Sommelier Rated & Approved Wines
I picked up the new wine rating newsletter from VinTrust at the Recent Wine & Spirits Magazines Top 100 Tasting. VinTrust finally announced the emergence of their new publication today in a press release via BusinessWire and this spurred me to take another look at it.
VinTrusts SOMMselections consists primarily of reviews of wine with a smattering of commentary on recent Burgundy vintages, screwcaps, biodynamic farming and some other topics. But the main thrust is providing reviews of sommelier-vetted wines for VinTrust’s client base of collectors who store their wine and often procure it through VinTrust.
The most interesting thing about the new publication is not that the wines are scored on a 100 point system. That’s to be expected when writing reviews for "collectors". What’s interesting is how they break down the 100 Point Rating System:
This is the potential number of points each element of the wine’s character can achieve. This breakdown makes as much sense to me as any other well thought out system probably would. Each review also includes a few words describing each of the five elements of the wine as well as a short contextual description of the wine. So, a typical review looks like this:
2003 Hanzell Vineyards Chardonnay
Chardonnay – Sonoma County
Aroma: mineral, ocean, white flowers, apple………13
Flavor: lime, hazelnut, mineral, toast, apple……….14
Structure: rich, med acid, glycerous, mild tannin..14
Length: long, needs time to develop………………….13
Balance: balanced and refreshing………………………37
SUGG: $65 DRINK: 2008-2018 91 Points
The palate is refreshing and rich at the same time.
The acidity and mild tannins, unusual in a California
white, aid in aging this historic white. Hanzell fans
will be pleased to note that this is a young version
of the ’95 vintage.
The reviews are the average taken from a number of different VinTrust sommeliers’ independent ratings. So, we are talking about a group effort rather than an individual’s tastes. Lisa Minucci, SOMMselection’s editor describes the reviews this way:
"SOMMselections Wine Journal is a new and unique kind of wine publication that offers more objective reviews by trained wine professionals and multiple perspectives on truly special wines.”
I’m not clear how the reviews are "more objective" than others. Nor am I clear what the difference is between aroma’s rated "13 points" and those rated "14" points. This of course is the major problem with a reader’s perception of any wine rating that ascends beyond, say 4 or 5 stars.
The coolest thing about SOMMselection is that the reviews come from sommeliers. These folks are highly trained in the ways of wine. This is a good thing. However, I’m not sure that it’s a thing that makes these reviews any more objective than those of Hank the Vacuum Cleaner Salesman. However, it does make them more informed.
A complimentary one-year subscription to the newsletter appears to located HERE. Click on the "Fall 2006–Inaugural Edition" link to get to the email form you need to fill out.