Sunday, July 25, 2010

RedtoBrown Scoring System (Modified)

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:
5*=97-100
4.5*=94-96
4*=91-93
3.5*=88-90
3*=85-87
2.5*=82-84
2.0*=79-81

7 comments:

Author: Sean Mitchell said...

Good idea. It is a rather vexed decision, and I'm using a rating out of 10 for similar reasons. I think one of the most experienced tasters of them all, Michael Broadbent, uses a version of the 5 star system, so you are certainly in good company.

Cheers
Sean

Chris Plummer said...

Welcome to the world of wine scoring guys! Without doubt, it can occasionally make tasting notes look straight forward.... ;/

I gotta say I love your inspiration for the 5 star system, who says wine writers must look within their own circles for a scoring reference? But I also must say, I'll be looking very closely to see if in future face offs you and Brown have as polarised disagreements as David and Margaret!

; )

Cheers,
Chris P

Red said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Between Michael Broadbent and David and Margaret, I feel we are in dsitinguished company! ;-)

Yes we are hoping future Face-Offs will generate disagreements . . . I think a Beaujolais Face-Off is in order . .

Brown said...

I echo Red's thanks.

We thought we would take the plunge, noting the subjectivity of it all.

For what it's worth, Red trends towards David more than Margaret (the silent, brooding type), whereas I am all over the place.

PS: A Face-Off with several wine styles is always in order!
Cheers,
RB

Anonymous said...

I don't mind the 5-star system at all.

I started off with beer (have ratings for about 1,000), which generally uses a 20-point system that I broke down to stars and quarters for ease of reference, i.e., **3/4 or whatever, with a ** beer being just drinkable (if you have to), like a XXXX or similar rot.

My wife still gives me a star rating when I ask her opinion about a wine, and then I have to mentally convert to the Australian interpretation of 100-point systemed used by Halliday, Winefront, Oliver and friends. She just can't work out why we don't have 65-point wines or whatever if it's sort of drinkable but not great.

So there's something intuitive about the star system.

You might like to get rid of the white background behind the yellow. Make those stars shine more brightly!

MichaelC

Red said...

Thanks Michael. Agree that there is something intuitive about a star system, especially for those that are not immersed in the world of wine.
We will continue to work on our star formatting. Being a particularly unsavvy person when it comes to things technical and on the computer it normally takes a few iterations for me to get it right!

P.S. I'm a XXXX Bitter apologist! Whenever I go to Qld on holiday it's one of the first things I look to purchase. :-)

Anonymous said...

I do the same with Resch's Silver Bullet when in Sydney. It's so beautifully awful. I always buy a 750mL bottle to remind me of the its compelling horror. How a beer can so evoke the intriguing pong of urine-stained pub carpet and a mangrove infested estuary at low tide is beyond me, and indeed a miracle of the brewer's art.

And then there's the Sheaf Stout ...

MichaelC

 
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