So, what do wine ratings actually mean
With Trophies, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals, not to mention points out of 100, it’s easy to be bamboozled by wine ratings. Find out how they’re scored and what they actually mean.
Wine Selectors Tasting Panellist and wine show judge, Adam Walls, explores what it takes be a champion wine.
THE AUSTRALIAN 20-POINT WINE SHOW SYSTEM
At Wine Selectors our expert Tasting Panel uses the Australian wine show judging system.
All wines are tasted ‘blind’, meaning the Tasting Panel knows what variety and vintage they are tasting but not the label, brand, region, winemaker, or producer.
The Australian wine show circuit uses the 20-point system, awarding points out of three for appearance, seven for the nose and 10 for the palate. Scores are then added and medals awarded for Bronze, Silver, and Gold as follows:
Gold: 18.5 to 20 – an exceptional wine
Silver: 17 to 18 – an extremely good wine
Bronze: 15. 5 to 16.5 – a good wine
At Wine Selectors each Panel Tasting is made up of three Panel Members and one Chairman. The final score each wine receives is the average of the four judges, and only wines receiving a minimum of a Bronze are accepted by the Panel.
THE 100-POINTS WINE RATING SYSTEM
Some wine critics use the 100-point system, especially in the USA, where Robert Parker and Wine Spectator use this method. Scoring for this system is as follows:
100 – 95 is equivalent to a Gold medal
94 – 90 is equivalent to a Silver medal
89 – 85 is equivalent to a Bronze medal.
In Australia, the 100-point system is used by a number of wine writers like Rob Geddes and James Halliday, however, James Halliday’s system ranges from 75 to 100.
A number of other wine publications also use the five-star rating system like Winestate where 5 stars is a Gold medal, 4 stars is a Silver and 3 stars is a Bronze.
With regards to a Trophy, this is the very best of all the Gold medal wines within a ‘class’ (or category), as judged at a wine show, however, sometimes a Trophy is not awarded.
WHY WE USE THE AUSTRALIAN 20-POINT WINE SHOW SYSTEM
While these rating systems can be a little confusing and no one system it better than the other, their aim is the same, to reflect the quality of the wine.
At Wine Selectors we use the 20-point Australian wine show judging system which hails from Europe and the UK, and is used by the world’s most reputable wine writer and critic, Janis Robinson MW (Master of Wine). Historically, it is the system Australian wine has been judged by and for our Panellists, it ensures a reliable result. You can be assured at Wine Selectors that of the thousands of wines our Panel tastes every year, (in fact the Panel tasted over 3, 500 wines in 2016), only the very best get through the rigorous selection process.
Our Tasting Panel of perceptive personalities and palates comprises winemakers, international wine show judges, and wine educators. With an amazing 120 years collective experience in the wine industry, they are extremely knowledgeable. Most importantly, all of them have spent more years than they’d care to admit enjoying wine themselves! With an age range spanning 50 years, our Tasting Panel is very much in tune with the palates and requirements of all Australian wine lovers. Here’s cheers to that!