My grading system

The grading system explained

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, please ...
A : I'd happily buy a half case.
A- : I'd happily buy another 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?
Anything above an A- means I'm happy to recommend others to buy these wines, on the basis that I'm happy to buy them for myself.

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:

A*  20pts
A+  19-19.5pts
A  18-18.5pts
A-  17-17.5pts
B+  16-16.5pts
B 15-15.5pts
B-  14-14.5pts

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