Understanding Wine Ratings

There has been a progressive adoption of the 100-point system in wine shows and in reviews by other commentators. The majority follow the system outlined below, and which I used in precisely this form in the 2015 Wine Companion. Space means that only 3859 notes are printed in full in this book, with points, drink-to dates and prices for a further 2629 wines. Tasting notes for all wines receiving 84 points or above appear on winecompanion.com.au.

Ratings

97-99

G

O

L

D

5 glasses - red

[use symbols]

Exceptional

Wines that have won major trophy/trophies in important wine shows, or are of that standard.

95-96

5 glasses - black

Outstanding

Wines of gold medal standard, usually with a great pedigree.

94

S

I

L

V

E

R

5 glasses - black

Wines on the cusp of gold medal status, virtually indistinguishable from those wines receiving 95 points.

90-93

4.5 glasses

Highly Recommended

Wines of silver medal standard, wines of great quality, style and character, and worthy of a place in any cellar.

89

B

R

O

N

Z

E

4 glasses

Recommended

Wines on the cusp of silver medal standard, the difference purely a judgement call.

86-88

4 glasses

Wines of bronze medal standard, well produced, flavoursome wines, usually not requiring cellaring.

 

*

Special Value

Wines considered to offer special value for money within the context of their glass symbol status.

84-85

3.5 glasses

Acceptable

Wines of good commercial quality, free from significant fault.

80-83

3 glasses

Over to You

Everyday wines, without much character, and/or somewhat faulty.

75-79

2.5 glasses

Not Recommended

Wines with one or more significant winemaking faults.


Five red glasses 

1860 Vines Shiraz 2009 Has retained excellent hue; this is truly liquid history, as every one of the vines was planted in 1860, with no replants – just ever-increasing gaps where vines have died. This is a super-elegant, perfectly balanced, medium-bodied wine, the flavours encompassing black cherry, plum and dried herb, fine tannins and high quality French oak providing the gently savoury finish. Screwcap. 12.5˚alc. Rating 98 To 2050 $290

The tasting note opens with the vintage of the wine tasted. This tasting note will have been made within the 12 months prior to publication. Even that is a long time, and during the life of this book the wine will almost certainly change. More than this, remember the tasting is a highly subjective and imperfect art. The price of the wine is listed where information is available. Tasting notes for wines 94 points and over are printed in red.

Where the initials CM or TS appear at the end of a tasting notes, this signifies that Campbell Mattinson or Tyson Stelzer tasted the wine and provided the tasting note and rating.

To 2050

Rather than give a span of drinking years, I have simply provided a (conservative) ‘drink to’ date. Modern winemaking is such that, even if a wine has 10 or 20 years’ future during which it will gain greater complexity, it can be enjoyed at any time over the intervening months and years.

Screwcap

This is the closure used for this particular wine. The closures in use for the wines tasted are (in descending order): screwcap 90.7% (last year 91.7%), one-piece natural cork 5.5% (last year 4.6%), Diam 3.1% (last year 3%). The remaining 0.7% (in approximate order of importance) are ProCork, Twin Top, Crown Seal, Zork and Vino-Lok. I believe the percentage of screwcap-closed wines will continue to rise for red wines; 98.4%  (last year 97.6%) of white wines tasted are screwcapped, leaving little room for any further increase.

12.5 % alc

As with closures, I have endeavoured to always include this piece of information, which is in one sense self-explanatory. What is less obvious is the increasing concern of many of Australian winemakers about the rise in levels of alcohol, and much research and practical experiment (picking earlier, higher fermentation temperatures in open fermenters, etc) is occurring. Reverse osmosis and yeast selection are two of the options available to decrease higher than desirable alcohol levels. Recent changes to domestic and export labelling mean the stated alcohol will be within a maximum of 0.5% difference to that obtained by analysis.

$290

I use the price provided by the winery. It should be regarded as a guide, particularly if purchased retail.

Subscribe to Wine Companion today

Become a member

Let's Socialise Stay Connected

$20 off or a free wine twin pack. Memberships starting from $69*

Join today

For the full winecompanion.com.au experience, please update your web browser. to something less antiquated

Special Value

Wines considered to offer special value for money.