Expressions: The Blog

Does A 90-Pt Wine Rating Mean What It Used To?

While investigating expert ratings of organic wines, a recent study in the Journal of Wine Economics compared the top wine rating publications and uncovered an interesting divergence between them.

Researchers scoured through over 10 vintages of California wine ratings from Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, and Wine Advocate. They found that while the average rating for Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator was 87.427 and 86.388 respectively, Wine Advocate’s average rating was over 2 points higher at 90.005. Of the data which included 74,148 wine ratings, researches said “Interestingly, there seems to be a ’rounding up’ effect in which scores of 89 (which are in the very good category) are rounded up to 90 (the excellent category).” So is a 90 point score excellent or just average?

The ratings only included California wines, so maybe the wine experts simply had a preference for those Napa Cabs we all adore. Does a 90 point wine rating mean what it used to mean to you? Would you rate wines from your favorite regions higher, or do you try to remain impartial when tasting different wines?

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