Rating Wine

Is just saying, “I like this wine or I don’t like this wine a true rating system? Absolutely, if that’s how you determine whether or not you would buy another bottle of the same wine again is a bonafide rating system that’s usually infallible.

Let’s face it, wine reviews are not objective be it mine, yours, or theirs. Or anyone else’s either, unless of course you have fancy schmancy initials (remember them?). Wine reviews are the perception of the wine which makes it subjective due in part to the many distinctive palates out there. So, my 100 point rating scale is entirely different than Wine Spectator’s 100 point scale, or Mike’s Cellar Emporium (I don’t really have a basement, but I keep the house like a wine cooler rating scale), or Cousin Carl’s Schnozzola Sanctararium’s 1-5 point rating scale based on smoked bacon, or Jacuzzi Jack’s Persnickety Palate to discern the “green apple”, or Gumshoe Guido’s Garage Grapevine “is this really a grapevine growing on the garage?”, or Sparing Sharon’s “can I get 2 bottles for $12?”, or Susie Q’s Silver Saloon’s “goodness, I love this label!”, or for that matter, my wife’s “I like it” or “I don’t like it” rating scale. But they all fall into the same basic category – the “it works for me” category.

However, some of us attempt to become a bit more scientific, or a bit more sophisticated, or a bit more technical, or a bit more refined, or you’re just a plain “ol wine snob. In the past I have rated wine with price being a specific criteria to the eventual outcome of the wine’s rating. I have come to realize this is not entirely fair to the quality of a wine. So, I’ve decided to just rate the wine based on it’s merit but I will add the value of the wine based on the cost which I will call “cork value”. Yeah, I know it will take awhile to get used to, including myself. Anyway, here goes…

The revised 100-point rating scale

95-100     Oh yeah, I stumbled on a good one. Darn I knew I should’ve bought more              but by the time I tried this and went back to the wine merchant, they didn’t have any left and they couldn’t reorder. You don’t find these everyday.

90-94      A really great wine, why can’t I open these everyday. This is like going to         wine heaven with your entire inventory and they have a climate controlled room with your name on it.

85-89      A really good wine. You wouldn’t mind opening these every day either. This is the kind of wine that your friends enjoy when they come over and they hope you open one up.

80-84      A good everyday table wine to have with whatever meal you have cooked or for a good wine to sit by the fireside with a good book.

70-79      A so-so wine, drinkable and worthy of second chances if you have any         doubts, but given my druthers…

<70        Not a chance, dump it down the drain, don’t donate it (they’ll know where it         came from), don’t buy another bottle (if you happened to buy two, bring one back and make up any excuse to get your money back), if that doesn’t work don’t cook with it either. If all else fails, refer to my first comment – dump it down the drain.

The new “cork value” rating system

5 Corks    A great buy. Keep plenty in stock and hope it ages really well.

4 Corks    A good value. Yeah, you might want to buy a case of it.

3 Corks    An average buy. You’re getting exactly what you paid for. Buy as the moment hits you.

2 Corks    Below average. It depends on your wine inventory. Just because it’s below         average doesn’t mean it isn’t good wine. If you’re a wine collector this doesn’t really matter (you’re in a different league). But if you’re just an average wine drinker (like me) the higher the cork value the happier I am.

1 Cork      Way below average. Don’t waste your money when there is so much wine to choose from. Again, just because this is a low cork value doesn’t mean this isn’t a good wine, I would just prefer a better value for the wine I purchase.

Well, there you have it, here are some wines to ponder while you’re trying to figure out the revised and new ratings.

Chateau Ste Michelle 2003 Columbia Valley Semillon. Melon aroma (the label also indicated sweet red peppers but I couldn’t get the ‘ol schnozzola to pick up on this – can you?). Tangerine, Mandarin orange, and nectarine flavors with an orchid finish (isn’t this a flower you can actually eat?). $7.99 86 rating, 4 1/2 corks. Definitely a good buy. I had this with Cajun scallops, cross trax fries (they look like a potato chip with criss-cross lattice work) and green beans (yes, fresh ones). The Semillon wine is underutilized and doesn’t get the notoriety of the Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs and I for one need to drink more of this varietal.

Evodia 2009 Old Vines Garnacha Calatayud Red Wine. This wine was decanted for about an hour before tasting it and red raspberry, boysenberry, and clove aromas immediately dominated the nose. On the palate, blackberries and clove flavors preceded a smooth blackberry finish. I had this as a stand-alone wine and it was exceptional. $9.99, 86 rating, 4 1/2 corks.

Harthill Farms NV California Merlot. Cherry, cherry, and cherry aromas with a hint of boysenberry. Cherry, cherry, and cherry flavors with a hint of clove on the palate. This is a “drink now” wine as I’m not sure if I want to cellar this other than to drink it within the year I bought it. However, I gave it an 81 rating and it only costs $4.00, and of course it deserves a value of 5 corks. I paired this with a Portobello mushroom burger, American cheese, and salt & vinegar chips. I could not find a picture of their Merlot but did find one with their Cabernet Sauvignon just to give you an idea of what the label looks like.

Quail Creek 2008 California Shiraz. This wine opened with red raspberry, tart strawberry, and leather aromas. On the palate I found cherry hard candy and pepper flavors. This is a very decent wine that did not need decanting and didn’t taste much different the night after I opened it. $5.00, 83 rating with 5 corks as a way to ease the pocket book or wallet. I was quite impressed with this as a stand-alone wine but would not hesitate to have this with anything off the grill.