Pinot Noir, The Wine Spectator & Statistics

I like quantifying things and ideas. I love statistics. Sure, they can lie. But they can also tell a story. And, while I have qualms about the 100 point rating system, it too can be used to tell a story. I’m not sure if this story says more about the Wine Spectator or about Pinot Noir.

Nevertheless, you’ve got to appreciate the people over at the Wine Spectator. They do review a lot of wines. Sometimes their palate matches mine. Sometimes they and I are off. Their reviews can make a brand and can hurt it by letting the cat out of the bag.

I have been researching Pinot Noir from various appellations, the popularity of different Pinot appellations, and how the ratings from various reviews impact that popularity.

Here we have a look at what the Pinot Noir Universe according to the Wine Spectator.

THE 1998-2002 VINTAGES (Showing total Pinots reviewed,
total Pinots receiving 90 points or more, total Pinots receiving 79 points or less)

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Calculations are based on the use of’s advanced wine review search engine

So what story do we have here?

Well, first, and again, you have to be impressed. The Wine Spectator reviewed over 4800 Pinot Noirs over these five vintages. Second, What’s up with Carneros Pinot Noir? Fewer than 7% of its Pinots reviewed get 90 points or more compared with a state average of 13%.

Clearly, the Wine Spectator is liking what’s happening in Oregon.

And you really do have to come to the conclusion that the Wine Spectator finds red Burgundy to be a hit or miss proposition. That 22% getting 79 points or less is correct.

There are other stories in this graph. I’d love to know what stories Fermentation’s readers find.

Posted In: Rating Wine


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