Scoring wine is a constant source of controversy in the wine world. Wines themselves evolve with time; the palates of wine drinkers, bloggers and critics vary greatly, as do consumer wine drinking fashions. However, after much discussion and debate amongst ourselves, we have decided to introduce a dual scoring system of our own.There is no ‘perfect’ or universally agreed scoring system. With this in mind, we have decided to use a 5 star system alternatively linked to a 100 point system. We decided to use a dual system for a variety of reasons – a reticence to rely solely on a 100 point scale, (given the obsession by some on wines that score 90 and above), the desire for the comments to be considered as more important than just the score, but also an acknowledgement that the 100pt scale is commonly understood and accepted by many all contributed to our decision.
We had initially intended for the The RedtoBrown 5 Star System to not be modelled strictly on the traditional 100 point or 20 point systems, instead being more of a kindred spirit of the 5 star rating system employed by David and Margaret on ‘At the Movies’ (for those of you familiar with the film review show on the ABC). Though we still want to convey an 'At the Movies / Roger Ebert' vibe, we will also, from time to time, provide only a points rating with the wines reviewed.
Below is a brief explanation of the different ratings to act as a guide, including a table outlining how stars convert to points. We can also extrapolate in the comments section if you have follow-up questions on our rating of a particular wine:
The RedtoBrown 5 Star Wine Rating Scale:
0-2 Stars - If you have had a wine in this range, it is memorable for all the wrong reasons!
2.5 Stars – An ok wine, quaffable if at the right price. Best left on the shelf if it is not in the ‘bargain’ price range.
3 Stars – A nice, enjoyable wine. Safe, ‘drink now’ with minimal complexity and limited ability to cellar, though still very tidy. The kind of score we give to a good quality quaffer, though a somewhat disappointing score for a premium wine.
3.5 Stars - A good quality wine that is a bit of a step up in terms of structure, flavour and enjoyment from a 3 star wine. A great score for a quaffer, and a good score for a premium wine
4 Stars – A very good to excellent wine. Delivers highly in terms of flavour, complexity and cellarability.
4.5 Stars – Exceptional wine. Love it. If you can afford it, buy it.
5 Stars – A wine that leaves you a bit speechless, and forms the basis of wine drinking ‘war stories’ later in life. You won’t see many 5 Stars given on this site, as this score will be reserved for those truly magical bottles . . .
Additional Scoring features – Some additional scoring features that represent some of the nuances of a particular wine:
* (The Asterisk) - An intangible quality to the wine that separates it from more industrial/ more predictable wines, or just a wine that has grabbed the attention of Red or Brown in a particularly positive or beguiling way. Not necessarily a point of difference that everyone will like. Multiple asterisks = “Wow, massive (subjective) X Factor wine”
+ (Plus sign) – The commonly used plus sign indicates that Red or Brown have a feeling that this wine will get better with age. Will often be seen with cellar-worthy Reds with a history of surviving a decade or so in the cellar, though could also apply to some of our favourite Chardonnays, Semillons and Rieslings.
Stars to Points Conversion Table: