After writing my last post, Can you guess how many wines have received a 100 ‘Parker Points’, I was thinking a lot about the usefulness of wine scores.
I came across a really interesting quote from Decanter critic Andrew Jefford about how “the language of wine is, of necessity, highly metaphorical and hence puzzling: these are not plain words.” He was speaking to the Wine Communicators of Australia, and he urged his audience to “not just think about wine with passionate intensity, but about language too.” (Wine and Astonishment by Andrew Jefford, andrewjefford.com, May 2012)
As an ex-smoker from way back, I can still remember the delicious smell of tobacco – a descriptor often used to describe an element of the bouquet of some mature reds – but I wonder whether young people today are still familiar with it? Ditto for eucalypt, which is used to describe a distinct aroma of some Australian cabernet sauvignon. I’ve seen American wine writers replace menthol for eucalypt, which makes sense because the vast majority of Americans have probably never seen, let alone experienced the smell of a eucalypt forest.
No wonder wine scores are so useful! While most of us can differentiate over 1,000 aromas, not everyone has the same vocabulary or library of smells to draw on. Wine scores help us to cut-through the jargon. 90 points typically indicates that a wine is very good but 100 points signifies that it must be exceptional. And since wine is very much a sensuous experience, we can feel confident that imbibing a 100 point wine will in all likelihood be quite a remarkable and memorable experience. Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to try one of the 100 ‘Parker Point’ wines listed below:Read the rest