The wine industry is unlike any other. It seems as if the business of wine is more about selling mystique and cachet than value and enjoyment. What other industry relies almost exclusively on the subjective opinion of a handful of self-described experts and wine writers to tell people if the final product is good or not? Or worth the price?

So What’s in a Wine Description?
Understanding how things like wine descriptions are written, and how wine scores are awarded (and why you can get very different wine descriptions and scores from different reviewers) can help wine lovers discern which advice they should listen to.

Here you’ll find “straight talk on wine” from the Wine PocketList. That’s because a big part of our mission is ensure that you find the best wines that are the best values for you.

Who’s the Real Expert?
….So what happened when two of the world’s foremost experts tasted the same wines from the same bottles at the same time? They disagreed. In fact, the two experts disagreed on nearly 90 percent of the 40 wines…

Can wine descriptions help you find a decent wine?
“Ripe, rich and round, with lots of spicy, earth-scented black cherry and berry flavors, hinting deliciously at chocolate on the smooth finish.  Although descriptions such as this are de rigueur for most wine writers, I’m skeptical that they are useful.  Therefore, I performed a test…”

Wine Descriptions: The Experts Agree [to Disagree…]
One authority found “bell pepper, green olive, ripe, plush currant and black cherry” in a cabernet by Stag’s Leap.  But the other found “berry, earth, chocolate and coconut.”  So, does that mean that the aromas and flavors described in the wine magazines aren’t real?

What’s with the 100 Point System?
You see and hear wine numbers everywhere.  Robert Parker gave this cabernet an 89.  This chardonnay was rated 91 by the Wine Spectator.  Wine Enthusiast said 86 for this zin.  Of course, the experts sometimes agreed, but only on two of 39 wines!…