RECOMMENDED = I like it, would buy it again, and probably have. (If my impression changes on subsequent occasions, I note it on the original review.)
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED = I like it very much and keep it in stock as a go-to favorite.
EXQUISITE = One of my favorite wines of the year. So far in 2011 I’ve called two “exquisite.” I snap up every bottle of these wowzers I can, keeping them in stock as Special Occasion wines.
After some soul-searching, I decided not to publish negative reviews. We’ve all had wine we didn’t care for. Yes, the idea here is to save you time and money by sharing recommendations, but I’m figuring you’d prefer to spend time reading about what’s good, rather than waste time reading about what isn’t.
I don’t like the points system, and neither use it myself nor report others’ numerical scores of wines. It’s degrading and depersonalizing, I think—like awarding a “10″ to one beautiful woman and a “7″ to another. Wines are individuals with quirks, charms, strong points, and differences. My ultra-favorite wine of this year received a mere 89-90 from The Powers That Be, while some of the most ho-hum wines on the planet have received scores significantly higher than 90.