CellarTracker scores by region

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JBucholz
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CellarTracker scores by region

#1 Post by JBucholz » August 17th, 2019, 7:50 am

I suspect like most of us, I don’t always get a chance to taste a wine before making a purchase. One of the checks I make before pulling the trigger on a particular wine is the CellarTracker score. I find that if there are more than just a handful of people that have rated the wine, it provides a decent “gut check” that helps inform my purchase. I tend to look at not only the score for the particular vintage, but also the pedigree demonstrated by prior vintages.

One thing I have noticed though, is that I have to make adjustments for region. In particular, I’ve discovered that aficionados of Paso Robles wines tend to overrate the wines from that region. Has anyone else noticed this? Has anyone else found other regions that tend to get higher or lower scores from the CellarTracker community?

Just curious.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#2 Post by Michael Martin » August 17th, 2019, 7:59 am

Overrated compared to what?

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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#3 Post by A. So » August 17th, 2019, 8:01 am

JBucholz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 7:50 am
One of the checks I make before pulling the trigger on a particular wine is the CellarTracker score.
Well, that's your mistake right there.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#4 Post by Greg K » August 17th, 2019, 8:12 am

Scores are mostly meaningless, but once you identify people on CellarTracker whose palates you either align with to an extent or mostly disagree with, those reviews can be really helpful. A number of people on this forum fall into both camps for me. I wouldn’t buy half a case solely on that basis, but trying a bottle or two or deciding when to open a bottle? Sure.
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josh bryer
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#5 Post by josh bryer » August 17th, 2019, 8:15 am

A. So wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 8:01 am
JBucholz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 7:50 am
One of the checks I make before pulling the trigger on a particular wine is the CellarTracker score.
Well, that's your mistake right there.
Though I don’t rely on scores from CT, I do absolutely find the notes helpful in these cases, especially from certain posters who I generally know either line up with me or are generally competent and even. Just another data point when purchasing a wine or vintage of a wine that I haven’t tasted.

Of course there’s always the notes that are patently unhelpful “Drank with Bethany at Dorsia, great Sea Urchin Ceviche” which are always easy to ignore, and also the tasters who clearly are ummm questionable, but those are generally easy to filter out.

I agree that the scores are generally so all over the place and uncalibrated that they mean almost nothing when taken as an unfiltered group.

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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#6 Post by Mattstolz » August 17th, 2019, 10:33 am

i almost made a post the other day to ask how and if people tend to use CT scores in their purchasing decisions. i think CT is immensely helpful when im wondering if certain wines are good buys. im learning as i go but definitely a few things ive picked up along the way:

who's reviewing the wine matters. i dont know that ive noticed it so much region by region, but like others noted, my palate aligns much more with some than others and theyre all on CT rating wines.

especially for back vintage, review trends are good to see. if its a 2000 Barolo rated 90.3 but all the reviews in the last two years have been 93+, i feel like thats a plus.

the actual note is much more helpful than the score. we've all seen the "great wine! 86pts" as well as the "way out of balance. 93pts"

my least favorite is the person who bought a case last year, drank 10 bottles within 3 months of each other, and complained about them all being too young.

overall though, i use CT a lot more when i maybe have a group of wines in mind and need to whittle it down to the couple or one i can purchase. at that point i use the notes more than the score itself typically.

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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#7 Post by GregT » August 17th, 2019, 10:46 am

There are lots of posts and threads regarding CT.

But this is the first I recall where someone asked about regional bias.

My guess just from personal experience is that people tend to rate their "local" wines higher than others. That's just from conversations over the years though, and not any statistical analysis of CT or anything else.

But I understand it because often they've become familiar with the wineries and if they're passionate wine people, they've gotten to know some of the producers and people and consequently they're often, but not always, gentle with their reviews.

And then separately there is sort of a crowd mentality where if one person says a wine is good another says it's great and another says it's magnificent and another talks about what a wonderful down to earth person the wine maker is. Those aren't necessarily regional though. There have been a few of those discussed on this board in the past few weeks.

But in life there's often balance. So you can usually find someone to even things out who says the wine is shit.

Then you have to decide whether to believe the naysayers or the fanboys and you've come full circle, forced to rely on your own judgment.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#8 Post by Cris Whetstone » August 17th, 2019, 2:10 pm

Of course some people rate their favorite region better than others. Some people also rate their favorite producers higher than others of similar quality. Some will rate wines from certain nations or states better than the others. Some have been vocal about such things. Some people rate wines of certain importer cache better than others. Also things like styles and trends.

Those things should surprise anyone. People love broadcasting their certain biases that way for everything. Not only wine. Some do it because of honestly held beliefs. Some do it to cheer-lead. Some do it out of negativity. Some do it to make a point, no matter how petty.

Using average scores without examining the notes can be quite fruitless because of those things. Especially when you account for their being widely disparate numbers of notes and scores for different wines and vintages. Following some tasters your palate aligns with can help alleviate some of that noise. But you need to be able to read notes and trends within to really make CT useful for buying decisions.
Last edited by Cris Whetstone on August 17th, 2019, 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#9 Post by Mattstolz » August 17th, 2019, 2:40 pm

I think theres something to what you're saying though. I could see fans of a place like Burgundy who think they need to rate more strictly because it makes them look more concerning, or something along those lines. maybe a bunch of hip young somms tasted a bunch of natural wines from Jura and couldn't stop raving about their lack of sulfur. etc.

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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#10 Post by GregT » August 17th, 2019, 2:58 pm

Mattstolz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 2:40 pm
I think theres something to what you're saying though. I could see fans of a place like Burgundy who think they need to rate more strictly because it makes them look more concerning, or something along those lines. maybe a bunch of hip young somms tasted a bunch of natural wines from Jura and couldn't stop raving about their lack of sulfur. etc.
Yep.

Burgundy is the most interesting. I have never been to a tasting of Burgundies where there isn't someone who is lamenting the fact that it isn't quite ready yet and it's a bit closed but boy you can really see where it's going, or alternatively, lamenting the fact that it's just a bit past but boy you can really tell where it was. And they often score on potential, or what they see as potential, or what they figure was the past glory.

Basically though, I think this covers the subject:
People love broadcasting their certain biases that way for everything. Not only wine. Some do it because of honestly held beliefs. Some do it to cheer-lead. Some do it out of negativity. Some do it to make a point, no matter how petty.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#11 Post by J.Vizuete » August 17th, 2019, 3:09 pm

I’ve used CT consistently for quite a few years in the way described by the OP and I think it is a helpful resource for many but not all purchases.

I perceive more than a little hubris from those who suggest that taking the opinion of others into consideration when purchasing an unknown commodity is a fool’s errand. Of course there are useless reviews out there, and bad tasters as well. I also recognize that many if not most wines on CTdon’t have a large enough sample size to be statistically valid. But, if you’re familiar with the app, you take that into account. If I’m looking at two unfamiliar chenin blancs from South Africa at the same price point and each has only 10 notes/scores but one is an 86.5 and the other is a 92... Not to mention the feature of average price paid by people who have logged the wine (quite often hundreds of bottles). If my store has it for a great deal more or less than average, that too helps me make decisions.

As far as trends and biases in notes go, I have observed a few:

1. Newer vintages are generally scored better than their predecessors. Look at averages of your favorite wines around 1995-2005 and you’ll note that current releases are more often scored higher.

2. Expensive wines are scored higher. It’s a different discussion of human psychology altogether, but I think this bias is revealed numerically pretty often on CT

3. Yes, there is regional bias. Boutique Napa cabs tend to do great. Same for Paso. I buy a few Carter and Maybach wines each year, but readily admit the region is overscored. The same might be said for modern/international wines in general compared to classically styled ones.

4. Rhône wines and older Bordeaux (especially for “classic” or widely distributed bottlings) are significany more reliable. This is especially helpful when looking for deals in less than top vintages (83, 88, etc). Conversely, using CT for Burgundy is a total crapshoot and rarely helpful with so many bottlings, small producers, etc. I think Burgundy is underscored relative to other regions, despite price.

I think the thing to remember is that in isolation, a 99 point wine on CT is not necessary better than an 89 for your palate. If you know your preferences, it’s a frequently a great tool to differentiate apples from apples
Last edited by J.Vizuete on August 17th, 2019, 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#12 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld » August 17th, 2019, 4:39 pm

Scores can matter, when provided by others whose tastes you have calibrated to. Having probably spent hundreds of hours scouring CT over the years, I find that as a region, Burgundy scores seem to be more conservative. The flip side of that is I find Napa cabs tend to be scored higher than I might expect, based on my personal taste.

My hypothesis is that the burg drinkers are more experienced and therefore less likely to flippantly score a wine high, while many Napa types are new to collecting (not always the case, of course), and may be more prone to score that Caymus 96 points.

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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#13 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » August 17th, 2019, 4:49 pm

A. So wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 8:01 am
JBucholz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 7:50 am
One of the checks I make before pulling the trigger on a particular wine is the CellarTracker score.
Well, that's your mistake right there.
I rely on your WB scores.

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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#14 Post by JBucholz » August 17th, 2019, 5:08 pm

Michael Martin wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 7:59 am
Overrated compared to what?
Good question... really. I guess when it comes right down to it it’s overrated compared to what I think is reasonable. I see far more 97 to 100 point awards by CT tasters to Paso wines than I see for *any* other region. Could it be that the wines really are that good? Could it be that an average Paso wine is consistently better than the average wines from Napa/Bordeaux/CdP, etc.? Sure. But when I taste them, I find that the average scores are consistently above what I believe ought to be awarded. I find this to be true for Paso wines far more than for any other region. YMMV.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#15 Post by JBucholz » August 17th, 2019, 5:16 pm

A. So wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 8:01 am
JBucholz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 7:50 am
One of the checks I make before pulling the trigger on a particular wine is the CellarTracker score.
Well, that's your mistake right there.
Maybe. But for me, I find that if a wine has garnered a sufficient number of random tasters/raters it tends to find a equilibrium score that I can use to mentally figure a QPR range for the wine. I typically go first to tasters that I respect and that match my palate, but in the absence of that CT scores have worked well for me.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#16 Post by JBucholz » August 17th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 2:10 pm
Of course some people rate their favorite region better than others. Some people also rate their favorite producers higher than others of similar quality. Some will rate wines from certain nations or states better than the others. Some have been vocal about such things. Some people rate wines of certain importer cache better than others. Also things like styles and trends.

Those things should surprise anyone. People love broadcasting their certain biases that way for everything. Not only wine. Some do it because of honestly held beliefs. Some do it to cheer-lead. Some do it out of negativity. Some do it to make a point, no matter how petty.

Using average scores without examining the notes can be quite fruitless because of those things. Especially when you account for their being widely disparate numbers of notes and scores for different wines and vintages. Following some tasters your palate aligns with can help alleviate some of that noise. But you need to be able to read notes and trends within to really make CT useful for buying decisions.
I don’t disagree with your post here, but I’m mainly responding to say that I remember you from r.s.bb and r.s.b.f from more than twenty years ago. How time flies!
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#17 Post by JBucholz » August 17th, 2019, 5:34 pm

J.Vizuete wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 3:09 pm
Of course there are useless reviews out there, and bad tasters as well. I also recognize that most wines don’t have a large enough sample size to be statistically valid. But, if you’re familiar with the app, you take that into account. If I’m looking at two unfamiliar chenin blancs from South Africa at the same price point and each has only 10 notes/scores but one is an 86.5 and the other is a 92... Not to mention the feature of average price paid by people who have logged the wine (quite often hundreds of bottles). If my store has it for a great deal more or less than average, that too helps me make decisions.
This is exactly how I use it. Thanks for doing a better job of explaining it than I did.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#18 Post by A. So » August 17th, 2019, 8:17 pm

Tom G l a s g o w wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 4:49 pm
A. So wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 8:01 am
JBucholz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 7:50 am
One of the checks I make before pulling the trigger on a particular wine is the CellarTracker score.
Well, that's your mistake right there.
I rely on your WB scores.
Those are more valuable than the notes.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#19 Post by Greg K » August 17th, 2019, 10:08 pm

GregT wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 2:58 pm
Mattstolz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 2:40 pm
I think theres something to what you're saying though. I could see fans of a place like Burgundy who think they need to rate more strictly because it makes them look more concerning, or something along those lines. maybe a bunch of hip young somms tasted a bunch of natural wines from Jura and couldn't stop raving about their lack of sulfur. etc.
Yep.

Burgundy is the most interesting. I have never been to a tasting of Burgundies where there isn't someone who is lamenting the fact that it isn't quite ready yet and it's a bit closed but boy you can really see where it's going, or alternatively, lamenting the fact that it's just a bit past but boy you can really tell where it was. And they often score on potential, or what they see as potential, or what they figure was the past glory.

Basically though, I think this covers the subject:
People love broadcasting their certain biases that way for everything. Not only wine. Some do it because of honestly held beliefs. Some do it to cheer-lead. Some do it out of negativity. Some do it to make a point, no matter how petty.
Hah! My ex-girlfriend used to complain that my “wine friends” and I would describe most of the wines we had as either not ready yet or just over the hill.
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Re: CellarTracker scores by region

#20 Post by Cris Whetstone » August 18th, 2019, 5:57 pm

JBucholz wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 5:27 pm
Cris Whetstone wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 2:10 pm
Of course some people rate their favorite region better than others. Some people also rate their favorite producers higher than others of similar quality. Some will rate wines from certain nations or states better than the others. Some have been vocal about such things. Some people rate wines of certain importer cache better than others. Also things like styles and trends.

Those things should surprise anyone. People love broadcasting their certain biases that way for everything. Not only wine. Some do it because of honestly held beliefs. Some do it to cheer-lead. Some do it out of negativity. Some do it to make a point, no matter how petty.

Using average scores without examining the notes can be quite fruitless because of those things. Especially when you account for their being widely disparate numbers of notes and scores for different wines and vintages. Following some tasters your palate aligns with can help alleviate some of that noise. But you need to be able to read notes and trends within to really make CT useful for buying decisions.
I don’t disagree with your post here, but I’m mainly responding to say that I remember you from r.s.bb and r.s.b.f from more than twenty years ago. How time flies!
:-o [shock.gif] [wow.gif]

OMG. You're THAT Jim Bucholz?!?! I thought the name sounded familiar but damn.

On a related note, I've bumped into Chris(tina) Kahrl on another hobby's forums. [cheers.gif]
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