There is ongoing discussion and disagreement over wine critics scores and the subsequent effect on wine sales.
Most of us who work in the wine industry have varying levels of frustration about the score wars.
This frustration stems from the fact that we have so many amazing wines to sell that either haven't been scored or have received low scores from critics. Some of us passionately believe that these wines are in some cases superior to the 95 point wines.
We believe this because, like the wine critics, we taste many wines throughout our work week.Wine retailers, distributors and importers are constantly tasting and evaluating wines.
As Steve Heimoff, a wine writer/critic from Wine Enthusiast magazine, pointed out in a recent post on his blog , the higher the score, the more fruity and oaky the wine.
Steve Heimoff said,"Wines that score in the 90s tend to be bigger, riper and probably oakier than those in the 80s. That’s the way the system works."
I am pleased to hear such transparency from a wine critic. This same problem has been discussed within wine competition circles as well.
Fact is that when you taste dozens, often hundreds, of wine in one single sitting, your palate becomes fatigued. As a result, only big oak and fruit shine through.
But does that mean that if your wine is not big, ripe and oaky, you may as well not bother submitting it for review?
Thankfully, there has been a movement towards lighter, elegant, food-friendly wines in the past few years. Certainly the sommeliers and
independent wine shops that hand sell wines have helped grow the sales of these wines. Countless wine distributor reps, the often unfairly maligned workhorses of the wine trade, have told the stories of these wines and secured a place on the wine list or retail shelf as a result.
These are wines with a story. A story about the people who made the wine and why they made it, as well as about the place the wine was made.
Yes, there are certainly the retail accounts as well as wine consumers that base their buying decisions on critic scores alone.
But fortunately, I have found an equal number of trade buyers and consumers who are more interested in the wine's story and what food would pair well with it.