"Why Do We Professionally Review Wines?"
There are several wine reviewers around the world. On a global scale you have Wine Spectator Magazine and Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate. At a local level wine shop owners might put their impressions of the wine on a display card. Opinions can be valuable to you the consumer. They allow us to make a better decision on our purchases then just looking at a picture on a bottle or guessing which of the twenty cabernets under $15 would be best.
Would you buy a baby car seat or a computer without doing your homework or asking for assistance? For some reason the majority of wine shoppers do not take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that is available. I hear people all the time purchase wine because they like the label or they have been buying a certain brand for years. When you do this, you are not allowing yourself to try the greatness that is out there at various price points.
Before 2006, I never knew Jeff Runquist Winery (California), Tim Smith (Australia) and C.G. Arie (California) existed. The 2003 Tim Smith Shiraz (Wineglas 97) is still the second best wine I have ever had and I purchased it for mere $32. The 2004 Jeff Runquist Petite Sirah (Wineglas 94) is my favorite wine under $30 while the 2003 C.G. Arie Syrah (Wineglas 94) is a close second.
Since I don't work for a winery, distributor, or a wine shop I believe my wine reviews are a valuable asset to the consumer. After carefully evaluating 100s of wines, I have discovered that a number score with tasting notes can be a great way to try something new with confidence. See my Wineglas Rating Sheet at the Wine Reviews and Ratings Home Page. I believe it to be one of the most detailed scoring sheets in the world today.
I also rate wines with numbers because if I didn't so many wines would sound the same on paper or just not sound impressive. A good example of a wine that is not overly impressive on paper is the 2001 Avignonesi Desiderio.
2001 Avignonesi Desiderio Merlot (Italy) $45
Color: Extremely dark almost black
Nose: Espresso and hints of menthol
Taste: Richness jumped out at first. It has a little gritty side to it and should age beautifully. It had nice earth tones, espresso and subtle fruit.
Finish: Over 3 minutes of pure joy.
Evaluation: The best merlot I have had to date! A steal for around $45. 95 points
This wine is a good example where there are not a ton of notes for each section but the wine is a true gem. The next wine is very good but not in the same league as the Desiderio even though it has a more detailed description.
2002 Red Edge Cabernet (Australia) $60
Color: Medium red
Nose: Earth, plum,
Taste: Fine tannins, earth, spice, plum, oak
Finish: Complex with earth and fruit up front and a nice lingering finish of oak, vanilla, and fine tannins rounds it out.
Evaluation: Drinking really well in 07. Outperformed Ladera Lone Canyon and Chateau Talbot at a recent tasting. 91 points
One component I like to focus on is the price a wine should cost in relationship to its rating. If a wine is rated 85 that is not a bad review if the bottle cost less then $10.
2004 Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone (Rhone Region of France) Under $10
Color: Medium Purple
Nose: Earth, plum, dark cherry, mild alcohol smell
Taste: Pepper, spice, some heat
Finish: Medium with some layered components of the above.
Evaluation: A solid everyday drinker. 85 points
With my scoring a wine in the 84 to 86 range should cost between $15 and $24. This wine exceeds the mark and is a good buy. The other occurrence happens also when a wine is overpriced and does not meet the mark.
1999 Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet (California) $100 plus
Color: Dark purple
Nose: Earth, oak and it was powerful
Taste: Earth, oak and medium tannins
Finish: Medium finish with a little bit on the watery side. Oak and earth dominating here
Evaluation: A well made wine but not worth $100 plus in my opinion. 89 points
An 89 point wine would be priced in the range of $25 to $34. This is not a good QPR wine and received 0 first, second, or third place votes at a blind tasting of Cabernets.
Take advantage of wine reviews as it can help avoid disappointing wine discoveries. A few tips to make sure you match up with a reviewer is to:
1.Try one or two that they rave about and see if you agree. This is a small investment to make for a potential lifetime of success buying wine.
2. Make sure the reviewer is willing to write a few bad reviews. There is no such
thing as a wine shop carry all great wines.
3. Try my reviews out as I don't work for anyone in the business and don't get paid.
Here are 3 to start with from Hennepin Lake in Uptown:
2006 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc $12.99 Wineglas 91
2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Chardonnay $14.95 Wineglas 92
2005 Conquista Mendoza Reserve Malbec $14.95 Wineglas 91
Please feel free to check out all my worldwide wine reviews on my website. I try and update them on a weekly basis.