Our Scoring System

You can't even imagine the hours we spent debating whether or not to score each wine and, if so, what scoring system to use. It took us three bottles of Grüner Veltliner to decide in the end.

People like scores. Indeed, we like scores. They are a very useful ready reckoner when assessing and grading a whole bunch of similar wines. But we also know the danger of reading numbers and ignoring words. Wine comes in infinite shades and cannot be reduced to numbers. But in the final analysis, scores are useful, so we're using them.

We have decided on a 100-point system, because we believe it is now the most widely used and readily accepted. If we were handing out gongs a wine scoring 85 would be worthy of a bronze medal, a wine scoring 89 would be worthy of a silver and a wine scoring 93 would be solid gold.

But please always remember that our scores are 'absolute' not 'relative'. That means we are scoring all wines, from the humblest £3.99 bottle to the grandest £399 Cru, on the same scale. So a £3.99 bottle scoring 83 or 84 is a perfectly good wine and good value too; if it scores 90 it is a truly remarkable wine for its price. On the other hand, that £399 bottle would be disappointing if it mustered less than 90 points and the best will smash through the 93-point barrier.

GOLD93SILVER89BRONZE85

Finally, for those who prefer a 20-point system, we offer this conversion chart:

14.0 = 80
14 + = 81
14.5 = 82
15.0 = 83
15 + = 84
15.5 = 85 (bronze)
15.5 + = 86
16.0 = 87
16.5 = 88
16.5 + = 89 (silver)
17.0 = 90
17 + = 91
17.5 = 92
18.0 = 93 (gold)
18 + = 94
18.5 = 95
18.5 + = 96
19.0 = 97
19 + = 98
19.5 = 99
20.0 = 100

 

One final thought: some people ask us how a wine we discribe as a 'shocker' can still score 78 or 79 out of 100. Isn't that a very good pass mark? Well, the wine world is a funny old place and basically everyone who uses the 100-point scale gives a wine 50 points just for turning up. Less than 70 is for flawed wines; wines with some fault that makes them impossible to recommend at any price. So the scoring of drinkable wines really begins around 70. So why call it a 100-point scale and not a 30-point scale?  Well, people do seem to relate to scores out of 100 more than out of 30. Don't blame us - we didn't start this!