Rating System

The 100-point scale carries weight in the United States. Consumers recognize the methodology. Having previously declared my ambivalence toward this scale, conversations with peers and readers have led me to embrace it.  All wine ratings and reviews should be read with a degree of caution. Both the palate of the taster and the tasting conditions (order, quantity, stemware, location) profoundly influence the scores.

Wagon Wine Rating Scale:

    • 96-100 Stellar: a pinnacle experience
    • 93-95 Outstanding: a superb wine
    • 90-92 Excellent: Highly recommended, worth seeking
    • 87-89 Very good: a wine with honest, worthy qualities
    • 83-86 Good: a well-made wine, though likely lacking a thumbprint
    • 80-82 Okay: Lacking in quality
    • 75-79 Drinkable: Not worth seeking, may have flaws

Finally, I do not taste blind. My tasting methodology grounds itself in knowing the story of a wine—history, price, producer, vineyard, AVA, use of oak (or not), and winemaking methods. As I know the price of a bottle before I taste and review, I understand that price bias can influence reviews and scores. Despite this, I strive to disconnect the price tag from the review and rating. However, I am certainly fallible.

For wines reviewed before 2017, read about my previous scoring system here.

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