Do Wine Scores Still Matter?

If you’re buying wine based solely on a high point score from a famous critic, I have just one thing to say to you: stop it already! The wine scoring system is so subjective and flawed that you should never, ever make a purchase based on someone else’s taste buds.

Still, wine consumers all over the world continue to acquire wines for their personal cellars all because of Robert Parker slapping a 97 point rating on a bottle of ho-hum red or James Suckling’s rave review of a mediocre burgundy. I’ve had wines with a dismal 85 point score that were better than acceptable and I’ve had a glass of a 98 point wine that was so bad it went unfinished.

Wine scores became so important in the 1990s and early 2000s that some winemakers began chasing that perfect 100 point score, often crafting wines to appeal to certain critics’ tastes instead of making a wine they themselves loved. As more and more hip consumers and sommeliers are turning on this 40 year old scale of perfection, the magic of these scores is slowly fading.

Distributors and wineries are hanging on to the dated scoring system, often touting the high scores their product receives (if they are pleased with the numbers, of course). But the cold, hard facts point to the power of a high score diminishing.

I’ve never purchased a wine based solely on its score, and quite frankly, the numbers mean little to nothing to me.

The only time I ever consider a score is if I’m purchasing wine for resale, as I did when I lucked out by grabbing two cases of the truly horrible 2012 Caymus 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon for $47 a bottle. Due to the wine’s grossly overrated 96 point score from Parker, it created a market where newbies were scrambling to pick off extras. I ended up unloading it on a collector at $175 per bottle. Not a bad profit for a little meaningless number!

What do you think of wine scores? Are they important to you? Please comment below!

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