Opinions on wine ratings can range as wide as the ratings on the bottles of wine themselves. The most interesting thing to me is that all the attention tends to be paid to those wines that rate a 90 or above, which are considered by the rater to be outstanding or better. Are we all drinking outstanding or better wines every night at dinner? Are those the only bottles of wine we are purchasing at our favorite wine retailer? Probably not. What about the 80 to 90 point wines, considered to be very good to great wines? In most cases, those are the wines we drink on a regular basis.
Also interesting is the point to price relationship. A producer may have a wine priced at $50 dollars receive a rating of 87, and another wine priced at $30 rated 90. How could that be? The producer certainly would argue that the higher priced wine is the higher valued (better) wine. What went wrong?
I would suggest remembering two factors when deciding to purchase wine based on ratings. First is the condition under which a wine is rated. Typically a wine is rated in a group of several wines at the same time, so a singular wine cannot help but be rated relative to the other wines being tasted. Second, the rater is biased by what he likes and does not like.
When using ratings to make a purchase, use the critic’s description of the wine rather than the number to decide whether that is a wine you would like. Second, use the ratings of someone whom you have found to have a similar taste to yours. If you have not identified that particular wine critic, that is when the fun begins!