Anthony Rose is a highly respected British wine writer. He has recently launched a renovated version of his web site and blog with lots of information, well worth visiting. One of the articles on the site is “What’s your poison?”. It’s a story about the seminar organised by the Australians for a group of 20 wine writers (including some very famous names) in the UK to show how Australian wine judges are trained and selected. The tastings included the ability to identify wine defects and the reliability (or perhaps rather, the consistency) of scores. The tasters were given (without them being aware of it) the same wine to taste twice during the day. Ideally, the same score should be given to the wine both times. But that was not always the case… The article is very interesting and entertaining, especially for those who think that wine scoring is close to a science and absolute. Take the time to read the numbers at the end of the article! If we understand it right, none of the 20 participants were quite appropriate (in terms of consistency) to be an Australian wine judge. The basic idea is definitely a good one: reasonably, one should give relatively similar scores to one and the same wine when tasted at two different occasions within a few hours of each other. It is a much more reasonable idea than the one that is often heard – that different wine critics should consistently evaluate/score a wine similarly (illustrated e.g. by the spat some time ago when Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker did not agree on Chateau Pavie). That isn’t quite the case.
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