To score or not to score? That is the question

This is a real head-hurter for me. I am by nature a geek. I love stats, I love numbers, I love spreadsheets and I love rankings. When I first subscribed to Decanter I set up a spreadsheet of all of the supermarket wines that were reviewed, including the scores, and sent it to friends so they always had a reference (if they wanted!) when they went shopping. But what if they didn’t like a wine rated 19/20? What if they started shopping by scores alone. How boring would that be? How much would they miss out on?

When I score a wine I try to be as objective as possible and take into account the quality of the wine making etc, but if I don’t like it can I still give it 18.5/20? When I’m scoring a wine at home it’s to decide whether I want to have it again so I probably wouldn’t give it that high score, but now I’ve decided to share my thoughts I suppose I’ll have to try harder.

As I’ve said, I’m a geek so yes, I will score wines. As honestly as I possibly can.

But the matter doesn’t end there. What scoring system should I use? In my first post I went for the 20 point system. If its good enough for Jancis, it’s good enough for me I thought. However, in recent months Decanter have gone to the 100 point scale. Most of the websites and blogs I follow (see the “My Wine Links” page) use the 100 point system. The wine world loves Parker and his 100 point wines. But it’s not really a 100 point score is it? You get 50 points just for turning up… Well we do love a trier don’t we! But it’s a nice round number so I think I’m going to go with the trendy kids and go cental… Sorry couldn’t help that one.

The Wine Gang ( give a great overview about how this works so I’m going with them:

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

But please remember that wine is a very subjective and wonderfully personal pastime, so use scores as a guide only. Only you know what 100 really means.

  1. I too added a 100 point score in addition to my 5 star (well, corkscrew) system that I have been using, initially in my beer blog. I don’t love it but it is now ubiquitous. If Decanter caved in, then why shouldn’t we? If you ever have ambitions to be quoted then the 100 point system is almost unavoidable!

    • I questioned whether to use scoring at all to be honest… But I’m a bit of a geek and it works Asa. Tanking system… There will never be a perfect solution, especially with something as complex and wine! As long as scoring doesn’t get in the way of enjoyment we’ll all be just fine!

Leave a Reply to Wine Wrangler Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: