What is the 100 Point Wine Scale?

What is the 100 Point Wine Scale?

In a nutshell, the 100 point scale, or any of the rating systems, are reviewers’ quantitative commentary on the relative quality of a wine at the time it was tasted.

Initially formed by Robert Parker, the 100 point system provides a ranking of 50-100 on a bottle of wine. Robert and his friends brought this system into fruition with their publication The Wine Advocate, first published in 1978. This new way of ranking wines revealed to wine critics around the world that there were new ways to present wines, and for marketers a new way to sell wines. Therefore the transition began from the previously used 20 point system, which was deemed too inflexible and could inflate or compress a wine’s rating.

What one must remember is that any point system is supposed to be an accompaniment to tasting notes, not in existence by itself as no wine can be summed up in numerical digits. The rating is given, followed by detailed tasting notes explaining the rationale for the rating and what the favourable elements of the wine are. The push to focus on the rating alone has become more of a powerful marketing tool than a wine connoisseur's assistant. This is how businesses and wineries help their consumers compare and select wines.

Some publications, such as Wine Spectator and Robert Parker, are so highly regarded their given score can make or break a wine label. Indeed, any wine with 100 points given will behighly sought after.

What the numbers mean:
100 point system from wine advocate

Taken from Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Symbols you may see on the ratings:

“XX” - Parentheses are used to indicate the wine was tasted from the barrel.

+ - Plus symbol suggests the wine has the potential to increase rating with age.

Different reviewers tend to have their own symbols/initials to represent who gave the ranking to the wine.

  • Robert Parker Wine Advocate has an ‘RP’ before any ranking for any reviewer tasting a wine under the Wine Advocate publication.
  • The Wine Companion reviewers have the initials EL, JF, JH, JP, NG, SC, TL and TS for Erin Larkin, Jane Faulkner, James Halliday, Jeni Port, Ned Goodwin, Steven Creber, Tony Love and Tyson Stelzer.

The 20 Point Scale

First emerging in 1959, it was developed for academic purposes, focusing on the exact qualities such as colour, aroma, flavours, as well as balance of sugars, acids, and tannins. Dr Maynard Amerine of UC Davis' Viticulture & Enology department was the creator, and to this day many acclaimed critics still use this format in a traditional style, including Jancis Robinson. While not as broad as the 100 Point system, it is easier to understand exact elements drawing the final rating in the 20 Point Scale.


French Wines Rated 100 Points

Chateau Lafleur, Pomerol, France
1947, 2000, 1950, 1945, 2015, 2005

Chateau Latour a Pomerol, Pomerol, France
1961, 1947

Chateau Margaux, Margaux, France
1996, 1990, 1900, 2018

Coche-Dury Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France
1990, 2008, 1999

Domaine Belargus Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru Ultra, Loire France

Petrus, Pomerol, France
1990, 2018, 2009, 2000, 2015, 1921, 1989, 1929, 2016, 2010

Our partner Clos Cachet import these spectacular wines.

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