Rating System

One of the best ways of assessing a wine for investment is by paying close attention to Robert Parker’s rating system. Known as the Wine Advocate Rating System, the scheme uses a 50-100 point quality scale, attributing Parker Points to individual wines for investment.

The wine journalist started the 100-point system because he believed that the 20-point systems failed to offer enough flexibility, resulting in inflated wine ratings. The Wine Advocate is a very critical spectrum that, if anything, underestimates the quality of a wine. Parker’s numerical system goes hand in hand with comprehensive tasting notes.

An investment wine scoring between 96 and 100 on the Wine Advocate scale is described as being ‘extraordinary’ and ‘classic’. He recommends going out of your way to find and invest in wines of this caliber. They will make excellent investments.

The next tier, wines scoring between 90 and 95 points, are described as outstanding wines. In general, anything scoring 90 or above is a good investment that can also be described as A-grade Ratings System.

Wines with points from 80-89 are described as ‘barely above average to very good’, while having no noticeable flaws. Seventy to 79 is described as ‘average’, while wines in the 60s are ‘below average’ and 50 to 59 are ‘unacceptable’.
Parker makes sure that his points for investment wine are awarded fairly by being as objective as possible. He does all of his tastings in peer-group, single-blind conditions. This means that similar wines are tasted in competition with each other, without Parker knowing the names of the producers. This way, Parker is unswayed by the price of the wine and the producer’s reputation.

Parker is also meticulous in how he tests. He insists on not testing wine at wine judging’s or trade tastings. The main reasons are that he prefers to work from an entire bottle using proper-sized, cleaned professional tasting glasses. He also states that he likes the wine’s temperature to be correct.

The Parker Points relate to the wine in relation to its peer group. He looks for specific standards of quality that all wine professionals recognize, with scoring aiming to allow rapid understanding by both experts and novices.

Parker says that assessing a wine that will evolve for many years to come is similar to photographing a marathon runner. You can learn a lot, but, like a picture of a moving object, wine will evolve and change. He retastes badly corked or defective bottles and tasted many wines several times, with scores showing a cumulative average.