Wine : Wine Ratings Explained
- May 14, 2020
Many years ago, when I was in college, I took a philosophy course called Can One Penny Make you Rich?. The argument the professor was making was that each person has a specific number in their mind that defines richness for them. Therefore, if we have even one penny less than that magic number in our heads, were no longer rich. That one little penny makes all the difference.
The same logic can be used with rating wines. One point is all it takes to elevate a simple, good, and fair wine to a pedestal of praiseworthy greatness. Where is that magic point in the wine world? Its that one number that brings us from 89 to 90 points.
Before we delve into the merits of this one-point differential, its important to learn a brief history in the origin of the point grading system.
Burgundy Wine Classification: Grands Crus Appellations
Grands Crus appellations are the “elite” of Burgundy wines. They are produced on the most famous plots. The same Grand Cru can be grown in several towns, as is the case of Corton Grand Cru which is produced in the communes of Aloxe Corton, Ladoix-Serrigny and Pernand Vergelesses.The bottle must include the mandatory reference “Grand Cru”.Only red Grands Crus can be followed by the name of the climat from which the wine originates .In Côte de Beaune, there are 8 Grands Crus: Corton, Corton Charlemagne, Charlemagne, Montrachet, Chevalier-Montrachet, Bâtard-Montrachet, Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet, Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet…Romanée-Conti is certainly the most famous of Burgundys Grands Crus appellations. Only a select few can get their hands on some as the average production is just 5980 bottles per year.
The Best Way To Preserve Open Wine
The best way to preserve an open bottle of wine is a question whose answer is composed of a matrix of temperature, humidity, light, time and personal taste. There is no perfect answer, but some options are better than others.
If a trusty wine preserver is one of the best accessories that every wine drinker should own, how do you chose one? Just like with wine aerators, there are all sorts of gadgets claiming they are the best wine savers on the market. I’ve spent almost two decades working on how to preserve wine once opened, so I have some strong opinions. Nonetheless, I explored new alternatives for this piece in case something I had not heard about had popped onto the market.
Hot Tip: In addition to exploring the many wine preservation possibilities below, let’s also consider that a smart wine preservation strategy starts before you ever open a bottle. That is, it starts with storing wine properly. There’s no point in saving opened wine that’s wasn’t good even before it was opened!
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An Essential Note On The Wine
In general, wine publications tend to provide scorecards for their reviewers to help standardize results and provide the most objective tasting possible.
However, reviewers can still introduce additional rubric elements, as well as note other subjective qualities not included on a set scorecard. The industry encourages tasters to prioritize the following during a formalized wine ranking:
Continue reading to understand how the wine point system works on a more profound level specifically, the exact criteria tasters use to formally rank wine.
Ducted Wine Cellar Cooling System
From the name itself, ducted cooling units supply chilled or cool air in your cellars through ducts. This type of cooling system has an evaporator and condenser outside the house and can be installed up to 25ft away to provide flexibility and to reduce the noise it produces. Because of this, it doesn’t need to vent or handle exhaust or hot air. Ducted cooling units provide a subtle temperature — between 50-65°F — and humidity range of 50-65% RH.
This is great for people who like to collect various types of wines for long periods of time. Also, it is the best choice if you want the least invasive footprint in your wine cellar and money is not an issue.
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Wine Preservation System Information
The moment you open the bottle, the wine begins to change.
Air mingles at its surface and it begins to evaporate, releasing the aromas that enhance its taste.
Oxygen also the tempers tannins in red wines, smoothing them out to make them more pleasurable to drink. This is why reds are always decanted or aerated.
Although this interaction with oxygen is important, its only helpful up to a point. Wines only last 3-5 days before the exposure to oxygen begins spoiling their flavors. They will darken, lose their freshness, and the alcohol will turn to acetic acid to leave a vinegary taste.
Just putting a stopper on the bottle isnt enough to halt this process because there will still be oxygen in the bottle. If you want to save the rest of the bottle after only one glass, youll need a wine preservation system.
There are a few styles of wine preservation systems, all of them designed to protect the wine from oxygen.
Vacuum systems pump oxygen from the bottle and then stopper it until youre ready to drink it again. There are also gas-based systems, usually sprays that introduce argon into the bottle. Argon is heavier than oxygen, so it rests on the surface of the wine to protect it.
Cartridge systems are usually combined with stoppers to introduce an oxygen-absorber into the top of the bottle.
There are also high tech systems, some that combine multiple strategies to help preserve your wine. Here are seven of our favorite wine preservation systems.
Choosing The Best Wine Cellar Cooling Unit
Before you buy a cooling unit, you need to consider the space and ventilation requirements of your wine cellar. If you are going for split types, you also need to think where you want to install the evaporator — inside your cellar or ducted outside — and the construction that entails this process.
These 9 wine cellar cooling units are great for various types and dimensions of your cellars in your home or any commercial establishments. But if you are not a big collector and don’t have a lot of space in your home to have your own wine cellar, wine coolers are definitely something you might want to look into.
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Best Overall: Jk Adams Ash Wood 12
Has kind of a Nordic minimalist look
If youre shelling out for expensive wine , its nice to have a beautiful wine rack that you can admire as you place your bottles within it. Our favorite is the J.K. Adams Ash Wood 12-Bottle Wine Rack, and we like this style of rack so much that we included the 40-bottle option below, as well. It does require a bit of assembly , but promises to be light and durable. Its made sustainably in Vermont by a second-generation, family-owned business, yet it’s still affordable.
Materials: Wood | Dimensions: 13.25 x 13.25 x 11 inches | Bottle Capacity: 12 | Weight: 1 pound | Assembly Required: Yes
Its important to note that how you store your wine can either enhance or ruin your wine. Its best to set up your wine rack in a cool, dry area thats away from direct sunlight. If you leave your wine in any spot that regularly gets above 70 degrees, you risk cooking it. If the wine gets too cold, you risk drying out the cork. Keeping the cork moist is also why you want to lay your wine bottles down horizontally .
Makes Your Collection Accessible
A wine cellar organization app also helps you locate bottles rapidly. You donât have to comb through racks to find a bottle while your guests wait upstairs. You donât have to run your hands up and down bins looking for a special bottle you just want to show someone as you walk them through your cellar. You just straight up donât have to waste time rummaging around in your cellar. Use your wine cellar app, get the location, and head right there.
Also, unorganized wine storage tends to accumulate newer purchases in the front of the cellar. That leaves older purchases to languish in the back of the cellar marching toward their drink-by date.
An organized cellar makes everything accessibleâfor slipping into optimal drinking windows to finding what you need on the double.
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Ductless Split Wine Cellar Cooling System
Ductless split cooling units are known to produce even cooling from small to big and large wine cellars. With this type of cooling unit, the condenser and evaporator are split. The evaporator is installed or mounted in the cellar usually connected by a copper piping to the condenser — commonly a free-standing unit located outdoors.
If you have bigger or spacious wine cellars, the ductless split cooling system is a cost-efficient option and it doesn’t require an HVAC licensed professional to install it in your homes. This is the best choice if you want to balance the money you spend, power, and aesthetics.
A Barcode Scanning System
Initially setting up an organized wine cellar is all well and good, but a big part of wine cellar management is coordinating its moving parts. The best way to efficiently manage a wine collection is with an inventory scanning system.
Most scanning systems are either apps or handheld scanning devices. Ideally, a wine cellar app has the option to use both. The wine cellar organization app itself for quick one-off or low-volume usage and a handheld scanner for lightning-fast, high-volume usage.
Once information is input and scanning is in place, wine cellar management becomes a succession of quick scans instead of a wrestling match with a physical cellar book. Youâre saving a ton of time and making your life a lot easier. But it doesnât end there. Every piece of information you enter and scan is recorded. And you can draw some valuable conclusions with it.
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Use Those Tasting Notes To Your Advantage
Although wine ratings may be the first thing that draws you in, tasting notes tell you more of the story. If you love a wine that smells of blueberries and plums, then look for these descriptors in their tasting notes. If you like a variety that often shows tasting notes of black pepper and smoked meats, then hey, look, you may have just learned something new! Maybe you also enjoy Syrah!
Wine Ratings As A Guide To Purchasing Wines
Wine ratings are mere numerical interpretations of other peoples opinions. And, opinions are, well, just that! They can have their thoughts about a certain bottle of wine, and you can also have yours.
When scanning through the various wines in the wine store, you can use the wine ratings as a guide on which wines are most recommended. But, at the end of the day, its still your taste buds that matter. Dont hesitate to try different kinds of wines and create your own rating system to rate each type.
Planning on a wine cellar of your own? We can help you design it!
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How To Keep Wine Fresh Without A Cork
Tossed the cork into the trash that’s now at the curb? Can’t smash the cork back into the bottle? That is, are you wondering how to store wine after opening without a cork?
To keep opened wine fresh without a cork, it’s definitely handy to keep an extra cork or two of different sizes to stopper an opened wine bottle before setting the wine in the fridge. That works with any wine bottle closure , even ones originally closed with a screwcap or glass cap.
Hot Tip: Preserving sparkling wines well is harder than preserving still wines. This is primarily because once opened, sparkling wines begin to lose their bubbles. Also, sparkling wine corks expand once pulled from the bottle and cannot be re-inserted. Never reclose a sparkling wine bottle with a regular cork because the pressure of its bubbles can push it out, potentially causing personal injury or property damage. Instead, preserve sparkling wines by using a stopper with “arms” or a single arm clasp stopper. These special sparkling wine closures will keep your bottle securely closed and will help keep the sparkles from fading completely for a day or two.
How To Navigate Wine Ratings
Browsing an online wine magazine like Wine Spectator can be an adventure, but you may end up getting lost in the numbers, especially if your search for wine leads you to one of the many online wine review websites, which can have thousands of reviews. All these wine ratings will have you parsing all sorts of information, so lets get started!
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Breezaire Wine Cellar Cooling Unit Wksl 4000
The Breezaire WKSL 4000 is designed with easy and fast installation in mind. Any equipped and qualified refrigeration or air conditioning technician can install this cooling unit. The WKSL 4000 has a flexible split style, where the evaporator is installed inside your wine cellar while the condenser can be located up to 50ft away from the evaporator. If you are looking for more flexible installation and quieter cellar, the Breezaire WKSL 4000 might be the one for you.
|Can maintain a 55°F cellar temperature with up to 110°F condenser air intake temperature|
How Do Wine Cellars By Coastal Help You To Negotiate These Options
Once one of our experienced wine cellar designers consult with you to understand your specific preferences and constraints, taking those into account they will then perform a heat load calculation to determine the proper BTUs needed for the location.
Factors such as room size, R-factors, presence of glass, ambient conditions, and location of the wine cellar are all taken into account to provide you a much more specific set of options for the type of systems and the specific models that will suit your conditions best.
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Want To Learn More About Wine Cellar Designs & Wine Cellar Cooling
At Wine Cellars by Coastal we have a gallery of beautiful wine cellars and an extensive selection of full wine cellar builders project stories for you to view. The individual projects include details of specific wine cellar cooling systems, and why and how they were installed.
Take your time and check out projects such as:
Types Of Wine Preservers
There are three common wine preservation techniques, which all aim to keep oxygen out of the wine bottle.
- Vacuum pumps: The most common and most affordable type of wine preserver, vacuum pumps work well for most wine drinkers. They are made up of two parts: the stopper and the pump. When youre done drinking, place the stopper in the bottle and use the pump to remove the oxygen and seal the stopper. You may have to pump a few times to remove all the oxygen. This should preserve your wine for at least a week.
- Wine sprays: These are less common, in part because they seem counterintuitive and antithetical to drinking wine. Sprays replace the oxygen in an open bottle with inert gases. After you pour your wine, you spray the gas inside the bottle and recork it as quickly as possible. Some customers may be put off by the idea of spraying an aerosol gas into their wine, however. Wine sprays also require more attention and work.
- Advanced wine preservation systems: At a much higher price point, you can buy a wine preservation system that uses advanced technology that allows you to enjoy the wine without ever uncorking it. These devices penetrate the cork with a small needle and pour out your wine without ever letting air in. Theyre ideal for wine connoisseurs and especially great if you just want a sip or taste of a quality wine. These are expensive products, however, and the market is dominated by one company that has mastered this system.
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Whisperkool Ductless Twin Split Ceiling Mount
WhisperKool Ductless Twin Split Ceiling Mount offers the best efficiency when it comes to dispersing air inside your cellars. This cooling unit draws in the warmer air collected at the ceiling, then cooling and dispersing the cooled air in your cellar.
It is hidden in your ceiling making it visually invisible. It comes with KDT digital thermostat controller you can install up to 50ft. Look at the full features of the WhisperKool Ductless Twin Split Ceiling Mount if you are looking for a more flexible and hidden cooling unit!
Features To Look For In Wine Preservation Systems
Design – A simple design that provides easy operation is definitely better than an over-complicated one. Also ensure the system provides a tight fit on the wine bottle to prevent spills and messes.
Durability – Its important to ascertain how many times you would be able to use the preservation system. This also includes the stoppers they should be able to be used more than once.
Safety – The system needs to be absolutely safe, it should fit perfectly on the bottle and the user manual should be read before installation.
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The Wine Point Scale Explained
What is the wine point system, and how does it work? The wine rating scale is a 100-point-based system. A higher score reflects a consensus from various wine experts that a bottle is of excellent quality, whereas low scores logically denote an average or less-than-stellar bottle.
Wine ratings are more a point of reference than an official decree. Consumers like you can use the numbers to weed out specific bottles when browsing wine in a store or online, to compare identical varietals from different producers or to have fun testing your palate against the experts. In any case, wine ratings are ultimately subjective a helpful tool to take and use as you wish.