100 Point System for Wine Evaluation

The 100 point system for evaluating wine was a stroke of genius promoted by Robert Parker. Various systems from the UC Davis system to other 10-point schemes to five stars (Broadbent) and three puffs (Connoisseurs Guide) never quite had the cachet of 100 POINTS! Very American. The wine spectator was wise to copy it and now everyone does 100 point system although there is no real system! Cloudy unfiltered wines are seldom downgraded as would be the case with the UC Davis system. In fact, a cloudy horrid-looking wine might actually get extra points by virtue of the fact that the wine is unfiltered. This has become paramount. I hate to break it to people, but some wine NEEDS filtering. No matter. The real challenge to this overly flaky system is a double blind test. I'd like to see Parker of the Wine Spectator do a blind tasting of 20 high-quality (93-100 point wines) wines and rate them with points. Then have someone come in and mix up the bottles and rate them again and see if the same points are given. If the exact same scores cannot be achieved then the system is flawed. Over time I've reverse engineered the Parker 100 point system and broke down its real meaning.


Real Meaning


No such thing. Theoretically impossible as far as I'm concerned. It means total perfection. Used by Parker to get attention and mock the industry.


Great wine that should be purchased under any circumstance. Fabulous product that an idiot could spot.


Not absolutely sure how good these wines really are but they could be great. The difference between 91 and 94 has nothing to do with the wine and everything to do with the confidence level of the taster. Unfortunately, over-confident "greatest wine ever from this Chateau" tasters such as James Suckling (Wine Spectator) always boost the number too far. Whatever the case, these wines are recommended. Parker is always more accurate in this range than Wine Spectator.


This is the chickenshit ranking. It means the tasters are scared to rank this wine higher -- they may be wrong. On the other hand they can't take a chance on ranking at as a 89 either. This rating really means: try it yourself and YOU be the judge.


Gosh, the wine is drinkable. It might be good. We may be wrong. Beyond that who knows?


You have to be real thirsty and hard up to drink from this group. The 85 rating means you can probably choke it down in a pinch.


Wouldn't want to even open a bottle!!

below 75

Can we be sued for saying what we really think?

The ludicrous aspect of the 100 point system is that there are really only ratings from 75-100. Is a 76-point wine twice as good as a theoretical 38-point wine? Or are both equally undrinkable? I suppose there is some assumption that if the wine actually made it into a bottle that it is at least 75 points. But, in fact, this system is a joke. Luckily we're all in on the gag and accept it. And, hey, I use it! While this system is complete nonsense it has flair and offers less chance of insulting wineries which must provide samples. 85-points for example sounds better than "not recommended" which, in fact is what 85-points really means. Smart buyers buy 92-point wines (and above) and taste 88-91 point wines knowing that professional tasters make mistakes.

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