90+ Point Wine Scores….Who Cares?

Bottle of Six Sigma Tempranillo

Many people care, actually.  Our retail accounts report that some customers shop by rating, and ignore brand.

And many people DO NOT care.  Those often are vocal about that fact.  “I drink what I want, not what some critic tells me,” they may proclaim in our tasting room.
Here in the wine industry, producers are polarized too.  Some wineries chase ratings above all, while others denounce them as “selling out.”

When our first Sauvignon Blanc many years ago got slammed by a certain critic, I was tempted to join the camp with the critic haters.  But, meanwhile the same wine sold great at the finest restaurants in New York and San Francisco.  So, what gives?  (That same critic has since grown fonder of Six Sigma Wines.)

First, remember critics are human.  They have preferences, and wake up in various moods each day.  Many are talented and consistent, but the best will be the first to admit they are not machines.

Second, wine is alive.  A well-rated bottle was rated well THAT DAY!  But it ages, and may not show well 3 years later.  In fact, some wines are built by the winery for the purpose of a score, oxygenated to show perfectly on the day of the rating, and those wines almost certainly won’t show well years later.  They have, in essence, been pre-aged during production for the sake of the rating.

With those points in mind, you can still learn from ratings.  A good critic can steer you clear of plonk, and many critics have fine taste.

At Six Sigma Ranch, we fall between the two camps.  We don’t build our wine for ratings, (we grow the wines we want to enjoy with friends), but we certainly don’t mind when Wine Enthusiast rates our Tempranillo 93 points, or the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 91.  They are fine people,  and we respect and appreciate their opinion.

Christian Ahlmann

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