Your Guide to Wine Casual Ratings
Wine Casual rates and reviews wines using a 100-point scale.
Please note, I will not be formally rating or reviewing wines on Wine Casual because I’m a wine reviewer for Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Ratings provide evaluation information that may be useful to you in your own wine buying and and also provides a way to record and give context to my own wine tasting experiences.
Reviewing wine is an inherently subjective exercise, so here’s a guide that will help you interpret Wine Casual’s ratings.
You are encouraged to rely on the tasting note detail more than the score because this detailed information will give you a fuller perspective of a wine. But in a pinch, a wine rating can be a useful shortcut.
90 – 100: Excellent to Outstanding. This wine shows complexity. It excels on multiple levels and shows the highest expression of the grape, region or wine making. This is a wine that you’d debate bringing to your boss or hording yourself for a special occasion.
80 – 89: Very Good to Great. This wine is a solid wine that shows some complexity. It excels on at least one level, and serves as a strong example of the expression of the grape, region or wine making. This is a solid wine you can bring to dinner parties and enjoy as a splurge wine on the weekend or more often if you have the budget.
70 – 79: Average to Good. This wine usually lacks much complexity and is generally simple in style. It may excel on one level but usually provides only a very basic expression of the grape, region or wine making. This is your weekday wine, wine for large parties, and generally a wine you’d open to go with everyday dinner – simple, no fuss wine.
Below 69: Below Average. This wine is a below average expression of the grape, region or wine making. This wine may have one or more faults. This is a wine you’d try only if it were the last bottle in the house during a snow storm. It’s a wine you wouldn’t recommend to a friend – even the friend that gave you the bottle (Ricky!).
A wine’s standard retail price in the U.S. (i.e., what I paid for it).
Importer or Distributor
Wine you buy through retail outlets in the U.S. is supplied by distributors who purchase wine from producers within and outside of the U.S. Knowing who imports and distributes a wine can help you track down where a wine is being sold.
Take a photo of the distributor’s name on the back of “that” bottle you enjoyed in a restaurant and Google the distributor to find the retail shops where they sell the wine you loved. Because Wine Casual often purchases bottles directly from wineries, distributor information may not always be provided.
Tasting Location & Date
Where you enjoy a wine can impact on how you perceive and ultimately rate it. It’s hard not to enjoy a wine when it’s being poured by a winemaker at her winery, next to a lake on a sunny fall afternoon while you’re wearing your favorite red t-shirt and pair of jeans.
Reviewing a wine at a large tasting event or at a winery often results in a tasting note that is shorter and more compact. In most cases, a wine that is tasted and evaluated at home is given the most thorough review and consideration and is usually evaluated over a 1-2 day period so I can taste the wine when it is both fresh out of the bottle and also after it has been given time to breathe. So you know in what type of setting a wine was tasted and rated, this tasting location info is provided along with the tasting date.
One Final Note
Wines are not tasted blind (i.e., I know what wines I’m tasting), but rest assured that duty will be one of my butler’s top responsibilities should I ever sell one of those cutesy domain names I bought back in the early 2000s for a couple of million one day (I’m looking at you FriendSurround.com!).