Reviewing strategy

.         As reviewing involves the consumption of an intoxicant, the idea whether wine ratings can withstand the influence of ‘delight’ and/or one’s own impression and can be truthfully transposed to other people, has posed a problem that needed to be tackled. To do so, I generated a table that allows me to consistently rate wines in two ways:

1. Analytically – a consistent, emotionally impartial way unaffected by alcohol’s influence or by failing memory.

2. Emotionally – describes how I feel about THAT particular wine at THAT particular time in meaningful, yet subjective manner.


Red wines – review scoring system

BODY: Very light, Light, Medium, Full, Thick (Very light and Thick have 1 pt deduction, otherwise no points are awarded).

TANNINS: None (0), Subtle (2), Refined (2), Tannic (2), Very Tannic (1).

FINISH: None (0), Short (1), Medium (2), Long (3), Extra Long (5).

DECANT TIME: 15 min, 30 min, 1 hr, 2 hrs (-1), greater than 2 hrs (-2).

AGING POTENTIAL: None, 1-2 years, less than 5 years, 5-10 years, more than 10 years (none is scored)

STAGE OF EVOLUTION: Fruity, Integrated, Aged (none are scored – subjective).

SENSORY PROPERTIES: Aromatic (0 to 2 pts depending on the intensity, most wines = 0, wine that you want to smell more than you want to sip = 2); Smooth (0 or 1), Silky (0 or 1), Chalky (no points)

COMPLEXITY: each distinct aroma receives a single point independent of what it is or its intensity.

Banana; strawberry, raspberry, red currant, cherry, almond; black currant, blackberry, bilberry, blueberry, black cherry; prune (plum), caramel, coffee, dark chocolate; smoke, Earth (soil, dirt); truffle, leather, musk; rose, violets, cedar, pine, green pepper, cut hay; oak, coconut, vanilla; cinnamon, clove, liquorice, thyme, pepper.

STRUCTURE: balanced wines (1-2) – harmony between body, alcohol, acidity and tannic structure.

FAULTS: acidic, bitter, alcoholic, sweet, metallic, corky, bretty. Each of these receives a 0.5 deduction if slight or a full 1 pt deduction if the attribute is quite noticeable. If more than one fault is present, 1 additional pt is deducted. If any of these faults are too strong, the wine may be deemed undrinkable and hence there is no need to rate it – the bottle is most likely spoiled.

DEDUCTIONS: anything that is off: unusual color – deduct 1 pt (e.g. color is too light even for Pinot Noir), wine has too much of a vegetal note (i.e. green pepper notes are too overwhelming and become overly rancid – one point is added in the complexity section and 1 or more pts are deducted in this section).

SUMMATION: The sum of these points is added to an 80 pt baseline (any drinkable wine automatically receives 80 pts) to receive a final score. If a certain wine attribute can’t be determined for certain, average of the two is taken (e.g. finish is somewhere between medium (2) and long (3), which equals 5/2 = 2.5). In the case of 0.5, the number is rounded up (e.g. 88.5 becomes 89).

MY IMPRESSION: A section of the rating which is completely subjective and depends on my mood and what my palate likes, always written in capital letters. These are: UNDRINKABLE, DRINKABLE BUT WHY, NOTHING SPECIAL, NICE, BEAUTIFUL and DIVINE. These are only used for LCBO reviews only.


.         When summed up, my scoring system allows (even though it’s improbable) for more points than 100. That is: Tannins receive up to 2 pts, finish up to 5, fragrant wine up to 2, smoothness and silkiness 1 pt each, complexity up to 35 and structure up to 2 pts, although I was never able to sense more than 7 different aromas in a single bottle, and hence totaling 98 (has anyone tried 100 pt. wine?).

.         Most of the time the score awarded matches my impression, but on occasion it has happened that wine received high score (due to complexity) but my impression was unfavorable.


White wines – review scoring system

Coming soon


Bargain index

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.         It is my belief that wine should be a part of our daily lives and even though a lot of care goes into producing a great bottle at various costs of living standards, still being able to exchange high end bottle for a high end bicycle, monthly rent or a two week vacation at any of the top destinations somehow seems disconnected. For this reason I’ve created this bargain index which takes into consideration the fact that wines can now be produced nearly anywhere and made to resemble unaffordable giants, but for fractional cost.


7 thoughts on “Reviewing strategy

  1. This is a great approach to wine tasting. I like your logical well thought-out order for rating wines and classifying bargains, and can respect your approach to wine!

    • Thanks Malcolm, I appreciate your comment. By the way, I have recently been working on even more elaborate reviewing sheet and have been composing two, perhaps three part article explaining the (my) logic behind. It should be out before the month is over.

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