Christopher Calicott, the site director for LasVegasCritics.com – and a fellow Las Vegas Critic – believes that we need a new and meaningful wine ratings scale because the current “100 point” system for rating wine is broken. (edit 03/18/10: Read what he has to say about the current wine rating systems.)
This is nothing new, there’s a New York Times article by Gary Rivlin from several years ago that urges people to drop the old system an adopt a new one…because the wine-rating system is not improving with age. (Unfortunately, the scale that they recommend is extremely limited and it wouldn’t really be a viable alternative to the one that is currently in use.)
The wine-rating system leaves some with a sour taste and one writer openly expresses their hate for the 100-point system. Even a simple and elegant explanation of the 100-point scale points out one of the inherent flaws in the system with the comparison to grade school in the opening paragraph. TheWineBuyer.com points out that the 100-point scales used by Wine Advocate / Robert Parker, Wine Spectator, Steve Tanzer, Wine and Spirits, Connoisseurs’ Guide and Wine Enthusiast are not the same and they have a lengthy explanation page for everyone’s different scoring systems.
[edit 12/26/09: Here's another blog post explaining the differences in wine rating scores with a link to a comprehensive comparison of the different systems that was compiled by De Long Wine.]
More recently, DrVino.com acknowledges that the wine system is badly flawed with a link to the Wall Street Journal article, “A Hint of Hype, A Taste of Illusion” by Leonard Mlodinow, the author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives. In the article, Joshua Greene, the editor and publisher of Wine and Spirits, says, “Even though ratings of individual wines are meaningless, people think they are useful.”
Wine ratings should be useful and we definitely need to adopt a new system.