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29 November 2005

This Is How We Roll

BicredpenAlder's post about his wine review methods got me thinking that I should provide my readers with more information into the Basic Juice Wine Reviewing Process.  First let me state that I try to review wine 'as normally as possible.'  This simply means that, while I do have a specific process for evaluating wine, I also try to spend an evening with the wine by sampling it before, during, and after dinner (not blindfolded, not with 100 other wines, and not in a room full of wine experts).  So, basically, here's what I do..

I evaluate wine against five criteria:

  1. Appearance - a wine's appearance can tell you a lot. Good quality wines are generally clear, and without discoloration.
  2. Aroma/"The Nose" - With nose in glass, one can begin to evaluate a wine's condition, unique scents, aromas and complexity.
  3. Taste/Complexity - Holding a wine in the mouth and drawing in air (AKA slurping) assists in identifying various flavors in wine. We can also assess a wine's 'balance,' which is the interplay of flavor, alcohol, acidity and tannin.
  4. Food Friendliness - A food friendly wine can make a meal fantastic. On the other hand some wines can completely clobber your taste-buds. In my opinion, the ideal wine is one that works with dinner and is also pleasant all by itself.
  5. Value - There is so much wine available nowadays that wine consumers have the right to expect good wine at a fair price. Yes, we all splurge sometimes, but there is no reason to empty your wallet each time you want a good bottle of wine.

How I score the wine:

All wine is rated on my *highly original* 5-Star Scale:

  • 5 Stars - The perfect wine; great taste and value. Buy it now!
  • 4 Stars - A very good wine at a reasonable price. I recommend.
  • 3 Stars - a good, reasonably priced wine; or a very good wine that is somewhat overpriced. May or may not be recommended (depending on how overpriced I think it is).
  • 2 Stars - A low quality wine or a wine that is very overpriced. Save your money.
  • 1 Star - Ick. Thank me, I've saved you from an unpleasant experience.

I normally don't write about wine that I rate at two stars or under.  However, if I buy a particular wine myself, find it to be wildly overpriced and/or completely unacceptable, I will let you know (I think of this as my wine civic duty).

Finally, keep in mind that reviews (no matter who writes them) are subjective.  If you find that a particular wine, which I rate highly, isn't up your alley, post a comment - I see nothing wrong with second or third opinions (just ask Huge).

So that's how it's done - this is how we roll here at B.Juice.


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How about free samples?


Free samples? Yes please!
Actually, seeing as how I live in the neo-puritanical republic of Utah, I very rarely receive press samples. Out of the several hundred wines I've reviewed over the 1.5 years that Basic Juice has been around, I've received fewer than 10 free samples. Simply put, I will accept press samples, but they aren't treated any differently - except for the fact that if the wine is awful, I don't write about it (which, to date, hasn't happened).

For example, one of these reviews was a press sample, the other was one I purchased. Can you tell the difference?

Stratton Lummis Cab

Murieta's Well Zarzuela


Beau- I don't doubt that you are pro-consumer, I just thought this would be a good opportunity for your to address free samples and advertising. The barriers to entry on blogging are nil, so I think we bloggers should all be clear on where we stand on independence--again, not that I suspect anything nefarious, but just that it's helpful to the readers...I'm glad you taste wines with food--as it should be!


I can tell the difference...only because I received the same sample set ;)

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Wow! This information was truly valuable to me. Ill be coming back to your blog.

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