Help Me Understand A Wine Critic: Antonio Galloni (Vinous)

Significant? Two points on a new release wine seems pretty negligible to me. My problem with these guys is that they universally seem to love everything, every style. Some of the wines you highlight are really quite modern, and in many vintages, quite overdone, yet they love them just as much as they appear to love the more classic wines, say like Lalande. That Valandraud has 15.5% ABV. Perhaps the hot vintage has marred the styles. I bet if you had Gilman try these wines, the points displacement would be huge.


There is nobody better on Italy, and particularly Piedmont.
Yes, he gives 100 point scores. But so far, I have agreed with the vast majority of these or at least understood the logic behind them. I could never say the same about Parker.
He’s also probably the best on champagne. I don’t really look to him for Bordeaux though, where I think Neal Martin is more consistently on the mark for my taste.

As Meadows never saw a Burgundy he didn’t like (according to his scores), Galloni never met a Piemonte he didn’t score with gusto. Think he gets the main points of the wine and expresses it well, but subtract 3-4 points from his scores for realism.

The criticism of Galloni’s scoring (or that of any other critic’s) amuses me. I know this is beating a dead horse but scores are merely a reflection of a critic’s enthusiasm for the wine. Scores just give you an idea of whether they were ambivalent on a wine, liked it, loved it or thought it was epic. Subtract what you think will get you to those categories for you, but its just an impression not a science.


I think this is well said. Galloni’s palate matches well with my own and I like what he has done in California.


The recent dust up with payment for advance notices of scoring has made it a huge negative for me. To not see this as anti-subscriber/consumer is a colossal blind spot. Especially coming from the Parker era Advocate he has got to know that this is something that Parker would have never condoned. Whatever his palate preferences, he did try to maintain a certain integrity with keeping retailers and producers at some arms length.

Have you ever read a note of his that was critical of a wine?

Take a look at his scores of Bruno Giacosa wines since 2007…

Here is a note of an Arnot Roberts Zin that I was looking at not long ago:

The 2019 Zinfandel Kirschenmann is an exotic wine. There is something about the balance I find awkward. It’s as if the wine’s ripeness (a bit higher than in the past) is in conflict with the 100% stems. The flavors are at once ripe and vegetal. Perhaps time in bottle will bring out a greater sense of harmony. For now, the Kirschenmann is an unusually disjointed wine.

Not sure if that is critical enough, but it dissuaded me from this wine.

Dude, please. Wine has alcohol in it. That’s why is gets an 80 by virtue of simply being poured into a glass and assuming the shape of its container.

You all have more experience than I do on the relativism of the scores. The point I was trying to make is two points between someone’s highest and lowest score — same person should have a meaning that they are trying to convey; especially if they give scores that are generally between 5 points from low to high. Two points on a five or ten point relatively narrow scale (90-99 or 94-99 feels like it would be significant an an absolute basis and if one were to chart it as a percentage basis. On a five-point scale, two points is two+ standard deviations from the mean.

For my palate on a wine that I am familiar with, especially within a varietal that I know pretty well. A one point difference in score is significant specially as the the wine gets higher in score between 95-100 points within the same reviewers. Across reviewers that would be more challenging.

For me the value of the score is relative understanding of the reviewer for the same wine different vintages, different wines within the same vintner, different vintners in the same region for the same varietal. It’s a datapoint that if titrated to ones own palate may have meaning to some people.

Not sure why wine would be any different than restaurant ratings… and many times the cost of wine is higher than the cost of a meal a good restaurant. There only so many wines that one can have in the cellar before the cellar is like a wine hoarding bin as physical space, time, money, and capacity to drink wine is finite. (Thanks for your tips on the style of the wine — that to me was worth gold in your comments.).

For me, that the type of information I was hoping to pick up in the responses to the topic, so thank you!

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Here are some–

2013 Aldo Conterno Cicala:

“Searing tannins dominate in the 2013 Barolo Cicala, another anonymous Barolo from Aldo Conterno that says nothing about the personality of this Monforte site. There is good depth and persistence in the glass, but I am not sure that is a good thing, as the elements of the wine that are persistent are not at all pleasant.”

2013 Aldo Conterno Colonnello:

“Sweet oak, dark cherry and mocha are pushed forward in the 2013 Barolo Colonnello, a monolithic, wine with little in the way of Nebbiolo character or site expression. The 2013 has plenty of power and depth, but the tannins are just too coarse. Conterno’s Colonello is usually much more polished than this. It’s hard to find any real pleasure in this dark, oaky Barolo.”

This is exactly my problem with Galloni. Not far off from Suckling and Parker, he rates highly both modern and traditional styles. When I ready his descriptions I often have trouble knowing if a wine or more the former or latter. So for me he is not terribly useful. I used to occasionally look to him in Tuscany and Piedmont, but had a few misses that have slowly turned me more and more away.


Uh, but we’ve been led to believe that the 100 point scale is a scientifically endowed platform of measurement, stated so by RMP himself. What use is a “number impression” if that is all it is? So…use less in other words.

I actually find it helpful. Only fools (and maybe RMP is a fool) think that the 100 point scale is an objective and literal translation of the enjoyability of the wine. For the rest of us, it is just a symbolic representation of how well the taster liked the wine. It is no different than “thumbs up”, 4 stars out of five, or words like awful, good and great.

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It’s interesting to see these and the one that Tom quoted. I see his reviews in retailer’s mailings, so naturally I see only the rapturous ones. Good on him for dissing some wines.

As I recall, Giacosa and A. Conterno are properties where I don’t believe he’s been allowed to taste for some years. When were those 2013 Conterno notes published? On release?

Where did RMP state it was “scientific”?

Do I have to pay $2K a month to read this thread?

You mean Suckling? newhere [rofl.gif]

Sh@n - Do you remember that you posed the same question last year? And that many of the same people responded? [wink.gif]

Wine critic palate guide (2020)

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