point scale that have led to their discovery by people who had never heard of them before? Please make your case for your statement. What’s wrong with the creation of “brand icons” that result from people who buy wines that are recommended with the 100 Point Scale and a review and that they discover they like? Please, make your case.