Those Zany Wine Ratings!

Check out the wine rating systems below, they're pretty much accepted as the industry standards.

Wine Enthusiast
98-100  Classic; The pinnacle of quality
94-97     Superb; A great achievement
90-93     Excellent; Highly Recommended
87-89     Very Good; Often good value; well recommended
83-86     Good; Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value
80-82     Acceptable; Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances

Wine Spectator
95-100  Classic: a great wine
90-94     Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
85-89     Very good: a wine with special qualities
80-84     Good: a solid, well-made wine
75-79     Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50-74     Not recommended

Robert Parker

96-100: An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase, and consume.
90 - 95: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
80 - 89: A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
70 - 79: An average wine with little distinction except that it is a soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
60 - 69: A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
50 - 59: A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

Here are a couple of things I have noticed about them, above and beyond their general pomposity. They all utilize a 100 point scale, why… is a mystery along the lines of the Stonehenge. Have you ever seen a wine rated less than 80? If they did rate a wine that low chances are you would not buy it, right? This could mean several things; the folks rating the wines like pretty much everything they drink; there are no bad wines made; the winemakers of bad wines do not send them in for tasting; or the publications could possibly jeopardize advertising dollars if they rated a wine to poorly. Makes you wonder about the validity of the ratings system a bit, doesn’t it? Here is another ratings peccadillo; If a wine rated 59 as Robert Parker states is “ A wine deemed unacceptable” what would he say about a wine rated 49, is it really unacceptable, and a wine rated 39… really, really unacceptable this time I’m not kidding? Seriously why not simply go to a 20 point system? Oh wait, then of course nothing would be rated below 14, and we would start the entire silly thing all over again.

I have a better idea. Allow me to introduce the AJM wine rating system as an alternative. Similar to the way the Flowbee is an alternative to a hairstylist. (By the way AJM is my mother, Alice Jean Macumber; and not in repentance for any of the gray hairs I may have caused her, is one of the most genuine, caring and funny people you might ever meet). It’s an uncomplicated 5 point scale with 1 being the “complete pits” and 5 “the greatest”.

5 – “Oh honey, I would hate to drink all your good wine…but is there any left in that bottle”?
4 – “I would love another glass thank you”.
3 – “It’s really kind of nice after you get through the first swallow and the bubbles settle down”.
2 – “No thank you I am just fine with the one I have”.
1 – “Could I trouble you for a vodka and tonic”?

Enjoy the wine, but don’t take it too seriously.