You Asked: How is a Wine's Score Determined?

Senior Tasting Director Joe Czerwinski explains the criteria for the 100-point rating system.

You Asked: I have seen the rating scale, but there are no specific criteria, such as age, cost, type of grapes, etc., listed as to how the rating is determined. I am curious to know what specifically is used (besides taste) to determine where on the scale the wine is placed. ~KC

Our reviewers assign ratings to all wines using the following scale:

Classic 98-100: The pinnacle of quality.

Superb 94-97: A great achievement.

Excellent 90-93: Highly recommended.

Very Good 87-89: Often good value; well recommended.

Good 83-86: Suitable for everyday consumption; often good value.

Acceptable 80-82: Can be employed in casual, less-critical circumstances.

Wines receiving a rating below 80 are not reviewed.

Although each of our reviewers is free to use their own rubric, we stress the importance of evaluating balance, length, intensity and complexity as the basis for our ratings. For a summary of how I rate wines, check my blog on the subject.

As most of the wines we review are tasted blind—that is without knowing the producer or price--there is no way to incorporate cost into the rating, although price is a consideration when awarding Best Buy or Editors' Choice designations. 

Do you have a burning, unanswered question about wine? Send your queries to and one of our editors will get back to you.


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