About Wine Critics and Wine Ratings

Do you know how wine is rated? Which grading system is used by most of the wine critics? Which critic would you prefer to look into when you are choosing the bottle of wine? This post will introduce you to two of the famous wine critics in the world and their ratings of wines.

Robert Parker (Coke vs. Wine?)

Robert Parker is one of the most influential figures in the world of wines. He was the one who established the 100-point rating system which later influenced many wine critics and publications. In fact, the system is so widely used that many customers in the market view the scores as an essential indicator in valuing the quality of a wine. 

Robert Parker - Wine Picks

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One of the most notable achievements in Parker’s career is when he stood in contrast with the general opinion that the 1982 vintage in Bordeaux would be poor as it was too low-acid and ripe. He, instead, predicted that this vintage would be superb and dynamic. He thought that the fruitiness would be outstanding while tannins wouldn’t be overwhelming. The 1982 vintage turned out, just as Parker predicted, is one of the best years in the 20th century and it has huge potential for aging. Nowadays,Bordeaux wines from the 1982 vintage are priced way higher than the ones from other vintages in general.

Robert Parker - Wine Picks
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However, the master of wines was not so much a fan of wines when he was young. Instead of wines, he was a fan of cola. It wasn’t until one year when he went to France with his girlfriend and found that cola in France was too unaffordable that he turned to the relatively cheaper wines. His destiny and wines were then intertwined. Perhaps we should put down our bobas and have a sip of wines, we might probably become wine experts one day!

James Suckling (Our Hong Kong neighbour?)

James Suckling is another prominent figure in the field of wines. When we look at the ratings on wines, it is common that we see that his initial - JS. He is both an influential critic in wines and in cigars.  Born in California, US, Suckling studied Journalism and Political Science in Utah State University. He then started his career in a local newspaper mainly running errands for the editors. 1981 marked a dramatic change in his career as he entered the Wine Spectator which was then a small-scale magazine with less than a thousand subscribers.

James Suckling - Wine Picks
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It was believed that during his time in Wine Spectator, he tasted over 4000 wines per year.  So, on average, he was tasting more than 10 wines a day. The remarkable number of wines he tasted made him one of the most highly-regarded and respected wine critics in the world. 

If you are a lover of wines, you must have heard of his name, but what you may not know is that he opened a wine bar in the Central district of Hong Kong in 2018. Not only does it offer an enormous variety of wines, but it also serves modern Korean fine dining. Suckling, himself has also been staying in Hong Kong for some time. Visit James Suckling Central and perhaps you’ll bump into the master of wines!

James Suckling - WIne Picks
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So, how are the wine critics going to help us explore the world of wines. Of course, to become wine critics, they must be experts in wines and they must have tasted thousands, if not millions, of wines. By tasting and recording wines all across the world systematically, they developed a master level of wine description and appreciation.

As beginners to the world of wines, when standing in front of a wine shelf with countless wines, it is often a good idea to look for what critics have to say about the wines. It is like reading movie reviews before entering the cinema, which gives a glimpse on how the wine is like and helps you avoid buying a bottle that you would not like.

Do you think that it is always the wines that are from the famous wineries like Lafite, Latour or DRC that would be rated highly by these critics? That’s totally not the case. Each critic has his/her set of judging criteria and different factors are taken into consideration. For example, affordability of the wine, ageing potential of the wine and perhaps the uniqueness of the wine would be considered when determining whether a bottle of wine gets a high score. Errazuriz Las Pizarras Chardonnay 2018 - Wine Picks

 Critics & Ratings (JS) - Wine Picks


Image from jamessuckling.com

A frequent high-scorer in James Suckling’s rating is the Chilean brand Errazuriz. Founded in the Aconcagua Valley for over 150 years, Errazuriz is the largest wine estate in the world that is owned by an individual. If you are looking for affordable and high-quality wines, Errazuriz would be your perfect choice. Visit our website for more choices of the excellent Errazuriz wines!