BLIND Tasting vs. JANCIS Robinson – The Clash of the Masters of Wine?


Riesling Revelations: Journey through 8 Unique Wines in a Tasting Tour

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I use this wine key: Forge de Laguiole Wine Key Ebony
I have used this glass in this Video: Gabriel StandART
I have tasted the following wines in this Video:

2020 Weingut Donnhoff ‘Felsenturmchen’ Schlossbockelheimer Felsenberg Riesling Grosses Gewächs, Nahe, Germany

2010 Weingut Prager Stockkultur Achleiten Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau, Austria

2020 Anatolikos Vineyards Fine Mavroudi Wild Fermentation Thrace, Greece

2018 Blank Canvas Wines ‘Element’ Syrah Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand

The 100 Point Scoring System (from
96-100: An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase and consume.
90 – 95: An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
80 – 89: A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
70 – 79: An average wine with little distinction except that it is soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
60 – 69: A below-average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
50 – 59: A wine deemed to be unacceptable.

It is difficult to list all of Jancis Robinson achievements because there are so many of them. The most important ones are that she founded her website in 2000, which she sold in 2021.
She has written or co-authored several of the most widely read wine books like the Oxford Companion to Wine, The World Atlas of Wine and Wine Grapes.
Her books are extremely insightful, and I use them very frequently – especially the Oxford Companion, which is also available through her website. In 1984 she was the first non-wine trade person to become a Master of Wine and she has received many awards, including the OBE from Queen Elisabeth for her work. She describes herself as a wine writer and not a wine critic and she appears to have a love/hate relationship with scores in general.

On her website, she writes: Although we are not very comfortable with scoring wines because it is so difficult to encapsulate a wine’s qualities in a single score, we do realize how useful scores are for those reading and buying (and selling) in a hurry.

I don’t use Jancis Robinson ratings much for a few reasons. First of all, she scores in the 20-point system which is becoming less and less relevant and I find it hard to convert her scores into a 100-point system score.

They actually have a document up on her website that is supposed to help with the conversion but I still find it difficult.

The descriptions she and her team use to explain the scores are not making it much easier– at least for me :
20 – Truly exceptional
19 – A humdinger
18 – A cut above superior
17 – Superior
16 – Distinguished
15 – Average, a perfectly nice drink with no faults but not much excitement
14 – Deadly dull
13 – Borderline faulty or unbalanced
12 – Faulty or unbalanced

It is funny that everything below 15 is deadly dull or faulty, and the scale therefore only really starts at 15. On top of that, I don’t really know the difference between distinguished, superior, and a cut above superior.
Humdinger is a word that I have never used but I think I know roughly what it means – even though I have never heard anyone describe a wine as a Humdinger. I think that a more detailed explanation of the meaning of the scores would be useful to others as well.

What is also worth mentioning is that the 20-point scale is not universally applied by the JR Team. Jancis writes: When reviewing, for example, New Zealand Pinot Noirs, we score the wines in the context of New World Pinot Noir rather than on the same scale as we would mark red burgundies. So with a score of 18.5, a 2003 Quartz Reef Pinot Noir is not equal to a 2003 DRC and never will be!

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