Wine Stars Rating System:
I typically review wines with their identity known. This allows for the background of the wine, such as the region, unique vineyard terroir, method of viticulture and vinification to be considered. It also allows for any personality, philosophy, local traditions or culture behind the wine to become part of the assessment. This allows me to better understand the expression and success of the winemaker and the wine made in which a ‘blind’ tasting would not achieve.
For example: a quality, well-balanced Rhône Valley Syrah is not going to taste the same as an ‘old bush vine’ Barossa Shiraz. And one is not better than the other, simply different. So this approach helps in judging the qualities in each expression.
This ‘identity known’ tasting approach can allow for a more relevant review and to be made with the final wine consumer in mind to find attributes they value. As part of the ‘identity known’ approach, information and insights can be sought from the winemaker, to aid in the assessment. However, the final review is the opinion and assessment of myself alone.
Understanding the traditions and passion which go into making wine, helps to better review a wine from a consumers perspective. Looking for unique personalities and characters that provide enjoyment, rather than just seeking out any technical winemaking faults. Any wine faults or any out of balance detected will be assessed in the context of the wine as a whole. If they do not detract from the enjoyment of the wine - they will be reviewed accordingly.
My reviews are written with vocab and in a tone that is meant for the final consumer. With a relaxed approach - my style of wine reviews, is to paint a visual and sensory description that will be meaningful and have relevance and references for the wine drinker in a practical and easily understandable for everyday life. As wines are made to be sipped, savoured and shared with good food, family and friends. My role is to make this decision process as easy and enjoyable as possible.
Wines reviewed are rated by a number of stars. The wine rating system has 3 to 5 Stars - this is generally an easily understood, visual system to convey quality. Around the world you will find the 100-point system which is supposed to provide an even finer distinction of quality assessment. Though it is my opinion that a 1% distinction in wine quality is near impossible for most people to taste or appreciate. So I work within a range that I feel is much easier to taste and appreciate.
• 5 Stars 95 – 100 points Exceptional to Classic
An exceptional wine with a complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic expression of its variety. Wines of this caliber are crafted to an international benchmark style.
• 4 Stars 90 – 94 points Outstanding to Excellent
An outstanding wine of excellent quality and character, varietal typicity, balanced, well-crafted wines.
• 3 Stars 85 – 89 points Good to Very Good
Made to a good quality displaying varietal integrity and true flavours with no faults.
• Recommended 80 – 85 points Technically Sound* - early drinking style.