ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I recently took a wine tasting course in which the instructor explained his view of the Wine Spectator ratings system as not being a linear ranking scale. Specifically, a wine at a $50 price point that is rated at a WS93 rating is not the same quality of wine as a WS93 rating for a wine at a $25 price point. The expectation for the $50 wine is much higher, so a WS93 rating on a $50 wine should be considered a higher ranking than a WS93 rating for the $25 wine. Is this true?

—Bob T., St. Albert, Alberta

Dear Bob,

No, it's not true. And furthermore, it's confusing. What we do is much simpler. Wine Spectator tastes wines in blind flights, and the producer and price are not known. Once the score is decided, it's never adjusted—not for who the producer is, and not for what the price is. All 93-point wines have the same relative quality.

Of course, not all 93-point wines taste alike, hence all the tasting notes with the descriptors. Whether the $50 or the $25 bottle is more to one's liking will vary from person to person.

—Dr. Vinny


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