This entry just tells you more about my ranking system thats normally indicated next to the price of the wine. Of course one cannot be completely objective about what 'grade' a particular wine gets, but you can sort of try. I am fully aware of the perils of giving grades, particularly if the grade / point given can make or break a wine (cue Robert Parker). To me, the grading system is a guide - should I have the opportunity to buy some of these wines, I know where to look for a quick glance and thats how I suppose you ought to treat it. I must also admit that this grading system is adapted from Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Guide.
Firstly, there is an actual grade as to how the wine performed during the tasting. I try my best to take price out of the equation, but this is often not possible. Alternatively, if I thought a wine was of particularly good or poor value, this should be in the actual tasting note. The grade ranges from A+ to C-, I dont think I have ever rated a wine C-, though some have come close. They correspond roughly to:
A* : Buy a few cases, at least. Now.
A+ : A case in the cellar will make me a happy man.
A : Definitely re-buy a bottle, at least.
A- : I'd happily drink most of a bottle.
B+ : I'd drink a few glasses.
B : I'd drink a glass.
B- : Probably wont finish whats in my glass.
C+ : Half a glass is plenty, thanks.
C : I'd finish the tasting pour only to be polite.
C- : Wheres the spittoon again?
If I ever find the occasion to award lower than a C- (lets hope not), then I will say so in the tasting note, probably followed by a string of expletives too. In addition, there are ratings next to the grade to indicate aging potential as I am aware many wines tasted are not at their peak and would benefit from bottle aging. This will be written in brackets; the extent to which the wines will develop is indicated by the number of +s. So a wine with [A-(++)] may one day, at its peak, be [A+]; this will be a thing to look for especially in Bordeaux tastings.
So thats that, my grading system explained.
Addendum Nov 2011
For en primeur tastings, a 20-point scale is used, with the number of (+) an indication as to how it might develop. This would roughly translate as: