Producers, where the critic's scores really don't matter, to you?

Personally, I’ve come to rely more on the overall range of, up to date, CT notes on a wine for the past 5 years and haven’t even subscribed to the likes of Burghound for over 5 years. And, my cellar, is burgundy dominated at 47%. One reason is that the TNs notes on producers I already trust really don’t effect my buying habits. The TNs and scores are fun antidote but really don’t guide me. For one thing, they’re written prior to or soon after release and I’m not likely to drink many in that time frame anyhow. I care more about how the wine is currently drinking as recorded by my fellow CT note takers.

Then there are producers like; Rousseau, Mugnier, Chevillon, Thivin, Billaud Simon and several others who produce reliably great wines vintage in vintage out except maybe in a terrible red burg vintage like '04. Then the only question is can I still afford the producer who may have gained to much cache in the last year or 3 like a Rousseau. Last night I had an 06 Chevillon Les Roncières that drank fantastic. I checked CT for any current drinking notes and it sounded like it was good to go at a solid 10+ years of btl age. Don’t know what the critics originally thought of the wine as I bought it down the line of a shelf and what the critics think of Chevillon really doesn’t matter as the wines seem to always out preform the scores and my expectations unless flawed.

One that I can think of is Daniel Dampt. I have never seen his wines reviewed.

Anything Mike Smith, Ed Kurtzman, Brian Loring or Thomas Brown.

Usually for producers I´m visiting regularily TN are of no relevance whatsoever … I simply trust my own palate and nose …

CT is kind of a problem … many different tastes, opinions, preferences, experiences, knowledges etc. melted together … most of them totally unknown to me … just take a look HERE on the board - how different opinions actually are … following these TN I would have bought a lot of wines I dislike … or NOT bought many wines I love … flirtysmile

… AND moreover the mean figure of many ratings doesn´t really tell anything … the individuality, the unique character of a specific wine gets lost completely when calculating the rating of a group (known or by accident …)

I read several publications of critics, I might take them into account - or not at all … but always find my own opinion among them …

I have some well-educated friends … I know their tastes … so their opinion has some value to me …

I think, with some due diligence, you can determine with some degree of reliability, which CT note writers to trust. Before taking only one or 2 taster’s notes into consideration Ill look at; what % of their cellar is dedicated to traditional vs modern wines, how large is their cellar, how much of it Burgundy ( if I’m looking at a burgundy) and of course the actual tasting note tells quite a bit. I don’t put any stock in someone just posting a score without a note unless they have a large cellar full of that particular wine or wines made in the same style. Then, I only pay some attention to their score. I’m bummed when people only post a score as that tells you very little. I’d rather have no score and a note that sounds reliable instead. For example, for me, a person with a 1000 plus btls and 80% of it Cali Cab opinion on a traditionally burgundy will be taken with a grain of salt. His note might be spot on but I won’t rely on it based on what his cellar mix is telling us about his sweet spot. I also think any note more than two years old is relatively old news. In 2017 I’m not trusting many notes older than mid 2016 and really preferring stuff from this year. Again from someone with a palate indicating a love of traditionally styled wines in my case. And if they seem to love and understand a certain region, all the better.


Love Dauvissat but its gotten expensive. I love Vajra which remains an outstanding value to boot. Produttori on my list too,

Craig - you way may be effective for you but for me it’s way too much work invested into the tastes of other people. It’s been many years since I bought a wine based on the review of any critic. For producers I know, I figure I know them as well as any critic at the moment. For those I don’t know, I want to find out for myself, as a large part of the enjoyment of wine is learning and exploring. Having tried everyone on the list above, it’s not a review that’s going to make me buy or not.

I suppose I paid more attention to critics ~ 15 years ago, where I’d buy the annual books by leading Aussie and NZ critics (my main interest back then). Never chasing the high pointers, but back then a little too easily led to thinking that a high score equated to a wine I should like.

These days I don’t mind reading opinions, be they critics, forumites or CT users, but they are just opinions.

I think everyone develops some favourites over time, wines where the critics’ opinions are of no relevance whatsoever. Some examples where we’d buy pretty much irrespective of other opinions:

  • Chateau Fuisse
  • Ch. Musar
  • Foradori
  • Antoniolo
  • Lopez L de Heredia
  • Bests
  • Drei Dona
  • San Patrignano
  • Burlotto
  • F Pinon


  • Ch. Lamartine Cahors
  • Wynns Coonawarra Black label Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Hauner Hiera
  • Te Mata Elston
  • Selvapiana Bucerchiale Chianti
  • Schiavenza SV Barolo

I think we agree. My use of CT is not so much for buying a new release wine but rather to decide when to open wines. Although, i may make a buying decision on buying an older wine from the 90s or older based on how well it was reviewed recently on CT. I’m pretty analytical so I don’t mind digging through some CT data though :slight_smile:.

These wines I go geek on, I do not look at all at critic’s ratings and some are not even covered with any regularity. I generally will only pay attention to vintage, but even then, some of these distinct producers still produce quality and interesting wines in tough vintages. I tend to like variances in vintages.

Some of these producers are:


I will admit to still looking at reviews on Bordeaux, especially while in futures.

Essentially any producer I already know well. Too long a list to type.

Somewhat tangential to the topic–though worth saying even if a truism-- critics’ scores matter regardless of whether one pays attention at least w/respect to price.

Currently extremely ticked off that Burlotto Monvigliero (which I buy year in and year out regardless) has essentially tripled in price for the 13 vintage b/c of Galloni’s 100 point score.

So, no Monvig for me in the current vintage thanks to the critics’ scores that unfortunately matter despite the fact that I ignore them.

Totally agree, very sad what the score does to demand. I’ve had to essentially stop buying; Rousseau, Dauvissat, Mugnier, Roumier, D Angerville and many other red and whites Burgs. Plus the supply on some wines like the Burlotto Monvigliero is so small that a great rating really amplifies the price pressure. You wouldn’t think a huge score would effect BDX so much as Burgundy or Piedmont with its much much larger production numbers but it does just because there are even more buyers for BDX.

I think it’s disingenuous to say that “scores/reviews don’t matter to me” or “I pay no heed to any opinion that doesn’t come from myself”. We all absorb and breathe the ether, whether we pay full attention or simply inhale only to exhale. It’s cool and very hip of someone to be seen as distant and aloof, but we are social beings and words Do matter somewhat. Even if I have my own opinions and tastes regarding wines, I still like to know what others thought about something I drank, and like Craig sez, sometimes you want to find a wine that is within the drinking window. If there are a few people saying “this wine is tighter than a drum”, what is the sense of opening it (assuming the note is recent in nature)? Wouldn’t you be a bit stupid to push ahead and open it, only to think "gosh, maybe I should have listened to somebody else (for once)! Just common sense.

Oh shit, I din’t see that… [wow.gif]

Markus - what you say is true but I think most of the people are saying that if they’re comfortable with a wine and their assessment, they’re not going to pay attention to another opinion, or if they do, it’s not for guidance. That makes sense.

As far as breathing the ether, that’s true to be sure, but sometimes, perhaps often, you know a wine and you know that some critic just got it completely wrong, assigning 100 points to something that will exhibit bacterial problems in a year, or not understanding another wine that isn’t necessarily what that critic happens to prefer. It’s good fun sometimes to see what others thought of a wine you like, but what one person says is tight as a drum and another says is pinched and tannic, you might find quite delightful. Not long ago I was at dinner and at one end of the table we couldn’t drink a wine because it was corked, at the other end they were happy to enjoy it. And critics evolve as well, so for my money at least, I’m not spending based on the opinion of someone else, which may not be the same today as it was a few years ago when a wine was tasted and rated.

Yes, I rather hoped the wine world had got over ‘points chasing’, but that was a naive hope. That said I’m not so attached to any wine or producer, that I wouldn’t drop my interest if the wines tripled in price (not Fabio’s fault to make that clear - it’s the market that has pumped the price up).

I trust critics who receive undisclosed compensation from the promoters of the tasted wines.

If the hype keeps up for a couple years, you could probably sell some of your cases/bottle for far more than you paid at least. That could buy a whole lot of other wine and perhaps soothe the sting a bit.