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03.31.2004

Had enough of the 100 point rating scale ?

I've chosen to use a 10 point rating scale here at Vinography because, frankly, what the heck is the difference between an 86 and an 88? In any case, if you're interested in another alternative to the standard 100 point rating system, I'm happy (and tickled) to introduce the new 1000.00 point rating system from the current issue of Wine X Magazine.

Wine X's New 1,000.00 Point Scale
In an effort to conform to wine industry expectations and garner support from an industry that's content on only reaching a sliver of the adult population, Wine X introduces its new 1,000.00 point scale. Written with the trade in mind in winegeek language that even they won't understand (but embrace because it's a "point" system), it's the perfect vehicle to help wineries unload their product on distributors. After that, who cares, right? As long as it's out of the winery it's sold!

1,000.00 Scale

999.99 - 1,000.00 = You can't find or afford it
988.99 - 999.98 = You may be able to find it, but you still can't afford it
977.99 - 988.98 = You must be on their waiting list to be on their mailing list
966.99 - 977.98 = Even if you're on their mailing list you can only buy one bottle
955.99 - 966.98 = If you brown nose the winemaker you might be able to get two bottles
944.99 - 955.98 = Production was more than 100 cases but less than 105
933.99 - 944.98 = Winemaker is cute
922.99 - 933.98 = So is their spouse
911.99 - 922.98 = The highest we'll score wines with no oak
900.99 - 911.98 = The lowest we'll score wines with too much oak
899.99 - 900.98 = Pure crap

Here are a few samples from our April 1, 2004 issue:

965.74 Cannotaffordit Vineyard & Bank
2002 Chardonnay
California $145

As we tilt the finest crystal wine glass available to the perfect 37 degree angle against the perfectly white table cloth in our perfectly sterile tasting room, we catch the glimpse of a magnificent, superlative golden hue, reminiscent of the sunrise in Monte Carlo after a winning night at the tables. One panel member actually thought for a moment that she saw the Virgin Mary's face in it's sheer brilliance. It turned out to be her own reflection, but still... Our nose goes deeply into the glass. Ah, the aromas. Whiffs of 3-methylbutanal and dimethoxyphenol fill our senses, and a few panel members even detect a bit of eugenol and sapodilla. Bravo for them. For us, this would be enough. But it continues -- fruit aromas actually expose themselves seductively: at first, soft, shy pepino nuances, then kiwano, calomondin and monstera (leaning more toward the Mexican bread fruit than the banana, of course). Traces of fenugreek and ajowan spices drift in the left nostril, while borage and bugle frolic in the right. We can't stand it anymore, we must taste. Oh, the texture. Smooth, unctuous, silky, more unctuousness, much like our Brioni suits and Manolo Blahnik shoes. The aromas materialize on our superior palates and this wine's high-priced guard crumbles before us to reveal more feijoa and atemoya flavors with a trace of babaco to round out the playing field. Of course, all the fruit and secondary characteristics are overpowered by the intense3-methylbutanal and diacetyl flavors or it wouldn't be a true California chardonnay and receive our to-die-for blessing.

Post note: As this gloriously unavailable and unobtainable wine finally fades from our memory, we're left with an onslaught of calm on our palate. (We debated for a while whether to raise the score to 965.75, but a few panel members detected a bit of feverfew on the finish, so we stuck with the score above.) 4.7 bottles produced.

900.99 Cannotpronounceit Cellars
2001 Cabernet Sauvignon

Special Family Library Private Reserve, Olive Grove Vineyard, Southwest Facing Slope, Behind the Barn, Cordon Vertical Trellised, Fifth Row, Third Vine from the Right, North Cane, First Bunch from the Left, Unfined, Unfiltered, Barrel Aged, Barrel Fermented, Malo-lactic, Estate Grown, Estate Bottled, Estate for Sale, Founded in 1981 by Fifth Generation Billionaire - $104.99

Sheer poetry in a bottle. The very obscure poet Vandelay comes to mind. The third line of his highly controversial, "Momma, you can stop choppin' the wood 'cause I'm comin' home with a load" especially. I don't know why we bother trying to explain such sophistication to mere mortals such as you. It's like explaining rain to people who don't know what water is. But, you grossly overpaid for this verbiage and follow it like sheep, thus we must go on. When looking at a wine, clarity is the most important factor. This wine is hazy, like a cloudy day in the Hamptons after a dip in the DOW. When holding it against our perfectly white table cloth, very little, if any, clarity exists. It's perfect! A superior example of an unfined, unfiltered wine. Our nose goes into the glass. At first whiff, elevated amounts of acid-hydrolsates attacks our olfactory membrane, followed by vindaloo paste and ciruela. The aromas intrigue us. They are voluptuous, very feminine, and make some of us question our sexuality. We tip the glass to our lips. The wine explodes into our mouths. We've obviously been fooled. This isn't a feminine wine at all. It's obviously a masculine wine in drag. But we like it. Caress it. Hold it in for as long as we can before letting trickle down the backs of our throats. We light a cigar. We'll remember this wine. Yes we will. And we'll come back to it in our dreams. (1,000 cases produced but not released. It's the family's library private reserve, after all)

900.98 California Vintners
2001 Merlot
California

Pure crap. Unacceptable. Fire the winemaker immediately or we'll never taste any of your wines again. How dare you insult us with your cheap, barely-worthy-of-our-time wine. $4.99? Pllllllease. And all bias aside, who in their right mind would put this wine on their table when entertaining guests? I mean, how would that look? Still, we felt generous. It was Friday and we were all off to Pebble Beach for a weekend of golf, so we collectively decided to lower our standards and taste this wine. Even Adonis, our resident Master of Wine/Master Sommelier/Master of Ceremonies remained in the room when the wine's price was revealed. To expedite the torturous ordeal, we can tell you right away that the color was exactly PMS# 1747. Bignay and black sapote fruit aromas danced before our confused nose. Yes, despite its price it actually smelled good. But, of course, quality has everything to do with price, so we were obviously delusional. Take into account that a few panel members detected the distinct aroma of acerola, the Barbados variety, of course. Mad, I tell you. On the palate, for those of you who actually have one, we experienced yarrow/milfoil right upon entry, followed by hyssop and an almost unnoticeable trace of lovage (odorless, tasteless -- we'd know it anywhere!). Overall, this wine is deconstructed, unorganized and favors Democrats and labor unions. It's a prime example of why we won't give a wine with no oak a higher score. (14 billion cases produced)

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.