Two of the less opinionated wine writers that I know have suggested that I watch “Blades of Glory.” It’s on the list. Their recommendation is based on the apparent similarities between characters in the film and those in the UK wine trade.
I’ve read two recent articles from two UK wine writers: Number One. And Number Two. Go back to them – links at the bottom. They’re both about points, and scoring wine from barrel. The most pertinent point is the inexact science of tasting from barrel and making a useful appraisal, one that buyers of said wines may or may not refer to when making a purchase. The more interesting point is the whole issue of scores. 99/100 or 19/20 and all that shebang.
Whilst watching the debate draw itself out on various media, this struck me: scoring a wine, a liquid that is, or can be, the gateway to sensual, intellectual and spiritual pleasure (as well as something that inebriates you), is not unlike scoring the act of love. Not only is the science inexact, the key performance indicators hard to grasp and impossible to measure, the very scoring of something so sublime rather denigrates the subject itself. And speaking of subjects, objectivity is an issue.
Well: it’s fair to say that we’ve all had our 100-pointers. This is where the scores actually do come in handy. Your 100-pointer rather defies description. I’ve tasted a few wines like this: words rather fail me for 2009 Latour, for instance. My little cry afterwards sums the wine up perfectly, as does the full 100. But, perfection aside, isn’t anything else a bit too subjective?
As with the act of love, isn’t so much of the pleasure of a seriously good bottle of wine, or even one less serious, as much to do with the moment and, even more, the company, as the act, or the bottle, itself?
There is a James Suckling “I’m 100 on that” joke here somewhere, but I can’t quite nail it down. At the same time, Clive Coates is whispering in my ear: “very fine plus”… Meanwhile, a few of the UK wine writers are shouting on twitter that: “you shouldn’t do it like that”.