Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
If a wine's score is lower than the region's vintage rating, does that mean the wine is below average quality for the vintage?
—Matt, New York
Wine Spectator's wine ratings are not weighted by the quality of the vintage (however, our vintage ratings do take wine ratings into account; more on that in a bit). A 91-point wine is a 91-point wine, no matter the overall quality of the vintage. Our scores do not take quality of the vintage into account, and a 91-point wine from a lesser vintage is neither superior nor inferior to a 91-point wine from an outstanding vintage.
In addition to reviewing individual wines, we also summarize the overall quality of regions in specific years. These vintage ratings are a snapshot of what to expect, and our wine tasters arrive at their score for a vintage by looking at many things, including the number and percentage of outstanding wines they tasted. So even though a 91 is a 91 no matter the vintage, you could expect more wines to score 90 points or higher in exceptional vintages than in more difficult vintages.