Our rating system is simple, there are three basic categories: Quality wine at a bargain price, Recommended as a buy, or Not recommended; and two secondary categories: Pending and Split Decision that are seldom used.
For us to give it a rating of Quality wine at a bargain price it has to be one of the best value (quality/price) wines we’ve found for that grape variety. In short this is our best-of-the-best rating for wines under $15.00. When we identify wines in this category we immediately go back to the store and buy more.
The Recommended as a buy rating is given to wines that are head-and-shoulders better than the rest and clearly are a good quality for the price. Wines in this category our what we call an “Excellent Buy”. We do use a sliding scale for this rating that weighs both quality and cost. For example, a very inexpensive wine ($8.00) that was very drinkable or a more expensive wine ($50.00) that was outstanding quality could both receive this rating, but needless to say the more expensive wine has to be significantly better in quality than the inexpensive bottle. The wines with this rating are a good value and the ones we enjoy and buy again. We taste a significant percentage of wines before we buy them. As a result, many dubious quality wines are eliminated prior to purchase and a growing number are receiving this category of rating.
Our Not recommended rating simply means we didn’t think the wine was a good value for the cost and will not purchase it again. It may be a drinkable wine, but we’ve had better (of that grape variety) for less cost.
Occasionally we will give a Pending rating to wines that we felt were just not paired well, needed decanting or we thought needed another tasting before we rated them. We than rate the second bottle. If the rating becomes Not Recommended we simply edit the original post; if it gets a Recommended or Quality wine at a Bargain Price rating we post a second tasting.
We seldom disagree on whether we would recommend a wine or not; however, when this happens we list the recommendation as a Split Decision.
For additional information about us and where we purchase wine see About Tastingonline.com.