The Three Dimensional Scale :
The flowery and/or technical descriptions of tasting notes – professional or otherwise – often don’t really tell you what a wine will taste like.
In combination with the particular nature of red burgundy – where wines from the same vineyard and different producers can be totally different – this makes it incredibly difficult to know what a given bottle will be like, without years of study and tasting.
To offer you more guidance in selecting burgundy, we have developed a three dimensional scale which looks at the fruit quality, other flavours and body of the wine.
|HPB "3-dimension" ratings :|
Lots of acidity : underripe raspberries, redcurrants
Clean and fresh : raspberries, strawberries, cherries
Robust fruit : cherries, plums, blackberries
Ripe fruit : blackberries, blueberries, damsons
Over-ripe fruit, lacking acidity: Ribena !
We also rate the wines on quality : meaning to fullness, complexity. and above all balance. A no-star wine (not that we sell any!) is a perfectly acceptable but fairly non-descript "everyday drinking" wine - probably rating about 85 points on the 100-point scale. As a guide you could consider these star ratings as being roughly equivalent to 85-87, 87-89, 89-91, 91-93 and 93-95 respectively.
|HPB scores :|
|A good wine, with some distinction or appealing features|
|More than good, but lacks the balance, fullness or complexity needed to be outstanding|
||A very good wine - stands out for its appellation, and exhibits no deficiencies or compromises|
||A really very good wine indeed - thoroughly outstanding for its appellation|
|A truly excellent wine - outstanding in any assessment - “Grand Vin”|
About The Professional Reviews :
I am extremely grateful to Allen Meadows, Clive Coates, John Gilman and Stephen Tanzer for granting me their approval to quote their tasting notes and scores. Links to their websites can be found on my Links page.
These are a complementary set of tasting notes as they approach the wine quite differently. The notes of Stephen Tanzer and John Gilman are (like my own) primarily realistic - attempting to paint a picture of how the wine actually tastes right now. Clive Coates' notes are much more impressionistic - very useful if you have a good understanding of Burgundy, but difficult to get to grips with otherwise. Finally Allen Meadow's notes are more structural - trying to convey the essential qualities of the wine (for example of fullness, acidity and balance) which will remain more or less unchanged although the flavours and aromas experienced will change as the wine ages. If you can synthesise this kaleidoscope of notes it will give you a very good impression of the wine !
A final word is needed regarding Clive Coates' scores (rated out of 20). All the other critics rate on the widely understood 100-point scale, and (more or less in absolute terms (ie a 97 point wine is always better than a 95 point wine).
Clive is different in that he gives scores in the context of the vintage, not in absolute terms. Thus a "VF" wine from a vintage rated 17.0, would be more or less equivalent in quality to a "VGI" wine from a vintage rated 18.5. His ratings are as follows :
|Clive Coates' scores :|
|Very Fine Indeed
||Very Fine Plus
||Very Good Indeed
||Very Good Plus
||and then, in descending order :
G+, G, QG+, QG