Recently, I mentioned wanting to institute a change. I think I figured out how I want that change to happen.
Instead of the Parkeresque 100 point system (which, really, is a 70-100 point system, have you ever seen any wine get under 70 points?) I’m going to use a tried-and-true system that, at the very least, should make perfect sense to any Americans who went through just about any time of schooling in their lives. The A-through-F letter grades.
Here’s a little key I’ll use to describe what I mean by each level of grading. While you might be tempted to translate these letter grades into their Parkerite score (90-100 is an A, 80-89 a B), it doesn’t quite work that way.
- A+ : This is fan-friggin-tastic wine and you need to, need to be drinking it. Whenever possible. My highest possible recommendation.
- A: Excellent wine. I really loved it and am definitely recommending it. Go track it down.
- A-: Loved it, recommending it without hesitation. Something kept it from the A/A+ realm but it’s still fantastic.
- B+: Really good. Recommended. Thoroughly enjoyable.
- B: A good wine. Recommended. I’m basically saying go for it if you like the varietal or if it’s exceptionally priced. You would never be embarrassed to serve it to company.
- B-: Decent wine. Probably not really for special occasions, but still basically a recommendation. I’m not excited about this wine, though.
- C+: Something about this wine turns me off. Something’s missing. Recommended only for fans of the producer, varietal, or region.
- C: The wine has real flaws. I can’t recommend it.
- C-: More flaws, less reason to pick up the wine. The fact is there is better wine out there, regardless of this wine’s price point.
- D+: Probably avoid.
- D: Avoid.
- D-: Avoid even if it’s being served to you by a close friend or family member.
- F: Avoid like the plague.
That should pretty much sum it up. I’m going to go back and add letter grades to all my previous reviews, and moving forward, each wine’s verdict will feature the letter grade.
I’m hoping this allows for a more general ability for me to recommend (or not) wine, without looking like I really think there’s a pinpoint precision to all this. There isn’t. Not even for Robert Parker.