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Wine Rating Systems

Let’s take a moment to go over the various wine rating systems that exist and break them down. Knowing the rating systems can help you be a more educated buying adding bottles to your collection that will increase in value long term.

glass rating


Three point scales include the French wine bible, Le Guide Hachette, which uses stars. The Italian equivalent, Gambero Rosso, uses wine glasses.


Le Guide Hachette:

*** = Exceptional wine

** = Remarkable wine

* = Very well-made wine

Mention with 0 stars = Well-made wine

Gambero Rosso Italian Wines:

3+ = Aware Winning Wine Selected by the Editor

3 = Excellent wine in its category

2 = Very good to excellent it its category

1 = Above average to good in its category

Start Scale


The 5 star decanter system also exists, this rating system goes as follows:



***** – Outstanding quality, virtually perfect example

**** – Highly recommended

*** – Recommended

** – Quite good

* – Acceptable

20 point


The 20 point scale system is a more traditional made popular in the mid 1980’s by Master of Wine Jancis  Robinson.



20 Point Scale

20 – Truly exceptional

19 – A humdinger

18 – A cut above superior

17 – Superior

16 – Distinguished

15 – Average

14 – Deadly dull

13 – Borderline faulty or unbalanced

12 – Faulty or unbalanced

100 point systemThe 100 point system is probably the most well known of the wine rating systems, this system was popularized by Robert Parker in the early 1980’s. Several publications have embraced the 100 point system including Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, it is my personal system of preference. Every wine in this system is automatically given 50 points, incremental points are given for the following:


(0-5) – Color and appearance

(0-15) – Aroma

(0-20) – Flavor and finish

(0-10) – Overall quality

All of these systems mentioned can render deeper analysis individually, these are all established guidelines upon which to utilize when selecting your wines. It is important to note that these are just scores, great wines are often accompanied by a descriptive analysis, these are equally if not more important than any score. The analysis that a wine critic offers in accompaniment with a score offers greater insight into a specific bottle of wine. For example, qualities of harvests are sometimes offered, flavors are described, comparative notes to previous years/s vintages and other comparable wines can be stated and aging proximity are often provided, these are all more important that any score in my opinion. Alla Salute!




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