Wine Scoring

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A “guest” posting by Scott. I need to get this guy out here more often.

WS’s Harvey Steiman posted a piece on Feb 23rd discussing his recent surprise while tasting the ’05 Ch. de Pez. I’ve had this wine many times, not the ’05, but the ’88, ’89, and ’90. They were classic wines back then, and I don’t know about now, but I have a hunch about their current style. When Steiman first rated this wine, probably back in ’07 or ’08, he scored it an 88. In his recent tasting he liked it so much that he said he might start drinking Bordeaux again and scored it a 90. I know that there really isn’t any difference between an 88 and a 90 score, e.g., it’s got to be something like 88 +/-2 or 3 or 4; an 88 is not absolute, exact. However, for the critic and the consumer a score of 88 is 88 +/-0, or, it IS absolute in their minds.

The crime here is most consumers won’t give much consideration to wines scoring less than 90, so Steiman’s original score of 88 probably hurt de Pez’s sales in the US, but now a couple years later he scores it a 90 and says he might start drinking Bordeaux again because of it. Wine critic scoring is 100% subjective and not at all precise, and when those imprecise scores are around critical break points, like 90, then it can have considerable impact on sales.

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