Wine Judging

Before I get to today’s post I just want to mention that I attended the “Vino 2009″ Italian wine tasting this afternoon in NYC.  It was a HUGE event and I got to taste lots of Italian wines – wines I know little about.  I hope to have time to review my notes tomorrow so that I can comment further on the event, the wines and mention some standouts.

But today I want to briefly discuss WINE JUDGING.

I have admitted to friends & colleagues as well as here in this blog that I am confident that I can judge what I believe to be poor, OK, good or even very good wines (although I do think this is somewhat subjective).  That said, I have a hard time really deciphering GREAT wines, or those deemed to be great that often command respectively great price tags.  I hope(d) & expect that as I continue tasting my palate will continue to refine and one day I will get to the point when I can truly tell the difference between a very good wine & a great wine.

And then I read about a paper whereby the author (Robert Hodgson) showed with extensive analysis how wine judging is a very inaccurate science.  Apparently he found that 90% of judges are not able to replicate their scores for the same wine.  Or as he put it:

“About 10 percent of the judges were able to replicate their score within a single medal group.  Another 10 percent, on occasion, scored the same wine Bronze to Gold. Judges tend to be more consistent in what they don’t like than what they do.”

Felix Salmon for picked up on these findings and concluded “I’m beginning to think there’s really no such thing as a really good wine: there’s just really bad wine, and everything else”.

Felix my man, I think your conclusion is a bit extreme, but in many regards I think you are saying what many supposed wine experts do not want to admit.

Special thanks to wine buddy Marc for bringing this report to my attention.

Happy scores are worthless wine tasting!


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