I mean it. Don’t go hatin’ on wine scores just because they get abused. Or because you (like me) don’t care for them much yourself.
If you really want to change things in the wine world, then go out there and buy wines that appeal to your own preferences, and based on recommendations from sources that you trust – irrespective of whether or not those recommendations are based on scores.
In this short video, I explain why I think wine scores/ratings have their place (gasp!), and why it’s not the fault of the scores or rating systems themselves that they get relentlessly abused in wine media, retail and even by consumers.
At the end, things get a bit… trippy… Also, monkeys are involved. Whatever. You’ve been warned…
No matter how far one travels in the wine world, there is no respite from the rampant abuse of the 100-point wine rating system.
The harsh reality of this fact was driven home to me while visiting the (relatively new, at least when it comes to their modern table wines) Cima Corgo producer Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo during my recent sojourn to Portuguese wine country (while the vineyards have been long-standing and the location making wine since the mid 1700s, the modern winery was built in April 2003).
Quinta Nova’s rather long name is the odd result of a merger of sorts; from the QuintaNova.com website:
“The name ‘Quinta Nova’ (meaning new farm) was the name given to the new Quinta after the two Quintas were joined together. Nossa Senhora do Carmo is the patron saint of the seventeenth century chapel on the margin of the Douro River. In this particularly dangerous bend of the river, the crew of the Rabelo boats would stop at the chapel to beg protection from their patron saint before carrying on down the river.”
In their efforts to get their table wines a bit of market share outside of their Portuguese home base, it seems that Quinta Nova could use some assistance from their canonized namesake – because the abuse of the 100 point system, which has led to what have to be some of the laziest business practices in modern history, is making their journey into the world wine market a treacherous one indeed…
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The first thing that you need to know about the recently-awarded Top 10 Touriga Nacional wines from Portugal is that there area actually 12 of them.
Such is the strangeness of Portuguese wine politics that a contest selecting the top ten single-varietal bottlings of Touriga Nacional – the grape on which Portugal’s red table wine future seems to be staked (according to the focus attended to it at the 2010 Wines of Portugal International Conference in Porto) couldn’t actually stick to the rules of its namesake.
The Top 10 TNs were winnowed down from a list of thirty TN bottlings selected by ViniPortugal (the group who organized the conference and who are charged with promoting Portuguese wines internationally, who got the list down from 80 submitted samples) through a panel of tasters that included MWs Jancis Robinson, Doug Frost and Mary Ewing-Mulligan (among others). The 12 winners of the 10 were then presented at a gala dinner event at the stunning Palácio da Bolsa in Porto, following Day One of the conference.
While the dinner and surroundings at the Palácio da Bolsa were both stunning, I wouldn’t use the same word to describe the vast majority of the Touriga Nacional wines that I tasted…
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