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What’s the Point of POINTS?

Wine Scores and Why They’re Here to Stay.

In a perfect wine-world, all wine drinkers would know what they like and don’t like, and be able to ascertain the characteristics and quality of every wine they see in the store or restaurant. From there, we wine drinkers in this perfect world can connect the wine with one’s tastes as well as the food, company and occasion. Short of that, wine reviewers can scribe pin-point tasting notes to nearly replicate the taste and quality of all wines. They will be read, understood and wines will be bought and enjoyed forever after.

In an alternate perfect world, we all have access to a trusted, professional wine merchant who knows all his/her wines and his/her customers’ taste, especially yours.

Good ideas, but not gonna happen.

The 2nd scenario is possible, but finding that perfect wine merchant isn’t easy, and not necessarily sustainable.

This is why wine critics who include points with their tasting notes are popular, and are not going away. The presenters and the packaging may change, even the scale can change, but points will continue to be the way to quickly communicate a judgment of quality. 

So here’s the question: What’s the point of points? 

I look at all other products for which I’m a customer and NOT an expert on, which means all products in the world other than wine, and I see my dependence on a number given to indicate quality. Consumer Reports, Amazon, Rolling Stone, you name it: I’m interested, as are all of us who aren’t experts of that craft. From there, I look at price and then invest what valuable time I can to understand before I buy. In most cases, score and price are the two main factors in deciding what I buy. Unless you’re a wine expert and eschew the point system, I’m guessing you’re pretty much the same in the wine department. In fact, wine is even more dependent on point rankings as it is one of the most confusing products to buy. Just read a few back labels and you know what I’m talking about. The only product available to most consumers that’s more confusing than wine is modern art.

What I suggest you do with wine scores

Wine notes along with points are important because with good ones you can glean useful information from them. You can also match your notes on a wine to the critic’s to see if you agree with his or her taste and judging ability. So please do read the wine notes, mine or others, as you are scrolling through the points! Not every critic or point system is created equal. You should find one or two you agree with and follow their guidance.

Or, keep searching for that perfect wine-world, where choosing the perfect wine every time is a breeze. Let me know when you get there. I want to come.


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