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How we Rate and Grade Wine at 10 Dollar Wine


We have received quite a few emails asking us how we actually grade our wines and what your actual scale really is.  Many want to know why we don't use the standard 100 point scale and provide reviews like.

"91 - Flavors of berry, coffee and leather with a deep red 
color.  Excellent nose and wonderful finish, etc."

Now with no disrespect to the Folks at Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast Magazines but there are more then enough reviews like that.  We simply did not want another site spewing out more four line reviews that don't really mean much to the average Joe or Jane wine drinker.  So we created our own method of judging wine that was based on the fact that on most nights when we open a bottle to review we don't drink an ounce and move on to the next one, HECK NO we kill the bottle and drink the wine with the intent to taste, feel and enjoy it as a normal part of our day.

This is how most people drink wine.  We also wanted to make allowances for the fact that we are reviewing inexpensive wines and some are 3 dollars a bottle, some are 6 dollars a bottle and some are a full 10 dollars a bottle (actually we admit any bottle we can buy for 10.99 or less) and that each of these price points warranted a different standard to at least some degree.

Think of this as a "best in class" mentality.  When Car and Driver reviews a Kia Optima or Pontiac Grand Prix they don't compare them to Chevy Corvettes or BMW's they compare them to other cars in their class.  In the same way we may find two wines to be almost of the same quality but if one is 6 dollars it may be rated "Highest Recommended" while the other that is about the same and is 9.99 a bottle would only get "Highly Recommended" simply because if you can get a very similar and just as good wine for less then the less expensive should be more highly rated.  Here are the ratings our wines can revive and what they mean.

  • Highest Recommendation - For a wine to receive this rating it must be best in its type (Chianti, Zinfandel, Etc) and at its price point.  Wines we rate this high we feel would still be a good value and worth buying if they were 60-70% higher in price.  For instance a 10 dollar wine with this recommendation would still be a good buy at 16-17 dollars a bottle.

  • Highly Recommended - Wines that are highly recommended are exceptional wines for their price point.  Generally we feel such wines would still be a good buy at a 20-30% higher price.  They are simply a great wine that we would recommend not only for the occasional buy but to keep on hand in your wine rack in quantity to enjoy often.

  • Recommended - Wines in this category are great wines to enjoy often and worth buying and probably would still be worth buying if they cost a bit more.  They are above average for their price point.  They would be a wine you might choose to keep a bottle or two around the house in your wine rack when ever you are stocking up.

  • Good - Good wines are solid performers in their class.  They are like the base model of a decent car.  We don't necessarily recommend them but we would drink them and don't mind picking up a bottle to drink from time to time.  The only issue with them is they are just not exceptional enough to choose above many other bottles in their class.  

  • Acceptable - These wines are just that, "OK" drinkable and perhaps at half their price they would move into the good category. They are nothing that tastes "bad" they just don't stand up against similar wines in their class.

  • Not Recommended - Now we don't meet many wines we would refuse to drink and just because we say "Not Recommended" does not mean the wine is undrinkable just that there would always be a better wine at the same price available in any store so there would just not be any reason to choose one of these wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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