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.
|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|
The 20-point scale is a more technical-based system, mainly used for academic wine evaluation.
|18||A cut above superior|
|13||Borderline faulty or unbalanced|
|12||Faulty or unbalanced|
Five-point scales typically use stars to denote the rating.
|3 Stars||Good Everyday Drinking|
|2 Stars||Casual Quaffing|
|1 Star||Very Ordinary|