Explaining the Ratings

Explaining the Ratings

The experts use one of three rating systems to judge the quality of wines.

  • 100 point scoring system - used by Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, Allen Meadows, James Halliday, Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines. This is the most popular system with US and Southern Hemisphere wine experts.
  • 20 point system – used by Jancis Robinson, Decanter Magazine and other UK wine experts.
  • 5 star system – used by Decanter Magazine, John Platter and common in various other publications and wine shows.

Devotees of the 100 point system frequently tweak grade distinctions in a minor way but are usually very precise in scoring a wine. British wine writers are usually wary of explaining the 20 point system so definitively and in so doing they leave space for the wine drinker to react to the wine subjectively and indeed for the wine itself to move up and down the scale as it ages.

We provide links to the wine experts' websites so you can read their scoring definitions but the following 2 examples are sufficient to understand the ratings on winedirect:

100pt scale
eg Wine Spectator
20pt scale
eg Jancis Robinson
5 Star scale
egDecanterMagazine
95-100 Classic: a great wine 19-20 Truly exceptional 5 Stars
90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style 18 A humdinger
17 A cut above superior
5 Stars
4 Stars
85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities 16 Superior 3 Stars
80-84 Good: a solid, well made wine 15 Average, but undistinguished 2 Stars
75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws 14 Deadly dull or borderline unbalanced 1 Star
50-74 Not recommended   1 Star

You will find many of our wine listings state the experts’ ratings in a box beneath the name of the wine. The box shows the expert’s initials and the score they gave to the wine.

Most of the wines we list are rated at 85 or 16 points and above. Of course there is a correlation between price and quality – but at the top end of the market, prices often have as much to do with limited supply and excess demand as they do with outstanding quality. Fortunately, winedirect has been able to source many excellent 90 point wines in the £10.00-£20.00 price range.

You will sometimes find experts giving the same wines different marks. This is natural – they have different tastes and the wine itself may change according to its age or environment when tasted. As you sample more wines from winedirect, you may find that you start to “follow” a particular expert as your own tastes respond positively to their recommendations – which is why we offer you the option to search wines according to particular expert’s recommendations.

Please do be aware that wine critics do not review every vintage of a particular wine and that there is frequently a timelag between the arrival of a new vintage in stock and the publication of reviews. Our researchers are constantly updating the wine notes on a weekly basis. Where a rating or review of the current vintage is not available we do provide a rating and review of the most relevant recent vintage for your reference. The vintage reviewed is always clearly shown in brackets after the rating itself eg "Robert Parker 92pts(2008) " Ratings and reviews are provided for guidance only and are not a guarantee of the quality of the wine or that it will be to your taste.