This Wine Tasting Rating scale was devised to characterize the quality of wine tastings and to give the reader an idea of what I thought of any particular event. It should be noted that these ratings are for all events that include wine tasting as an intended part of the event, regardless of whether it was a bunch of friends bringing wine to taste together or it was a trade tasting of hundreds of wines. It would be unfair to apply this rating scale to a dinner where the wine was not central to the intent and purpose of the event. However, wine has been intentionally paired with food for thousands of years and the masterful pairing of food and wine produces the higher ratings for wine tasting alone.You Call This A Wine Tasting?
The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly
0 - Candidate for worst wine tasting in history. A zero rating means that there were no redeeming factors in the tasting. The wine was awful, the food, if any, was awful and the company was awful. In fact, the organizers should be black-balled and never invited to or allowed to organize another wine tasting. Any opportunity to bad-mouth the people responsible for such a profoundly despicable wine tasting should be taken at the greatest amplitude possible.
1 - A very bad tasting, but there were one or two that were at least mediocre. The food, if any, was just this side of poisonous. The company was tolerable except for a few S.O.B's. The organizers are novices or inexperienced and with a little help, which they are open to, they will improve with experience. The wines were Trader Joe's specials and the one or two mediocre ones were brought by you or by other guests.
2 - A bad tasting. Some mediocre wines, some reasonable food, a couple of S.O.B.'s. Disposable wine glasses made of plastic. Mostly white wine and blush wines. Some good wine and some good company. Generally speaking, wedding receptions where the wine was in the hands of the caterers turn into 2-rated wine tastings.
There Are Worse Wine Tastings
3 - Almost tolerable wine tasting. Some good wines, but ran out before everyone could taste them. Several dishes, if any, were memorable. Only one or two S.O.B.'s but you didn't have to deal with any of them, except the one wearing the industrial-strength perfume/cologne. The organizers may or may not be at fault, but they really tried and their effort was obvious. This one just didn't work out too well as a wine tasting.
4 - Somewhat tolerable wine tasting. Some good wines, some good food, no S.O.B.'s. If there were a few more good wines, this tasting could have been a 5. The wine glasses are made of glass/crystal. The paper plates were not made from two sheets of 8½ by 11 glued together. The music was a little bit too loud for conversation. The thermostat was set for an ambient temperature suitable for babies, old people and ostrich egg incubation.
5 - Tolerable wine tasting. All wines at least good wines, but still ran out of some before everyone got to taste it. All food not worth seconds, but good. Met at least one or two nice people you would not mind seeing again. Wines went with the food for the most part. Generally speaking, BYOW potlucks with more than a dozen people turn into 5-rated wine tastings. A 5 is a good time, but not necessarily such a great wine tasting. For this reason, a restaurant visit where the food was perfect, but the wines were only good or there were only one or two wines makes it a 5.
6 - Almost good wine tasting. Some very good wines, some very good food. At least one or two friends that are familiar. No serious problems, but several irritating ones. Like running out of the very good wines or out of the very good food. Venue may make the otherwise 7 into a 6. Barely got money's worth.
Now That's A Wine Tasting!
7 - Good wine tasting. Most wines very good, some food worth seconds. At least a few wine-drinking buddies. One or two irritating problems that have nothing to do with the wine, like uncomfortable seats, loud neighbors or strong aromas. A planned wine tasting where the wines showed as they were expected to is usually a 7. Had a great time and got money's worth.
8 - Very good wine tasting. All wines very good, some wines excellent. All food very good. Familiar with most of the attendees. No problems in service. Everyone got to try every wine. Vote or comments taken on the wines to find out what everyone liked or disliked. Good value for the money. This is the highest rating that a wine tasting of wine only or wine with minimal food can achieve.
9 - Excellent wine tasting. Most wines excellent. All food very good, some excellent. No problems in service or venue. Seconds available for the most part on all food and wine. Pre-tasting wine and dessert wine served. Group of 16 or less per bottle of wine. Everyone is an experienced wine taster who knows not to wear strong scents or get steenkin' drunk. There were one or two memorable wine/food pairings where the flavors of each happened to complement the other. The majority of attendees were impressed with a majority of the wines.
10 - Perfect wine tasting. All wines excellent. All food excellent. Small group of not more than 12 where everyone is familiar with everyone else to some degree. Wine and food pairing done extremely well. Memorable venue. Tasted one or two wines that you have never had before because of either scarcity or cost. Learned something about wine or wine/food pairing! Pre-tasting wine and a dessert wine appropriate to the wine tasting theme served and enjoyed. This wine tasting will be talked about again and again in the future.
There have been four 10s awarded:
Dave L.'s FoB at Ritz-Carlton Huntington - Jan 2003
Dave L.'s LX Birthday FoB - Jul 2002
Larry's Four-O Birthday FoB - Sept 2001
Dave L.'s FoB at L'Opera - May 2000