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Home   >  Wine Guides   >  Wine Spectator

Wine Spectator

  The Wine Spectator provides wine lovers with in-depth articles on fine wine, dining, travel, as well as extensive reviews on specific new releases.

Published 18 times per year, WINE SPECTATOR is the most influential wine publication in the world and the definitive source for discriminating individuals who wish to expand their knowledge and appreciation of fine dining and wine, cooking and entertaining, and world travel and the arts.

Each biweekly issue of Wine Spectator magazine features reviews and ratings of more than 500 wines, along with detailed tasting notes and analysis. The accuracy of Wine Spectator's wine ratings is grounded in two things: the stringent standards Wine Spectator sets for itself-virtually all tastings are conducted "blind," for example-and the proven ability and experience of the magazine's editors as tasters and critics.

Wine Spectator

Most important to the integrity of the magazine's tastings is that all of its regular wine reviews come from blind tastings. Its editors do not know who made the wine or how much it costs when they assign a score. This is your guarantee that the magazine's editors call 'em like they taste 'em, regardless of a wine's reputation or price. Wine Spectator's editors blind-taste wines in their offices in San Francisco, New York, and London and in the vineyard regions of Europe. The tastings in Europe are usually done at the sources-Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Piedmont, and so on-where fresh, well-stored wine samples are readily available. Wine Spectator organizes its tastings at independent sites (not at the estates or offices of wine companies) and under conditions tightly controlled by the staff. The magazine says it knows of no other wine publication here or in Europe that sets up its own blind wine tastings in the wine regions on a regular basis.

The tastings are arranged by the magazine's tasting coordinators, who put the wine bottles into brown paper bags and code them. The coordinators do not participate in the tastings. All capsules and corks are removed from the bottles prior to tasting, and, when necessary, other efforts are made to conceal the wines' identities from the tasters. Tasters are told only the general type of wine (varietal or region) and the vintage. Price is not taken into account in scoring, although the notes are often edited after the scores are determined to include comments about price and value. All wines that taste corky, that show other major flaws, or that score below 70 (out of a possible 100) are tasted again from new bottles. They also retaste numerous wines that score highly to confirm the first impressions. The majority of wines tasted are submitted free by the wineries or their importers, but they also spend tens of thousands of dollars buying wines for tastings. Since Wine Spectator serves an international audience, they prefer to review wines that are widely available.

Occasionally Wine Spectator reports on vertical or horizontal tastings that are not blind, organized by wineries or wine collectors. This is always disclosed in the articles. Also, when applicable, the editors make it clear when they are rating barrel samples instead of finished wine. Critics who don't make this distinction can mislead you because a lot can happen to a wine's quality between the barrel and the bottle, from filtering, fining, and blending.

Each category of wine is always tasted by the same editor. These beats, as listed below, generally remain constant, as each editor has developed an expertise on a region's wines, but if you're ever unsure who rated a wine, just check the magazine issue in which the tasting report on that subject originally appeared. The author of a tasting report is always the lead taster for that area, and though other senior editors may have participated, the lead taster has final say on the rating and description. The editors taste the wines, write the notes, and provide the analysis and tasting report for each region or country.

Tasters for Wine Spectator score wines using a 100-point scale, explained below. Ratings reflect how highly the tasting panel regards each wine relative to other wines. Ratings are based on how good the wines will be when they are at their peak, regardless of how soon that will be.

When you read one of the 30-plus annual tasting reports or search our online database, you should know that Wine Spectator took the time and spent the money necessary to ensure that the scores and tasting notes published indicate to the best of their ability the true quality of what's inside each bottle.


Tasting staff: Tim Fish (California), Alison Napjus (Alsace, Beaujolais, Italy), Nathan Wesley (Argentina, southern Italy) and MaryAnn Worobiec (California, New Zealand)


387 Park Ave. South
New York
NY 10016

Tel: +1 (212) 684-4224
Fax: +1 (212) 481-0722

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