Fun With Wine Numbers
What percent of wines should be rated 90 points or more? What percent should be rated less than 80 points?
Should we expect that a certain percent of wines would be located in the top ranks? Should we assume a certain percent of wines from any given vintage are rated lower in quality? Sure we should expect this, but determining what percent are highly rated and which percent should be rated low is near impossible to determine, particularly since wines are not, and should not, be rated on a curve.
This is a game, I'm playing. So if you are not like me and like games, then you should probably stop reading here…….
…….OK, those of you that like games, what I was wondering is how the premier wine rating magazine answered the questions above. The Wine Spectator has been rating wines for quite some time. I looked only at CA Chardonnay ratings. I looked at the number of wines rated and what percent scored 90 points or better and what percent scored less than 80 points. I looked at vintages 1990 – 2007.
WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED IN 1994 AND 1995 VINTAGES? Did CA Chard all of a sudden get suddenly better? Or did the reviewers at the Wine Spectator have some sort of epiphany in 1996 and 1997 when they review these vintages? There is an exponential jump in quality in CA Chardonnay according to the Wine Spectator wine rating system in these two vintages. I mean, we are talking a HUGE jump in quality. The number fo wines that scored 90 or above increased significantly while the number of wines that scored less than 80 points fell precipitously.
And the interesting thing is that this is not a one time jump. Beginning with these two vintages, the Wine Spectator began consistently scoring CA Chardonnay higher than in the years previously.
The 1990 to 1994 vintages averaged 12% of the wines scoring less than 80 points. The 2004 through 2007 vintages averaged 2% of the wines scoring below 80 Points.
I honestly don't know what to make of this. It looks like point inflation taking place over the course of two years. On the other hand, it just may be that CA Chardonnays got a heck of a lot better over the course of two years. In any case…Numbers are interesting.
CA CHARDS REVIEWED BY THE WINE SPECTATOR
Vintage Total Reviewed % 90 Points + % -80 Points
2007 271 37 .04
2006 439 26 2
2005 421 26 3
2004 292 40 4
2003 304 23 4
2002 364 31 4
2001 424 27 5
2000 422 21 4
1999 401 26 5
1998 416 10 4
1997 518 36 2
569 36 3
1995 540 41 4
1994 500 26 4
1993 492 15 8
1992 485 15 9
1991 451 14 16
1990 453 14 14