The zenith of score inflation?

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bweimer
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The zenith of score inflation?

#1 Post by bweimer » November 20th, 2020, 10:03 am

The top 22 wines in James Suckling's Top 100 Wines of 2020 are 100 pointers. There are more 100 pointers in the list but I didn't have the patience to go through the entire list.

https://www.jamessuckling.com/wine-tast ... ines-2020/
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#2 Post by Jeff Rosenberg » November 20th, 2020, 10:49 am

James who?

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#3 Post by Dennis Borczon » November 20th, 2020, 12:07 pm

Only 22? Damn he must be tightening up.

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#4 Post by Rauno E (NZ) » November 20th, 2020, 12:37 pm

So... if there were more than 22 100 pointers, how did he select the top 22?
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#5 Post by bweimer » November 20th, 2020, 12:38 pm

You got me there. I just noticed the wine in 100th place was a 98 pointer.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#6 Post by D@ve D y r 0 f f » November 20th, 2020, 12:45 pm

I'm going to start a wine rating service. Send me two bottles of any wine you make and/or sell and I'll open one and rate it and you can publish the rating however you like to help move your product. For your trouble, I guarantee all wines will be rated at least 99 points!

* All wines will be scored to the nearest .01 points...

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#7 Post by J. Rock » November 20th, 2020, 12:59 pm

Rauno E (NZ) wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 12:37 pm
So... if there were more than 22 100 pointers, how did he select the top 22?
Typically these lists consider value, availability, and possible even an "x factor," in addition to quality.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#8 Post by JBrochu » November 20th, 2020, 1:42 pm

How many points did Suckling give Neil Young?
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#9 Post by Robert Sand » November 20th, 2020, 2:09 pm

I´m not sure, but the 1st red wine from France is 61st place? (ridiculous)
A German wine is 2nd (not that I´m sad about that ...)

I never did care much about JS - but when friends served me a wine with xxx Suckling points I have to say:
usually they were not bad - but usually not exciting either ... so what?
I would never give anything about S-points ...

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#10 Post by John Morris » November 20th, 2020, 4:49 pm

bweimer wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 10:03 am
The top 22 wines in James Suckling's Top 100 Wines of 2020 are 100 pointers. There are more 100 pointers in the list but I didn't have the patience to go through the entire list.

https://www.jamessuckling.com/wine-tast ... ines-2020/
He gave 98 points or more to 100 wines:
And all the children are above average
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#11 Post by Mark Henderson » November 20th, 2020, 9:02 pm

Without going back to the article, I seem to remember a comment that the wines had to score at least 98pts to make the Top 100.

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#12 Post by PeterH » November 20th, 2020, 9:47 pm

The only thing I can tell from a Suckling score is the degree to which he thought it was to his advantage to like the wine.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#13 Post by John Ammons » November 20th, 2020, 10:49 pm

If he likes a young Argentina Pinot all of 100 points, I wonder what he'd think of a mature Red Burg that's showing particularly well.

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#14 Post by R Scott Hughes » November 21st, 2020, 3:46 am

Here on WB and any other place you find oenophiles, Suckling is pretty much a running joke. I am somewhat surprised that we even waste mindshare discussing him anymore - but we do. That being said, if his goal is self-enrichment (as opposed to being a respected reviewer of wines), then his approach is pure genius. Just like the ratings agencies that found they got a lot more business by being generous reviewers of bonds (and hence were able to make more money and helped to crash the economy in the aughts ), JS likely has an endless stream of winemakers seeking out his scores. You and I and pretty much everyone else here on WB knows that his numbers are inflated and useless, it becomes a positive feedback loop for him. The more often casual wine drinkers see his name, the stronger his brand becomes. And because the little wine ratings tags at the supermarket and local wine store matter and really do help move wine, the more wine he helps to move which gives winemakers more incentive to seek out a JS score. If I lacked shame but had a flair for self promotion, I would absolutely take JS's approach.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#15 Post by Robert M yers » November 21st, 2020, 5:35 am

What did Luca and Wilfred give them?

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#16 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 21st, 2020, 6:03 am

R Scott Hughes wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 3:46 am
Here on WB and any other place you find oenophiles, Suckling is pretty much a running joke. I am somewhat surprised that we even waste mindshare discussing him anymore - but we do. That being said, if his goal is self-enrichment (as opposed to being a respected reviewer of wines), then his approach is pure genius. Just like the ratings agencies that found they got a lot more business by being generous reviewers of bonds (and hence were able to make more money and helped to crash the economy in the aughts ), JS likely has an endless stream of winemakers seeking out his scores. You and I and pretty much everyone else here on WB knows that his numbers are inflated and useless, it becomes a positive feedback loop for him. The more often casual wine drinkers see his name, the stronger his brand becomes. And because the little wine ratings tags at the supermarket and local wine store matter and really do help move wine, the more wine he helps to move which gives winemakers more incentive to seek out a JS score. If I lacked shame but had a flair for self promotion, I would absolutely take JS's approach.
Reading Michael Lewis’ book, I understood that the ratings agencies weren’t kind to boost income, but too damned stupid to understand what was going on.

I am sorry to say that Suckling has completely crapped on his brand. He is the critic’s equivalent of Crying Wolf.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#17 Post by John Glas » November 21st, 2020, 7:31 am

Usually if James gives a wine 92 points I might buy it. The wine will be more balanced and lower than 14% alcohol.

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#18 Post by John Glas » November 21st, 2020, 7:32 am

I'm going to start a wine rating service. Send me two bottles of any wine you make and/or sell and I'll open one and rate it and you can publish the rating however you like to help move your product. For your trouble, I guarantee all wines will be rated at least 99 points!
I will cover Bordeaux and Burgundy for you!

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#19 Post by Ian Sutton » November 21st, 2020, 8:55 am

Suckling is simply playing the game. High scores get him mentions and in the good books of producers. I'm sure he can milk it for a few years yet and presumably already has himself a comfortable lifestyle.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#20 Post by J D o v e » November 21st, 2020, 5:08 pm

Mark Golodetz wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:03 am
R Scott Hughes wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 3:46 am
Here on WB and any other place you find oenophiles, Suckling is pretty much a running joke. I am somewhat surprised that we even waste mindshare discussing him anymore - but we do. That being said, if his goal is self-enrichment (as opposed to being a respected reviewer of wines), then his approach is pure genius. Just like the ratings agencies that found they got a lot more business by being generous reviewers of bonds (and hence were able to make more money and helped to crash the economy in the aughts ), JS likely has an endless stream of winemakers seeking out his scores. You and I and pretty much everyone else here on WB knows that his numbers are inflated and useless, it becomes a positive feedback loop for him. The more often casual wine drinkers see his name, the stronger his brand becomes. And because the little wine ratings tags at the supermarket and local wine store matter and really do help move wine, the more wine he helps to move which gives winemakers more incentive to seek out a JS score. If I lacked shame but had a flair for self promotion, I would absolutely take JS's approach.
Reading Michael Lewis’ book, I understood that the ratings agencies weren’t kind to boost income, but too damned stupid to understand what was going on.

I am sorry to say that Suckling has completely crapped on his brand. He is the critic’s equivalent of Crying Wolf.
Yeah, But don’t under estimate the number of people who buy $100 a bottle wine and don’t know or care a damn thing about wine or critics.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#21 Post by blarmston » November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm

People on this board love to hate on this guy. But I bet 98% of y’all secretly wish to be him.

He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines. Has a much better life than probably 98% of the folks on here.

If you think he’s a shitty reviewer, don’t read his reviews. If you think he inflates his scores to land lucrative business deals, don’t read his reviews. If you think he sucks up to winemakers for access, don’t read his reviews.

But some of the comments suggest there’s envy, jealousy, etc involved. It’s not a good look.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#22 Post by Dan Hammer » November 21st, 2020, 7:25 pm

The #1 wine on the list has just one so-so note on Cellartracker.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#23 Post by Charlie Carnes » November 22nd, 2020, 4:42 am

blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm
People on this board love to hate on this guy. But I bet 98% of y’all secretly wish to be him.

He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines. Has a much better life than probably 98% of the folks on here.

If you think he’s a shitty reviewer, don’t read his reviews. If you think he inflates his scores to land lucrative business deals, don’t read his reviews. If you think he sucks up to winemakers for access, don’t read his reviews.

But some of the comments suggest there’s envy, jealousy, etc involved. It’s not a good look.
Goodness forbid, we discuss wine score inflation on a site that is named WINE Berserkers. Brian, this is the perfect place to discuss critical score inflation. Critics need to be checked too. Some of the best, most well read, and experienced palates anywhere reside here.
So shines a good deed in a weary world!

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#24 Post by Dennis Borczon » November 22nd, 2020, 4:51 am

blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm
People on this board love to hate on this guy. But I bet 98% of y’all secretly wish to be him.

He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines. Has a much better life than probably 98% of the folks on here.

If you think he’s a shitty reviewer, don’t read his reviews. If you think he inflates his scores to land lucrative business deals, don’t read his reviews. If you think he sucks up to winemakers for access, don’t read his reviews.

But some of the comments suggest there’s envy, jealousy, etc involved. It’s not a good look.
He does live in Tuscany

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#25 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 22nd, 2020, 5:09 am

blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm
People on this board love to hate on this guy. But I bet 98% of y’all secretly wish to be him.

He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines. Has a much better life than probably 98% of the folks on here.

If you think he’s a shitty reviewer, don’t read his reviews. If you think he inflates his scores to land lucrative business deals, don’t read his reviews. If you think he sucks up to winemakers for access, don’t read his reviews.

But some of the comments suggest there’s envy, jealousy, etc involved. It’s not a good look.
“What profiteth a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul”
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#26 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » November 22nd, 2020, 5:13 am

Charlie Carnes wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 4:42 am
blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm
People on this board love to hate on this guy. But I bet 98% of y’all secretly wish to be him.

He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines. Has a much better life than probably 98% of the folks on here.

If you think he’s a shitty reviewer, don’t read his reviews. If you think he inflates his scores to land lucrative business deals, don’t read his reviews. If you think he sucks up to winemakers for access, don’t read his reviews.

But some of the comments suggest there’s envy, jealousy, etc involved. It’s not a good look.
Goodness forbid, we discuss wine score inflation on a site that is named WINE Berserkers. Brian, this is the perfect place to discuss critical score inflation. Critics need to be checked too. Some of the best, most well read, and experienced palates anywhere reside here.
No kidding. I’ve thought this guy a fool since way back in the days when he wrote for the Wine Spincter and was less famous. He’s one of the primary reasons why I dropped my subscription like around 1999/2000, if I’m recalling dates correctly. I do envy his hair and Hermes scarves, however.

The post did make my chuckle though as I immediately started rapping one of me all-time faves:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/genius.com ... two-lyrics






PS. Now MarkG gonna be pissed that I wove rap into this tasting note! F*ck.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on November 22nd, 2020, 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#27 Post by Mattstolz » November 22nd, 2020, 6:49 am

one thing I will say is I think it makes sense that their 100 pointers are at the top of the list at least. I never understand how a publication can give out 100 point scores during the year that DONT make their top 100 list. there's some cognitive dissonance going on when your number 1 wine got 94 points from you in the same year

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#28 Post by RichardFlack » November 22nd, 2020, 10:57 am

Has any one done any analysis to see if his scores affect prices , compared to say Parker scores? I’d suspect that, on other than mass market wines, he has little price effect. If so is his business model actually successful.

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#29 Post by GregT » November 22nd, 2020, 11:18 am

Dennis Borczon wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 4:51 am
blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm
People on this board love to hate on this guy. But I bet 98% of y’all secretly wish to be him.

He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines. Has a much better life than probably 98% of the folks on here.

If you think he’s a shitty reviewer, don’t read his reviews. If you think he inflates his scores to land lucrative business deals, don’t read his reviews. If you think he sucks up to winemakers for access, don’t read his reviews.

But some of the comments suggest there’s envy, jealousy, etc involved. It’s not a good look.
He does live in Tuscany
Hong Kong these days. And he doesn't really care what people on WB think of him because he has thousands of followers who attend his events.

Blarmston is right - the guy is living a nice life, has a good time, and gets to taste any wine in the world. And seriously, what's the difference between him and anyone else?

Look at the prices people on this board will pay for a new Napa release that's good, but just another ripe, well-made, big wine that isn't going to improve much over the years. To some people price really matters and rather than pay $50 for an interesting wine, they'll pay $450 for a Veblen wine.

And then others will pay the same for a Burgundy that they couldn't identify blind, but the label matters so much because suddenly they can talk about the soil and the history.

Suckling's followers typically don't pay those kinds of prices and they have just as much fun.

I have no trouble with any approach, as it's a person's right to do as he wishes, and I really don't care too much about the scores from Suckling or anyone else, but surely there's some irony in criticizing his approach.

Now that I'm done with that, what exactly is a Suckling score these days?

He has two or three other people doing reviews, so is it like a 100 from Parker that really came from Dr. Jay? And at least according to the photos, they make no pretense of blind tasting.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#30 Post by Mike Kuller » November 22nd, 2020, 11:36 am

A couple of years ago I stopped at Total Wines and did their 5 cent wine tasting.

There were a few under $20 wines that Suckling had given 92 points to (maybe Amici wines were being featured).

I asked the wine pourer how these marginal tasting wines got such high scores from him. She informed me that he tastes his wines in price point groups - so the $20 wines are tasted against other $20 wines.

So these were good enough in that group to get 92 pts. - and to put it on the shelf label ads for the wines.

The point scores are meaningless then - two different wines with a 92pt score in different price ranges would have very different scores on an absolute scale. Seems he's doing this for the wine makers and not so much the consumers.

Of course Parker has retired so what do the RP scores mean?

And Wine Spectator has had a change of tasters - I liked Laube - but don't know the others.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#31 Post by Scott G r u n e r » November 22nd, 2020, 11:59 am

blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm


He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines.
I am not internationally known, but I am known to rock the microphone.

Kim kardashian is also rich and famous. doesn’t mean she has tastes that align to my own.
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#32 Post by Mike Kuller » November 22nd, 2020, 12:23 pm

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 11:59 am
blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm


He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines.
I am not internationally known, but I am known to rock the microphone.

Kim kardashian is also rich and famous. doesn’t mean she has tastes that align to my own.
Are you saying JS is the Kim Kardashian of wine raters?

[rofl.gif]
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#33 Post by RichardFlack » November 22nd, 2020, 1:36 pm

Mike Kuller wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 12:23 pm
Scott G r u n e r wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 11:59 am
blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm


He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines.
I am not internationally known, but I am known to rock the microphone.

Kim kardashian is also rich and famous. doesn’t mean she has tastes that align to my own.
Are you saying JS is the Kim Kardashian of wine raters?

[rofl.gif]
No, Kim Kardashian is the Suckling of influencers. [rofl.gif]

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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#34 Post by Jon H » November 22nd, 2020, 4:06 pm

Mike Kuller wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 11:36 am
A couple of years ago I stopped at Total Wines and did their 5 cent wine tasting.

There were a few under $20 wines that Suckling had given 92 points to (maybe Amici wines were being featured).

I asked the wine pourer how these marginal tasting wines got such high scores from him. She informed me that he tastes his wines in price point groups - so the $20 wines are tasted against other $20 wines.

So these were good enough in that group to get 92 pts. - and to put it on the shelf label ads for the wines.

The point scores are meaningless then - two different wines with a 92pt score in different price ranges would have very different scores on an absolute scale. Seems he's doing this for the wine makers and not so much the consumers.

Of course Parker has retired so what do the RP scores mean?

And Wine Spectator has had a change of tasters - I liked Laube - but don't know the others.
As much as I dislike Suckling’s scores, there’s some validity to the approach in terms of aiding the consumer. But only if it’s clear how he’s doing his scoring, which it is not. He should really issue two scores if he’s going to take this approach... the first being an absolute score and the second being a QPR score
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#35 Post by Kent Comley » November 22nd, 2020, 4:45 pm

Interesting, just a normal distribution I assume?

Nice to see somw good Aussies on the list, but no Burgundies?
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#36 Post by Mike Kuller » November 22nd, 2020, 5:11 pm

Jon H wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 4:06 pm
Mike Kuller wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 11:36 am
A couple of years ago I stopped at Total Wines and did their 5 cent wine tasting.

There were a few under $20 wines that Suckling had given 92 points to (maybe Amici wines were being featured).

I asked the wine pourer how these marginal tasting wines got such high scores from him. She informed me that he tastes his wines in price point groups - so the $20 wines are tasted against other $20 wines.

So these were good enough in that group to get 92 pts. - and to put it on the shelf label ads for the wines.

The point scores are meaningless then - two different wines with a 92pt score in different price ranges would have very different scores on an absolute scale. Seems he's doing this for the wine makers and not so much the consumers.

Of course Parker has retired so what do the RP scores mean?

And Wine Spectator has had a change of tasters - I liked Laube - but don't know the others.
As much as I dislike Suckling’s scores, there’s some validity to the approach in terms of aiding the consumer. But only if it’s clear how he’s doing his scoring, which it is not. He should really issue two scores if he’s going to take this approach... the first being an absolute score and the second being a QPR score
85/92?
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Re: The zenith of score inflation?

#37 Post by blarmston » November 22nd, 2020, 5:23 pm

Scott G r u n e r wrote:
November 22nd, 2020, 11:59 am
blarmston wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 6:28 pm


He’s internationally known, respected in some circles (not here though, bunch of haters), most likely does well financially, travels the world, drinks amazing wines.
I am not internationally known, but I am known to rock the microphone.



Kim kardashian is also rich and famous. doesn’t mean she has tastes that align to my own.
Nicely done with the Rakim quote
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