Read The Text!

The subject of this blog is scores! Yes that numbering system that has redefined the quality, approach, mind set, consumption, wine making, marketing, and more when it comes to wine. For better or worse we have all been affected by the rating system and we will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

What is it that allows us to be led by someone we do not know guiding our buying choices so blindly without question. It has always been so, the movie critic, the clothing critic, the art critic, the food critic. So why should wine be any different. We have tried several reincarnations of rating wine. We have had Stars, Puffs, 10 points, 20 points, 50 points and the list goes on. The 1976 Paris tasting was 20 points that I prefer but the most successful rating system in all of wine is the Robert Parker 100 point system. Mr. Parkers rating system has been the standard now for at least the last 20 years. As most of you know he nailed the 1982 Bordeaux Vintage and there was no turning back from there. He has become the most read, and influential Critic of all time in any form.
He is read not only here in the United States but all throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, all of Asia, India, South America, Canada, Russia, China well just about everywhere. To deny his power and influence would be a fool’s folly.

This Blog is not about Robert Parker Jr. However, this lawyer from a small town in Maryland illustrates a bigger point. You can lead by example and he certainly does! Many have taken unfair shots at him, that’s what happens when you become a success. My father once told me that the higher up the flag pole you fly, the more your ass becomes a target! There will always be those that are envious of his success but even his biggest detractors cannot deny his overall contribution to the wine world One man has single handedly gotten so many people to pick up a glass of wine and has helped numerous people to understand the greatness of this beverage. I for one would like to thank him! He is a kind decent and honest man. He takes no advertising dollars and he plays no favorites. His 100 point system is used by Steve Tanzer, Allen Meadows and many others. So why do I spend so much time on a blog that’s not suppose to be about him, this is why,


Mr. Parker, Mr. Meadows and Mr. Tanzer like so many other critics have encouraged you from the start to stop being mindless and start making your own choices. I wrote a blog long ago about your own pallet, about how only you can tell what you like. That it’s alright to disagree with the self proclaimed expert in the room who pretends to know more than everyone else. He may know more Regions, Producers, History but he can’t tell you what to like, unless you allow him or her too! If the wine has a strong influence of say mushroom or bacon fat and you don’t like mushrooms and bacon fat then even if it scores 100 points it’s all right not to like it. See the point, the text will guide you as to what the critic is tasting! Now you may not taste the same things but I would guess if he is animated about a certain flavor then it’s likely there. You could have bought one bottle instead of several and if you taste the same thing and if you don’t like such things then you don’t have to buy that wine again. Also if that critic is found to be similar in his recognition of flavors you are not in favor of then you can avoid ever buying another bottle that might be offensive. That is if you read the Text! Sometimes the Critic if honest will say something like, I prefer wines of lower acid but no doubt those that prefer these style wines will no doubt score this wine much higher. This is why the critic almost unanimously asks you to Please read, to a point of begging.

I do believe the 100 point system that was suppose to allow a little more flexibility then the old 20 point system has gotten a little top heavy. I mean it was suppose to stop the 17.5 scores! That was the intent, but many wines have gotten slammed together and it’s a little crowded near the top. But that brings me back to the key phrase of the article, if you want to unwind two 90 point wines, READ THE TEXT!

May be I’ll start the 1000 point system, NAW!

Next time you clean your wine glass, clean your reading glass also,

Greg Linn

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