Sunday, September 16, 2012

My response to an anonymous comment

I don't get many comments on the blog, but recently this one was posted on my report from Pinot Paradise. Someone posting anonymously said...
    Really? you are using a 100 pt. system? I bet you can't replicate those scores twice in a blind tasting within 3 points. And all those smokey note you were picking up on the 2009 wines from the Corrilotos area: smoke taint dude! but you must be too sophisiticated as a wine expert to pick up on that.
Now I could just ignore it or delete it, but I think maybe it's worth responding to.

As regards the 100 point scale, I hate it for a number of reasons which I've probably posted here before. For one thing it's not a 100 point scale at all. At best it's a 50 point scale; however the range from 50 - 80 is meaningless. Anything from 50-70 is flawed, so what's the difference in the scale? Anything from 70-80 is un-flawed, but 'average' - bottom shelf, sub-$5 supermarket plonk. So we are left with a 20 point scale. In my view a score of 80-85 means a wine is drinkable but not worth buying, 85-90 means I'll buy it if the price is right and 90+ are the ones to look out for. I so rarely find wines that I'd rate above 95 so now I'm down to a 15 point scale.

For a while I resisted using it. In the early days of the blog I'd just list wines as recommended, highly recommended, good value etc. But eventually I gave in to the pressure of a scoring system and adopted the 100 point scale simply because it's the most recognised one. Maybe I should go back to the old system; it's certainly worth considering.

Could I replicate those scores twice in a blind tasting within 3 points? Probably not. I probably couldn't replicate them non-blind. I've found that wines show differently on different days. Bottle variation, palate variation, context - to me wines show differently on different days; that's part of their charm.

As for the issue of smoke taint from the Lockheed Fire in the 2009 vintage - I haven't seen that much of it to be honest. Sure, I picked up smoke in the 2009 Alfaro Estate and 2009 Pleasant Valley Estate. But I didn't pick it up in the 2009 Alfaro Lindsay Paige or the 2009 Pleasant Valley gold label, nor the 2009 Big Basin Woodruffe or Alfaro. In fact of the 5 tasting notes mentioning smoke only 2 were from the 2009 vintage. I find that interesting in itself.

As for my being a sophisticated wine expert- not really, just an enthusiastic amateur trying to cover the local wine region. I don't claim to be anything more. If you don't like my blog then fair enough; there are plenty more; you can even start your own.


Eric said...

Reading you about this clear definition on scoring, I know understand better why we score on a 20 scale in France ;)

To second you on wine blind tasting, in regards of being able to giving the same score twice. As you said, this vary while the wine evolves. That's why it is often important to always put the date of the tasting along with the score. That is a very good information to evaluate the wine evolution in the time.