Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An anomaly in Rating Systems

Another epiphany?
I was rereading my blog on Ratings Systems of October 21, 2007 wondering why my ratings sometimes have such a large variance from those of some professional reviewers. I thought it worth documenting for posterity an anomaly between The Wine Advocate Rating System (WARS) and most others.

Often seen beside a wine description and related to a wine's maturity is a symbol for ‘cellaring’ - a bottle straight up, at forty-five degrees or laid on its side. This symbol is not used in WARS. Instead within the 100 point system a value of 10 is assigned for a wine‘s ‘Potential’. A fantastic wine not having any cellaring potential would be limited to a maximum of 90.
Therein lies the rub!

This extra 10 allows any review not adhering to WARS to increase a wine rating by this amount. An ’80+’ becomes eligible for a ’90+’ depending on the individual reviewer‘s discretion. In WARS speak, what could be a 'barely above average' wine becomes ‘an outstanding wine of exceptional complexity’ - or a fantastic ‘drink now’ that only lasts a few months in the bottle could be rated Five Stars.

I use a modified ‘Potential’ of 5 mollifying somewhat the discrepancy between other reviews and the Ww ratings shown in this blog. Then to allow for what could be commercial fortification (some say 'fabrication') of wines I've added 5 back in for Typicity or trueness to the grape. The net is there's still a leeway of 10 at the bottom line.

If you worry about these things it‘s a conundrum since there's no solution in an undisciplined business. However, the anomaly is definitely something that should be considered if you rely on undeclared rating systems and intend to invest in wines to cellar.

Cheers, Ww
Note: A blog detailing their WARS ratings is WoineToime

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