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On Tasting
Ideas for a New Wine Judging Scale
Thursday, 12th March, 2009  - David Farmer
Alessandro Rosso

"Italian hotelier Alessandro Rosso is not afraid of a challenge. When the owner of the sleek Italian hotel group, Town House, decided to open a new flagship hotel in Milan, he didn't just want to create the best hotel in town. He wanted to create a hotel so good, it needed a whole new rating system. That's how the world's first seven-star hotel was born." Sydney Morning Herald, January 7th, 2009.

Where can we now go after Parker introduced us to the 100 point wine judging scale? You may think that a Parker rating is all judges will ever need but alas it has already broken down. I examine pages and pages of wine reviews every month and hardly any wine is pointed below 87/100. Wines that have no reason at all to be judged above 70/100, including I'm sad to say a great number of roses, pull down points that must surely make the authors blush. All that pointing wine out of 100 has achieved is an inflation in scores for mediocre wines. It's too much to expect a decade or so of deflation so we must think of a new way to bring back a meaningful standard.

Thus I found the following story from the Sydney Morning Herald, January 7th 2009, most helpful.

"Until now, the best hotels in the world have been awarded five stars. This may come as a surprise to readers who have treated themselves to a stay at a so-called six-star hotel but, officially, there's no such thing. The term was first applied to Burj Al Arab in Dubai, not by the hotel but by visitors and journalists as a way of describing the property's extra level of luxury. Since then, the term has been bandied about with increasing frequency. However, until now, there's been no official standard to distinguish an "ordinary" five-star hotel from one that offers an even more indulgent experience."

So far so good but if you want to go above six stars as the Italian hotelier Alessandro Rosso wished to do; how do you go about it?

"Rosso found a simple solution - he hired a company to create a new ranking system. Swiss company SGS specialises in management systems, audits and certifications. After analysing various structural and service aspects, it used the findings to create a set of detailed technical specifications that became Rosso's blueprint to deliver the world's first seven-star hotel."

Now we have the answer but exactly what sort of brief do we give SGS? Surely we cannot give them a brief for a 1000 point system as soon all the best wines and much other junk would be clustered from 900 to 999. And again we would have no room at all for the truly exceptional.

Those who have taught wine tasting often ask the group of enthusiasts who have gathered to learn, an opening question such as; what do you know about wine? Remarkably a great number of people respond by saying; I do not know much about wine but I know what I like. This is an excellent response and I believe shows a way forward.

We must go back to a simple yes-no system. I like-I don't like. A two point system. With time this can be expanded to a three point system which allows those who know nothing, or are afraid of making a judgement, or simply do not wish to embarrass the host at say an important dinner party, to give wines two points and thus are never right or wrong. This has immense appeal and also takes us back to a happier time before analytical judges and wine writers began to grade wines, a feature I also note may well be linked to price explosion.

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ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2014
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Thursday, 27th March, 2014

Views on Tasting with Penfolds Notes for the Record

Thursday, 27th February, 2014

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2013
Broken Glasses, Tasting Cups, Chinese Misadventures and Tailgating

Thursday, 8th August, 2013

A Wine for Richard

Monday, 5th August, 2013

Morrisons - Never Fail Method for Buying Wine

Tuesday, 9th July, 2013

Writing Tasting Notes about Great Wine

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2013

Is a Tasting Note Helpful when Shopping?

Wednesday, 24th April, 2013

Do Tasting Notes Have any Value?

Friday, 22nd March, 2013

The Five Secrets of Stylish Women Applied to Drinking Wine

Tuesday, 12th February, 2013

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2011
Steps in Becoming a Wine Snob

Saturday, 10th December, 2011

A Morning at the Mount Barker WA Wine Show

Sunday, 20th November, 2011

Natural Flavours from Wine and Beer Yeasts

Friday, 26th August, 2011

Status in St Emilion Raises Issues

Sunday, 24th July, 2011

What Should You Pay for Great Wine?

Sunday, 15th May, 2011

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2009
The Power of Gold

Wednesday, 25th November, 2009

First Write the Review then Taste the Wine

Wednesday, 25th November, 2009

The Artisans of the Barossa 12th September
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Friday, 30th October, 2009

The Whites do go Better With Fish

Friday, 30th October, 2009

A Parker Tasting Should Make Us Pause

Tuesday, 13th October, 2009

Why You Drink Champagne by the Sea

Thursday, 8th October, 2009

Tasting at Three Barossa Wine Shows
Part 1 - The Small Winemakers Show

Sunday, 4th October, 2009

It's In The Bubbles, Stupid

Friday, 2nd October, 2009

How Good is Your Palate?

Monday, 21st September, 2009

Another Know All Wine Wanker

Monday, 21st September, 2009

Further Thoughts on the Australian Wine Show System

Thursday, 3rd September, 2009

Wine Advice from Craigslist

Thursday, 3rd September, 2009

Comparing Wine Types and Dog Breeds

Saturday, 1st August, 2009

Electronic Experts Give Wine Advice

Monday, 15th June, 2009

In Search of a Holy Grail

Monday, 5th May, 2009

The Gimblett Gravels Travelling Road Show Surprises London

Monday, 20th April, 2009

The Beauty of the Five Point Judging System

Thursday, 26th March, 2009

Ideas for a New Wine Judging Scale

Thursday, 12th March, 2009

The First Growth Gimbletts

Monday, 26th January, 2009

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2008
The Story of One Lonely Bottle

Friday, 26th December, 2008

The Future of Capital City Wine Shows

Friday, 5th December, 2008

The More You Spend the Better the Taste

Friday, 2nd May, 2008

The Key to Tasting Wines

Friday, 11th April, 2008

Buying Wines That Have a Sense of Place

Friday, 11th April, 2008

What Are We to Make Of Wine Tasting Notes

Monday, 4th February, 2007

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2007
Study of the Label Alters Our Tastes

Sunday, 9th December, 2007

One in Five Cannot Smell Alpha-ylangene

Monday, 24th September, 2007

Charles Must Love It

Friday, 24th August, 2007

Liking Rough Red

Thursday, 28th June, 2007

The Ultimate Masked Bottle

Firday, 24th May, 2007

Create the Atmosphere for the Tasting Result You Want

Monday, 19th March, 2007

Confessions of Wine Deceit, Other Deceptions and Fooling Yourself

Monday, 29th January, 2007

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2006
Two Sides of the Wine Coin

Sunday, 12th November, 2006

Wine Labels, Ranking, Ratings, Experts and Wine Prices

Friday, 27th October, 2006

A Story About Verdelho

Wednesday, 4th October, 2006

The Magnetic Appeal of Wine

Sunday, 24th September, 2006

Geology Cannot be Found In Wine

Thursday, 18th September, 2006

More on the Impact of Scoring Wines Out of 100

Thursday, 14th September, 2006

How a Three Star Wine Became a 90 Point Wine

Saturday, 9th September, 2006

High Alcohol - The Debate Rolls On

Tuesday, 5th September, 2006

So You Suffer from Anosmia

Monday, 7th August, 2006

Canít Tell Your Brett from Oak Flavours

Tuesday, 18th July, 2006

Terroir - Can It Possible Shine Through the Background Noise

Tuesday, 4th July, 2006

A Little Spat Over Chateau Pavie

Thursday, 15th June, 2006

After All This Time - Now They Tell Us

Tuesday, 13th June, 2006

Winemaking and the French Touch

Friday, 9th June, 2006

The Judgement of Paris Part II

Monday, 29th May, 2006

Why Do Chardonnays Seldom Win Trophies?

Friday, 5th May, 2006

The Other French Paradox

Tuesday, 2nd May, 2006

Show Me the Chardonnay Tasting

Sunday, 30th April, 2006

Judging Wine and the View of the American 'Wine Spectator'

Thursday, 6th April, 2006

The World Versus Robert M. Parker, Part Three

Saturday, 18th March, 2006

Halliday v Parker Continues to Attract International Attention

Thursday, 5th January, 2005

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2005
"Thank You Mr. Evans and Sorry Mr. Parker"

Thursday, 8th December, 2005

The Differences of Opinion Continue: Mount Mary Quintets vs. Robert M. Parker Jr. Part 2

Monday, 5th December, 2005

Sharp Differences of Opinion Over Mount Mary

Monday, 14th November, 2005

The Views of the Economists With a Sense of Humour

Friday, 14th October, 2005

Wine Quality: Does Terroir Matter?

Friday, 14th October, 2005

Thoughts on Wine Judging

Thursday, 13th October, 2005

What You See Affects What You Smell and Taste

Tuesday, 13th September, 2005

The New Taste of Wine

Friday, 2nd September, 2005

Consumers Disagree with Wine Experts

Saturday, 27th August, 2005

Drinking From Special Wine Glasses

Thursday, 4th August, 2005

Now, This Wine Drinks Well, Night After Night

Monday, 18th April, 2005

Corks, Stelvin Caps and Oxygen

Wednesday, 6th April 2005

A Peep Behind the Wine Show Door

Thursday, 17 March 2005

ON TASTING ARCHIVE 2004
Going To Your Second Wine Tasting

Saturday, 11th December, 2004

What You Bring to Your First Wine Tasting

Saturday, 4th December, 2004

What Do Show Medals Mean - Part 2

Tuesday, 7th December, 2004

What Do Show Medals Mean - Part 1

Friday, 3rd September, 2004



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