How do wines get 90+ points and does this really mean it’s a good wine?
The 100-point system for rating wine is being adopted all around the world and has become the standard benchmark for assessing a wine and benchmarking it against its peers. Set out below is the general criteria used by judging panels to award points for wines all around the world.
1. 50 points:
A wine will typically be awarded 50 points for just being a wine, what some would call playing stakes or just turning up!
2. 5 points - what you see:
The colour and appearance of the wine in the glass is often a good early indicator of what you might expect from the wine. Bright and vibrant colour that is consistent in its appearance with very little variation from the top of the glass to the bottom is a good sign. Up to 5 points will be awarded for wines that meet these criteria.
3. 15 points - what you smell:
The aroma and bouquet are critical for a wine to really achieve a great result from judges. For a wine to be successful there should only be pleasing aromas to our sense of smell. Wines that rate highly will have several different aromas that complement each other and are consistent with the varietal on display. Judges would look to award up to 15 points for the smell.
4. 20 points - what you taste:
Wine is all about drinking and this part of the judging brings the highest amount of points. Wines that have great flavour and finish will be awarded up to 20 points. The finish is just an eloquent way of saying that the wine is able to hit all parts of the tongue and mouth with only positive sensations that are totally integrated and complimentary. Effectively the sensations that experience sweet, sour, bitter and salty all work together without one flavour overpowering another. In great wines there are often many different layers of flavours that complement each other. Cherry, plum, chocolate, coffee and vanilla can be an example of some good red wine profiles.
5. 10 points - does the total package deliver a complimentary experience:
This is where science and art often come together. The skill of the winemaker is fully on display and when they can make a wine that looks great, has sensational lifted aromas with many layers and tastes completely integrated with multiple complimentary flavours, you are looking at a fine wine of extremely good pedigree. Judges will ward 10 points for the component of the how the total package comes together.
As you can see its very difficult for a wine to score a high 90+ points and the reality is that very few do. Across shows all around the world, typically only 15% to 20% of all wines entered get 90 points or more. If a wine is awarded 90 points or more it’s a good start to help fast track your wine selection process.