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January 25, 2009

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The 100 point system has 2 issues, one specific to it and one that applies to any scoring system.

1) Specific to the 100 point system is the faux precision. What's the difference between 91 and 92? Is the difference between 89 and 90 the same as 91 to 92? Doesn't getting 90 mean the wine is in a different class? And are those sublte distinctions reproducible ( you'll always score that wine exactly that point score?)

2) The larger issue, and the reason I hold scores in contempt, is that a score implies you can collapse a multi-dimensional thing into one dimension. What this ends up doing is the imply an equation between two things that might be very different (otherwise known as "two 92 point wines aren't the same").

Teh common rejoinder to both these points is that a score indicates how a person ranked the wine and that the other information about the wine that's lost in the score is present in the tasting note. However, you don't need 20 gradations of quality to do that. You can use 3 or 4: "poor, fair, good, great" or "rebuy, maybe rebuy, don't rebuy." As with scores, more detail can be found in the notes.

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