WS 7 years now...what's up with ratings?
I used to find some real gems via wine ratings, but they don't make sense now. Seems like there are good wines that they rate really low, and some average wines they rate really high. Not sure these ratings are reliable anymore. Anyone else think this?
You'll find plenty of schmoozing re. points in this board, sprinkled all over the place.
Don't expect serious discussions, since the topic isn't, but it's certainly a lot of fun.
As an example, take a look at this recent thread (a few inches below):
Let me guess, you look at the CA section a lot?
Jim Laube's palate has deteriorated. Or, at the very least, become so unreliable relative to mine and everyone else that I know, that the CA ratings have basically become meaningless in the past few years. I actually think Suckling has improved a bit over the years, and I am so glad they got rid of that disaster in Per Henrik Mason.
Remember, they use different reviewers for different regions, so you cannot really generalize about "WS ratings" -- you have to look at region and reviewer. Butoverall, if you cut out CA from consideration (which is obviously a HUGE 'if') I think the reviews have actually gotten more accurate over the past 5 years or so, with the one caveat being JS's Italian ratings which, well -- when he LOVES something it is always at least very good, and when he thinks something is merely ok, I never find it mindblowing. But, for me, whereas I can usually gauge a real difference between a 93 and 95 point wine from Steven Tanzer, I often find such a distinction in Sucklings reviews of Italian wines meaningless. (Note: I do not have the same problem with him in Bordeaux, and I do not read his Port reviews because I am a Fonseca man through and through.)
Ratings in a vacuum are rarely reliable in the first place. However, if you have been looking/reading the Speculator for seven years, isn't it possible that YOUR tastes have changed? Or . . . perhaps those of the reviewers have.
FWIW, as I've often said, a good reviewer is a consistent reviewer. It doesn't matter what the actual point score is; what is important is the accompanying description. I've had great wines with great ratings, and I've had great wines with pretty low numbers . . . I've also had some completely awful wines that got some pretty high scores, and some pretty awful wines with some really low scores.
It is all up to you. And your taste buds.