Sometimes it can be difficult to find your way when it comes to choosing a wine.
So, throughout our website, we try to provide you with as much information we can on each wine to help you find your way to your next favourite bottle.
The wine critics and awards we use are there to serve as a helpful guide and this is our guide to the guides...
Firstly, a few tips;
Remember, in a wine review the score is only a summary. A Long and fresh Syrah might earn 91 points from a critic, but if you don’t like the style, that wine is still not going to be right for you. As Robert Parker explains "The numerical ratings are utilized only to enhance and complement the thorough tasting notes, which are my primary means of communicating my judgments to you." - So, read the tasting notes they can give you better insight into the wine.
We've all heard "everyone's palate is different" well this goes for critics as well. So, try wines and compare your notes to the critics, this way you can find critics with whose taste you agree.
Now, which Wine Critics & Awards do we reference?
ROBERT PARKER | THE WINE ADVOCATE
The Wine Advocate was founded by Robert Parker, arguably the most influential wine critic in the world. Lisa Perrotti-Brown took over as editor-in-chief of the publication and the online site in 2013. The Wine Advocate staff now includes Jeb Dunnuck, Luis Gutierrez, Monica Larner, Neal Martin, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, David Schildknecht and Mark Squires.
The Wine Advocate 100-point wine-scoring scale:
96–100 – Extraordinary
90–95 – Outstanding
80–89 – Barely above average to very good
70–79 – Average
60–69 – Below average
50–59 – Unacceptable
JANCIS ROBINSON MW
Jancis Robinson is a British wine writer and critic who rose to fame in the mid-1980s after becoming the first MW (Master of Wine) from outside the wine trade. She is now one of the most influential commentators in the business, and writes for numerous print columns as well as running her own website, JancisRobinson.com.
Robinson co-authored the World Atlas of Wine with Hugh Johnson and is the editor of the Oxford Companion to Wine. In 2003, she was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and has been appointed as an advisor of the royal wine cellar.
Jancis Robinson’s 20-point wine scoring scale:
20 – Truly exceptional
19 – A humdinger
18 – A cut above superior
17 – Superior
16 – Distinguished
15 – Average
14 – Deadly dull
13 – Borderline faulty or unbalanced
12 – Faulty or unbalanced
Wine Spectator is an American magazine specialising in tasting notes, industry news and wine-personality profiles. The magazine was founded by Bob Morrisey in 1976, and each year the announcement of the magazine's Top 100 Wines and Wine of the Year in November is eagerly awaited.
The wine critics who figure among Wine Spectator’s tasting and reviewing panel are James Laube, Harvey Steiman, Bruce Sanderson, Kim Marcus and James Molesworth.
Wine Spectator's 100-point wine-scoring scale:
95–100 – Classic: a great wine
90–94 – Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style
85–89 – Very good: a wine with special qualities
80–84 – Good: a solid, well-made wine
75–79 – Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws
50–74 – Not recommended
James Suckling is one of today’s leading wine critics whose views are read and respected by wine lovers, serious collectors and the wine trade worldwide.
Suckling spent nearly 30 years as senior editor and European Bureau Chief of The Wine Spectator and European Editor of Cigar Aficionado. Forbes recently called the Los Angeles-born writer "one of the world’s most powerful wine critics." and adopts a 100-Point wine-scoring scale.
Wine Enthusiast is a magazine and website specialising in wines, spirits, food and travel. Founded in 1988 by Adam Strum, the magazine is run from its headquarters in New York.
Wine Enthusiast's 100-point wine-scoring scale:
95-100 - Superb. One of the greats.
90-94 - Excellent. Extremely well made and highly recommended.
85-89 - Very good. May offer outstanding value if the price is right.
80-84 - Good. Solid wine, suitable for everyday consumption.
Antonio Galloni is the founder and chief executive of Vinous, an influential wine publication. He was a lead critic at Robert Parker Wine Advocate before he left in 2013 and started Vinous. He covers the wines of Bordeaux, California, Italy and Champagne. Vinous acquired Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar in 2014 and also acquired wine app Delectable.
Vinous uses a 100-point scale for wine ratings.
Decanter is a leading international wine and wine-lifestyle magazine, published in about 90 countries on a monthly basis. The magazine includes industry news, vintage guides and wine and spirits recommendations.
Decanter also organizes the annual Decanter World Wine Awards founded in 2004 and is the world's biggest wine competition with over 15,000 entries per year.
For many years Decanter's scoring scale was based on a five-star system developed by Michael Broadbent MW, who has contributed to the magazine since its creation in 1975. In July 2012 this traditional system was replaced with a more modern composite of dual 20-point and 100-point scores.
TIM ATKIN MW
Tim Atkin is a UK-based Master of Wine (MW) and wine journalist with an international following and writes for various magazines including The World of Fine Wine, Gourmet Traveller and The Economist's Intelligent Life.
Over the years, Atkin has won numerous wine writing awards, including the Glenfiddich Wine Writer Award, the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom's 'Wine Columnist of the Year' and Lanson 'Wine Writer of the Year' (several times each). In 1994, he was the very first recipient of the Wines of France Award. Atkin's website, TimAtkin.com has also proved successful, and was named 'Wine Website of the Year' at the 2013 Louis Roederer Awards – a highly prestigious commendation.
With wine judging experience all around the world, Atkin is now co-chairman of the IWC (International Wine Challenge) and chairman of the Wines from Spain Awards, the South African Top 100 and the Languedoc-Roussillon Top 100.
Matthew Jukes was voted the most influential wine writer in the UK by OLN in 2011. With over 9 million Daily Mail readers a week, Matthew has the most keenly followed wine column in the UK – he has been Weekend Magazine’s wine writer since 2000. He has also written a highly acclaimed weekly article for MoneyWeek for over a decade.
LE GUIDE HACHETTE DES VINS
An annual publication which reviews around 10,000 French wines by appellation (having rejected 22,000 more wines which didn't make the guide). Independent and highly respected, often it is referred to as the French wine drinker's bible.
It is an extremely good way of discovering French wines from smaller growers who don't get reviewed by Robert Parker, Wine Spectator and other publications which all too often focus on the more prestigious estates and their wines.
Le Guide Hachette des Vins Scoring Scale:
No star - Recommended
* 1 Star - Excellent
** 2 Stars - Remarkable
*** 3 Stars - Exceptional
'Coup de Coeur' - Highest Recommendation
RVF | LA REVUE DU VIN DE FRANCE
La Revue du vin de France is a French magazine on wine published monthly, created in 1927. The publication has been described by wine critic Jancis Robinson as "France's only serious wine magazine"
In addition to the monthly release, two additional guides come as a complement each year:
Le Guide des bonnes affaires du vin - The best value wines under 20€ Le Guide des meilleurs vins de France - The selection and rating of the 1,300 best domains and 7,000 best French wines.
The wines are rated out of 20 and the winemakers from 1 to 3 stars.
BETTANE & DESSEAUVE
Bettane & Desseauve (Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve) are two respected wine critics from France. Former editors of La Revue du Vins de France, they left in 2004 to create their own publications, Le Classement des Meilleurs Vins de France guide, the magazine En Magnum, wine competition Concours Prix Plaisir and website, mybettanedesseauve.fr.
Bettane regularly writes for The World of Fine Wines, Decanter magazine and French national newspaper Le Monde, while Desseauve is a former president of France's wine writers and journalists association, the AFJEV.
GILBERT & GAILLARD
The Gilbert & Gaillard Wine Guide is the essential guide to discovering wines. In France, Gilbert & Gaillard guides have been among the top references in the wine profession for more than 20 years.
Philippe Gaillard and François Gilbert began their joint career in publishing in 1989, as directors of a collection for Presses de la Cité, a major Paris publisher. In 1991 they began publishing their own wine guides and magazines. Today their work has blossomed into an international wine-focused multimedia group with correspondents living in France, Italy, Spain, China and the USA.
Based on blind tastings conducted throughout the year on their premises, 8,000 wines are selected from all origins, commercially available in all sales channels.
CONCOURS GENERAL AGRICOLE PARIS
The Concours General Agricole Paris (CGA) is a French agricultural show that since 1860, has been widely respected for its impartiality and rigorous judging processes.
Funded and organized by the French ministries of agriculture, food, fisheries and rural affairs more than 15,000 wine samples are submitted to the CGA's judging panels each year by roughly 4000 of France’s winemakers. The wines are examined and rated by almost 3000 experts (one of the largest tasting panels of any wine competition in the world), who award upwards of 3500 medals each year.
INTERNATIONAL WINE CHALLENGE
The International Wine Challenge (IWC) is a British-based wine challenge held every year since 1984.
Several hundred IWC judges blind-taste roughly 13,000 entries in three tasting rounds spread over two weeks. Wines which score higher than 85 points in the initial round progress to the second round, where they are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals. The third and final round is exclusively for the gold-medal winners, to assess which is the trophy winner of its class.
INTERNATIONAL WINE & SPIRITS COMPETITION | IWSC
Founded in 1969 by oenlogist and chemist Anton Massel the International Wine & Spirits Competition is an annual wine competition based in London.
The founder’s focus on chemical analysis is maintained today with a two stage judging process taking place over a six-month period, consisting of blind tasting where glasses are poured prior to the arrival of the judges, so even the bottles and shapes remain unknown followed by a detailed technical analysis by an independent laboratory.
CONCOURS MONDIAL DE BRUXELLES
The Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is an international wine competition which has taken place annually since its inception in 1994.
There are over 9000 wines tasted annually by 320 international judges spanning 50 nationalities.
CONCOURS DE BORDEAUX VINS D'AQUITAINE
Since 1956, the Concours de Bordeaux Vins d'Aquitaine has been a key event of the Aquitaine wine industry.
The competition is intended more as an aid to France’s wine consumers than as a high-profile media event, and is organized by the region's Chambre d'Agriculture (Chamber of Agriculture), in conjunction with the French Ministry of Agriculture.
CONCOURS DES GRANDS VINS DE FRANCE MACON
The Concours des Grands Vins de France Macon is one of France's Longest established wine competition, the event debuted in1925 at the Comité des Foires (Committee of Fairs).
It is an annual wine competition held in Macon, an historic wine center in the southern reaches of Burgundy. Today over 9000 wines are tasted by over 2000 tasters at each event with around 2,500 medals awarded.
Although it was one of the first, it now has somewhat of a more local feel however, its mission statement remains "to promote the industry, commerce, artisanship and agriculture of Macon, of the region and of Burgundy, in particular of wine and other produce of the land".