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The Wine Society Range, Spring 2022

As tasted by Tom Canavan:

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Interesting looking at his comments (only one wine marked lower than 88/100). It didn’t give me the impression that he was being totally impartial. Influencers eh?

Actually there are two - Zorzal and L’Ousteau.

For me the narrow range (most between 88-92) means that most of the wines are of average quality.

Yes sorry Richard I overlooked the Zorzal. I guess I rather thought that his comments were all pretty safe and as you say ‘average’ sounding. However, I do sometimes think these ‘well-known’ wine critics abide by the ‘if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’ mantra. Of course it brings the whole point of scoring into focus doesn’t it? Is 88/100 a safe score? What constitutes a stinker these days and does anyone ever mark anything much lower, or don’t they mark them at all?

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Surely a good critic is one who can see the merits in anything, and can turn that into a positive comment even if the wine isnt to their taste?

The society is only buying wines that they think are good, so in theory no bad wines although definitely some that I wouldn’t chose as not to my taste. It’s not like picking a restaurant at random or reviewing an importers whole portfolio.

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Surely the vast majority of reasonably-priced wine - at least that of a quality one would expect from TWS - will be between 88 and 92?! I would certainly expect this, given that this article is mostly about wines at this level. Basically, the 100 point is to all intents and purposes a 10 point scale from 85 to 95.

Nice to see Las Jaras gets a decent rating. I thought a couple of people on here were very harsh about this wine (maybe didn’t give it enough time open?)

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Indeed. We’ve mentioned before the JR rating system where by in a 20 point scale, 12 of the lowest points do not appear to be used at all.

20 – Truly exceptional
19 – A humdinger
18 – A cut above superior
17 – Superior
16 – Distinguished
15 – Average, a perfectly nice drink with no faults but not much excitement
14 – Deadly dull
13 – Borderline faulty or unbalanced
12 – Faulty or unbalanced

Really the only reason to use such a scale is that 15 out of 20 looks better to the wine producer than a 5 out of 10 rating.

15 of out 20 looks to the untrained eye to be well above average whereas 5 out of 10 looks absolutely average. Which, ironically, is what a score of 15 out of 20 is meant to represent.

For wine to be purchased by typical consumers, a 5 point scale is all that is really needed.

1 Terrible.
2. Dull
3 Average
4 Good
5 Excellent

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Can’t really agree with this. Given that almost no wines sold these days are “terrible”, it’s a four-point scale. And given that 90% of what we drink will be a 4, with the occasional 3 and even more occasional 2 or 5, what’s the point at all?

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Dunno, as a consumer I just need to know if a wine is average, good or excellent really.

20 – Truly exceptional
19 – A humdinger
18 – A cut above superior
17 – Superior
16 – Distinguished
15 – Average, a perfectly nice drink with no faults but not much excitement

I mean, what really is the difference between a distinguished wine, a superior wine or a cut above superior. They’re just nonsense words to most people.

Imagine applying that scale to a book review or a film review, people would look at you as if you’d lost your mind. Ooh, that latest Oscar nominated movie is a cut above superior, we should check it out but such a shame its not a humdinger.

Plus, you’ll see from reviews posted on WS website that there are plenty of wines that people drink that they definitely do not consider to be a 4 (good).

As for 100 point scales, what on earth is the difference between an 88 and an 89. I bet even the author has no idea.

And if few wines are terrible these days then it makes even less sense to devote 12 points on a 20 point scale to identifying such wines.

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“As an average consumer”…

Yes, you’re probably right.

But as regards discussion on here, it’s kind of irrelevant, seeing as absolutely no one who spends time on wine forums is in any way an average consumer :rofl:

As such, for me those minor distinctions are precisely what I’m looking for. Obviously you have to understand the arcane secret code first :wink:

There should probably be two separate scoring systems, one for geeks and one for shelf talkers :smiley:

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Don’t know about that, I had a bottom-shelf California Shiraz the other day that tasted of air. And not good air.

Plenty of 1s out there - remember Sturgeon’s Law.

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Good question, especially when you consider that all other consumer goods - food, books, theatre, film, cars, phones, etc etc are marked down, when the critic feels it is appropriate.

Another reason why the removal of the consolidated member review page was so unhelpful.

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Well, if you must :rofl: Truly pushing the envelope in the cause of scientific enquiry!

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Indeed.

Marking something down, and publicising that, is as important as marking something up. It tells you the tastes of the reviewer. That’s why WS reviews are so helpful, Members will give an average wine 3 out of 5. Nothing wrong with it, just an average bottle of wine. Whereas, trying to decode if a 86 out of 100 is a bad, average or good wine is going to be pretty hard work, particularly when the entire reviewing range of 50 wines starts at 86 and ends at 92.

Be far better to just start the reviews saying all wines were well made and competent but to help you find the best ones the 86 wine will be marked as a 1, the 92 wine will be marked as a 10 with the rest of the wines scaled appropriately.

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Arbois

I’m sure it’s a typo or oversight, but he confused the Tissot Arbois as wine from the Savoie rather than the Jura. Maybe he was thinking of an Arbin Mondeuse… Arbin… Arbois… they’re out to get us!

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I think the “Savoie” is the error. It adds up otherwise. Don’t think there’s any trousseau in Savoie !!
14% though but. I remember when wines form Jura struggled to make 12%.
Time to revisit methinks … maybe this July.

Indeed! That was just my point :grinning:

As for the ABV - anecdotal evidence of one is that most of both Trousseau and Plousard/Poulsard seem to be at least 13.5% if not 14% these days… But still retain that lovely freshness and savoury moreishness (is this a word?!)… Yum!

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I was a bit shocked when I saw the Tissot chardonnays are all like 14.5% too - doesn’t stop them from being absolutely delicious though.

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I very much agree. At the time they claimed it was not feasible to migrate it at launch but was on the list of enhancements, though how it would count as such, when it was already there, is moot.

Anyway, 8 months on and no sign of it returning so I’m assuming its removal was intentional for whatever reason and I can’t think of a good one…

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It’s been a while since the website was launched now and I know this is on a long list of things to do but I too don’t want to lose the idea of the member reviews being brought together and will continue to push for it….

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