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Rating Standards for Wine

With a focus on west coast wine, we use the well known 100 point scale. As with our restaurant ratings, we look to list wines we would recommend to our friends, family and subscribers; wine we might buy in case lots, cellar and enjoy again and again. People come to us with the expectation that we will help them discover great wine… not just wine to avoid. For this reason, we will rarely list a wine with a rating below 80 points. Reviews include a recommended drinking range along with the wines suggested retail price at the time of tasting. It is our intent to list and review those wines which we feel might offer you a true “off the vine” experience! Shelf talkers can be provided for wines rated 89 points or above.

What we look for:
1. Great fruit, passionate viticulture… it starts in the vineyard…
2. Good structure, aromatics, grace, 
3. Purity, texture, balance, varietal character
4. Complexity, nuance and length
5. Wine that may pair well with food 
6. Packaging, presentation, innovation
7. Pricing that is for the most part, understandable

The Scale - (50 to 100)*

50 to 60:    a disaster - undrinkable - “a flop”
61 to 70:    just wrong - consume at your own risk
71 to 80:    sound, drinkable - poor to average
81 to 85:    good to very good - give it a go - “peoples choice award”
86 to 89:    solid! - good juice - otv recommended - “golden globe award”
90 to 95:    excellent to cellar worthy - a superstar - “academy nomination”
96 to 100:  nectar of the gods - collectable - “oscar winner”

shelf talkerplus sign (+) following a score is a good thing. A + generally indicates a wine is a tad better than rated and may score higher upon further reflection. These wines may also merit a second tasting, in which case the wine in question might gain a point, or in rare cases drop down.

Red wine will have this symbol to the left of the review