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Why Is The Hundred Point System Back In The News—Again??

By Charles Olken

Well, here we go again. Some blogger who does not live in the world of fine wine reviews has declared the 100-Point wine ranking system dead. Sorry, Jack, but you are a little late to the game. That scoring system has been declared more often than Mark Twain and Elvis combined.

There is a long discourse about this topic over on Steve Heimoff’s blog,, including comments from yours truly.

You have heard it all before, and I shan’t repeat a word of it here.

But ask yourself this. Have you ever read a long string of reviews of the type that occur in Connoisseurs’ Guide, or some of those other critical rags, and not once looked at the points. Virtually all of the compensated critics use the 100-point system, and as far as I can tell, none of us is running out of readership.

My guess is that the ranking system is not the reason CGCW has existed for over four decades and counting, but rather the quality, the reliability of our words. Sure, some folks over on Steve Heimoff have praised our three-star system, they are not puffs by the way, and almost all commentators, whether they mentioned us or not, spoke about the words that appear in wine reviews.

Heimoff declares that the 100-Point system is not dead. Others say that crowd-commentaries, rather than expert evaluations, are the wave of the future. One wag even went so far as to mention Rotten Tomatoes, the movie review site, as his ideal, but then failed to mention that Rotten Tomatoes also posts ratings in a 100-Point scale.

For my part, I was happy with the three-star system that launched CGCW, but I have to admit (again) that it was heavily borrowed from the Guide Michelin and its restaurant review system. And, the best advice ever given to CGCW over the years came from a reader who commented on our addition of 100-Point scaled ratings in CGCW with this, “I don’t care what rating system you use. You could use the ten-chopstick system for all I care. It is your judgment that I care about”.<

And there you have it. Dead or not, wine ratings are nothing more than shorthand guides to the larger meanings in our words. And regardless of rating system, they will always exist with all their strengths and weakness, their beauty and their warts.

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by bb
Posted on:6/18/2015 3:51:55 PM

I've always called them "mushrooms". Other folks call puffs, you call them stars, but they will always be mushrooms to me. Other than that, I agree completely.   Thanks!

by TomHill
Posted on:6/18/2015 4:41:29 PM

Nope...back in Kansas they're called "meadow muffins" !!!



puffs or....
by redmond barry
Posted on:6/27/2015 2:36:04 PM

At the 1982 Heublein tasting at Chicago,,  which for some felicitous resaon was poorly attended, myself and two colleagues got to drink and/or spit as much as we wanted of a table of first growths from 61 and 66 But the bit hit for us was the 64 Lafite, which my insightful if earthy friend pronounced was " pure p....). Another angle  to  look at your emoticons.

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