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Wine Ratings

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Wine critics share their opinions on the quality of a wine using a wine score. The 100-point scale is the most commonly used rating method,... >

Wine critics share their opinions on the quality of a wine using a wine score. The 100-point scale is the most commonly used rating method, but you may see some critics use a 20-point or even a 5-point scale. When rating wines, reviewers partake in a blind taste test and use a scorecard with a list of traits and criteria, including appearance, aroma, flavors and finish, to score. Most scores you’ll see online or in store are from a single wine publication or critic. Others will include an average of the scores from top critics in the industry.

A majority of wine critics and wine publications, those often considered the gold standard for their opinions - Decanter, James Suckling, The Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Wine Spectator Magazine, Wine & Spirits Magazine - use the 100-point scale. Wines are scored between 50-100 points on this rating system. The average rating on a 100-point scale is around 87-89 points.

Score Explanation
95–100 Classic: a great wine
90–94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities
80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine
75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50-74 Not recommended

The 20-point scale is a more technical-based system, mainly used for academic wine evaluation.

Score Explanation
20 Truly exceptional
19 A humdinger
18 A cut above superior
17 Superior
16 Distinguished
15 Average
14 Deadly dull
13 Borderline faulty or unbalanced
12 Faulty or unbalanced

Five-point scales typically use stars to denote the rating.

Score Explanation
5 Stars Superlative
4 Stars Excellent
3 Stars Good Everyday Drinking
2 Stars Casual Quaffing
1 Star Very Ordinary
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