We visited wine scoring notes past four weeks, noting wine scores by different notable wine scorers do not mean the same thing.
A Robert Parker 84 means “very good.” A Wine Spectator’s 84 means “good.” A Wine Enthusiast 84 means “suitable for everyday consumption.” A Wine & Spirits 84 means “good examples of their variety or region.”
This does not even begin to note what a Gary Vanerchuck 84 means, or what the thousands of raters on Cellar Tracker mean by 84, or what your local wine store means by 84, or what you mean by 84—if, in fact—you score wine.
Readers may note this column does not do 100-point, or 20-point, or five-star scoring notes. Sometimes we note wine scores of others, but not regularly. Reason: Delightful discovery is the wonder of the wine world, not test scores.
Recommendations at the end of most “On Wine” columns are drawn from personal experience abetted by comments from other tasters, including notable authorities, the winery itself, the mob of commentators on Cellar Tracker and other on-line sites, and whatever Google sucks up from the world database of that particular wine.
If the wine is mentioned, it is drinkable. Wine should be fun, not an opportunity, in a paroxysm of Schadenfreude, to unleash your snarky dark demons denigrating someone’s efforts. No winemaker sets out to produce plonk. If the stuff is undrinkable—rare—you won’t read about it here. Let the maker regret in peace.
Fortunately, almost everything you can buy at convenience store, supermarket, liquor store, wine merchant, five-star restaurant, on-line, or at the winery will find a palate and a purse that believes it is fulfilling, wonderful, noteworthy, at least palatable.
Recommendations attempt to give you broad tasting notes, plus—and this goes back to original assignment when column began four years ago—likelihood you can find the bottle in a store for a price that does not require a trust fund abetted by mineral rights income and a recent lottery windfall.
Open a bottle tonight. Taste. Enjoy. If the wine doesn’t soar, open another. Life is to be lived. Wine lives to be poured rather than scored.
• Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2009. Apple-pear-citrus; medium body, crisp, straightforward; restrained oak & creaminess; nice. $20
• Murphy-Goode Liar’s Dice Sonoma County Zinfandel 2007. Classy, classic zin: ripe, raspberry, jammy cherry, blackberry, caramel; pleasure & value. $20