Wednesday, December 30, 2020



Happy New Year - Bonne Annee 2021 by ©Domelgabor / ©LeDomduVin 2020
Happy New Year - Bonne Annee 2021
by ©Domelgabor / ©LeDomduVin 2020

Happy New Year & Bonne Année 2021!

I wish you all the best, to your family and loved ones too. 
And more importantly, I wish you a safe, healthy, meaningful and joyful New Year! 

Full of love, hope, courage, kindness and happiness. And filled with peace, dreams, ambitions, goals, satisfaction, success, friendship and lots of unforgettable moments. 

2020 has been a terrible year for most of us. A year we all need to forget and put to the past. 

Yet, not everything was necessarily negative and not everything has to be forgotten about this particular year. 

Personally, some of the moments and encounters I experienced this year were quite unique and beautiful, resulting in fond memories that will last forever. And I don't want to forget them, on the contrary, I want to keep them close to my heart and mind. 

This is a new year. A new beginning. And things need to change for the better. Let's make it happen and make this new year count for everyone. And let's continue to dream and have dreams. And also let's be a little crazy too 😉 ( 'cause we're never gonna survive unless we are a little crazy - Seal) 

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” —Eleanor Roosevelt 

Be safe and take good care of yourself and your loved ones. And give some love to each other, 'cause that's all we've got. 

Thank you, 



Happy New Year et Bonne Année 2021!

Je vous souhaite tout le meilleur, à votre famille et à vos proches aussi.

Et plus important encore, je vous souhaite une nouvelle année sûre, saine, significative et joyeuse!

Pleine d'amour, d'espoir, de courage, de gentillesse et de bonheur. Et remplie de paix, de rêves, d'ambitions, d'objectifs, de satisfaction, de succès, d'amitié et de nombreux moments inoubliables.

2020 a été une année terrible pour la plupart d'entre nous. Une année que nous devons tous oublier et laisser au passé.

Pourtant, tout n'était pas forcément négatif et il ne faut pas forcement tout oublier de cette année particulière.

Personnellement, certaines des rencontres et des moments que j'ai vécus cette année étaient assez uniques et magnifiques. Ils sont et resteront de merveilleux souvenirs qui dureront pour toujours. Et je ne veux pas les oublier, au contraire, je veux les garder près de mon cœur et de mon esprit.

C'est une nouvelle année. Un nouveau départ. Et les choses doivent changer pour le mieux. Faisons en sorte que cela se produise et que cette nouvelle année compte pour tous. Et continuons de rêver et d'avoir des rêves. Et soyons aussi un peu fous aussi 😉 (parce que nous ne survivrons jamais à moins d'être un peu fous - Seal)

"L'avenir appartient à ceux qui croient en la beauté de leurs rêves." -Eleanor Roosevelt

Soyez prudent et prenez bien soin de vous et de vos proches. Et donnez-vous de l'amour l'un à l'autre, car c'est tout ce que nous avons.



#happynewyear #newyear #wish #wishes #newyearwishes #resolutions #newyearresolutions #safe #safety #health #healthy #hope #dream #love #peace #happiness #kindness #joy #success #ledomduvin @ledomduvin ©LeDomduVin 2020

Monday, December 28, 2020

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain by ©LeDomduVin 2020
CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain

During the weekend, I was making home-made Mac and Cheese for the kids, while drinking one of my favourite Rioja wines, "CONTINO", Reserva 2015, made by Jesús Madrazo, a great man and a very talented winemaker, whom I met a few times at the winery, at Contino, while I was working in NYC back in the mid-2000s. 

Thank you for your wines, Jesus, this Contino Reserva 2015 is fantastic! Love it.

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain 
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

For those who might be interested, I wrote a post on my blog about CONTINO and Jesus Madrazo, back in 2009, after a visit to the winery with my little family, where, after doing a tour of the winery guided by the man himself,  Jesus invited us to have lunch with him in the garden facing the vineyard with the old Olive tree (Viña del Olivo). 

It will always remain as a great, sweet memory. It was a nice and hot day. We sat at a table dressed in the cool shade of the trees facing the winery. Walking barefoot on the grass. My son was about to be 3 years old. The atmosphere was serene and relaxed. We were all smiles. The wines were delicious and the local food we ate that day was simple, fresh and refreshing, and so tasty, consisting of some tapas made with the traditional Iberico Ham among other succulent ingredients, like dried tomatoes and eggs, and other meat and vegetables served with tender bread,  local Aceite de Oliva (olive oil), Aceto Balsámico (balsamic vinegar) and natural coarse sea salt. It reflected the Spanish life as I had always pictured it. I could have settled there and lived the rest of my life there. Read it here

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain 
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

For those who may not know CONTINO, here is a brief recap: 

Map Courtesy of edited for and by ©LeDomduVin 2020
Map Courtesy of  
edited for and by ©LeDomduVin 2020

Viñedos del Contino

CONTINO is made at Viñedos del Contino, a small 16th-century boutique winery located in Laserna, south-east of Laguardia, a few kilometres north-west of Logroño, in the Rioja Alavesa sub-region, part of the Basque country (see map above, courtesy of (1)

Based on the concept of producing wine from a single vineyard (understand undivided, one plot surrounding the winery, only subdivided into small parcels), and thus, referred to (or considered) as the first Rioja "Château", Contino, was born in 1973, from the partnership of the Pérez Villota family, owners of Finca San Rafael (Rioja Alavesa) and a group of Cvne directors led by Jose A. Madrazo and Real de Asúa. Since the end of 2013, the CVNE group has owned 95% of the company. (2) 

20201228 - Vinedos del Contino - Map Courtesy of Google Map - edited by and for ©LeDomduVin 2020
Vinedos del Contino - Map Courtesy of Map
edited by and for ©LeDomduVin 2020

With a history dating back from the 16th century and a logo portraying Saint-Gregory, protector of the vineyards, Contino encompasses about 62 hectares of vineyards, all in one plot surrounding the winery, in Laserna, a small area niched in one of the curves of the Ebro river, in the southern district of Laguardia (see map above and below).  

20201228 - Vinedos del Contino - Map Courtesy of Google Map - edited by and for ©LeDomduVin 2020 v2
Vinedos del Contino - Map Courtesy of Google Map -
edited by and for ©LeDomduVin 2020

Planted mainly with Tempranillo and Graciano (as well as some Garnacha and Viura, and a tiny amount of Garnacha Blanc and Malvasia), on rich pebble soils along the northern bank of the Ebro river, the vineyards are protected by both the river's bend surrounding most of the vineyards (from north to south, and to the west) and a hill called "Cerro de la Mesa" (Table Hill) (to the east, northeast), which gives this land a very characteristic orientation and microclimate, benefitting of western and south-western sun exposure, ideal for the ripeness of the grapes, and gentle slopes facilitating the natural drainage (see map above).   

At Viñedos del Contino, both the vineyard management and vinification combine both tradition and innovation. The grapes are hand-harvested, by parcels (or lots if you prefer), then transported in small crates along the short paths leading to the winery, to prevent from damaging the grapes, where they are then carefully sorted on a sorting table, prior to being placed into individual small fermentation tanks, in the rather modern vinification cellar.    

The production of each of the estate´s lots is placed in individual limited capacity fermentation tanks, where fermentation is adapted depending on the characteristics of the grapes and the lots they come from. Understand that the grapes growing closer to the river and the ones growing on the top of slopes closer to the winery, are not necessarily the same varieties and do not grow on the same terroir (soil, subsoil, environment, micro-climate, external factors, etc...), and, thus, require specific needs and cannot be vinified the same way. 

In turn, the wines from the various lots and from the various grape varieties are then aged separately, between 18 to 24 months, in both French and American oak barrels (old and new) from various coopers (of various toasting too), resting in the original 16th-century old cellar, which provides the most ideal and constant temperatures and humidity all year round.      

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain 
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

The resulting wines produced at CONTINO, all combine traditional Rioja style with a modern twist, offering generous fruit and elegance, richness and complexity, as well as texture and structure, and are considered as some of the best Riojas. 

The terroir and grape variety of the various parcels are carefully considered and play an important role in the vineyard management and winemaking process. The individualised grape variety and parcels harvesting system allows for perfect control of the evolution and maturity of the grape varieties in the vineyards, but also within the various resulting wines throughout the whole vinification and ageing process, facilitating the blending process at the end, when required for some of the wines. 

The perfect combination of soils, Atlantic-Mediterranean climate combined with the refined and adapted vinification techniques have made Contino, more than 30 years after the first vintage, a staple of the Rioja Alavesa region, an essential classic amongst its peers and beyond, and a name widely recognized around the world.

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain 
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

CONTINO produces various wines including this "Reserva", which is considered as their flagship wine, as well as micro-cuvées, that are considered as "Garage wines", which are, thus, even better, yet only available in small quantities, making them even more valuable. 

Understandably, note that some of these wines are not produced every vintage, depending on the quality of the vintage first, but also depending on the laws that govern the Rioja Appellation and overall wine region (e.g. in term of "Gran Reserva", for example, and the single grape variety wines too, like 100% Graciano and the 100% Garnacha). 

Go to CVNE website to see more details about the wines produced by CONTINO, here, or click on the following wines to see their respective technical sheets of the last vintages I personally tasted (courtesy of CVNE) for more details:  

CONTINO was the first winery in Rioja to produce a single varietal wine with Graciano, a grape variety typically used in blend due to its tendency of being rustic, austere and herbaceous, when not ripped enough, and therefore usually complicated on its own. Yet, tremendously lively, long-lasting and giving very satisfying result when fully matured and vinified the right way, allowing to bottle it as a single variety wine. 

Since then, it inspired many other wineries in Rioja (and other Spanish wine Appellations and regions) to follow in the footsteps of CONTINO by also making 100% Graciano wines (i.e. Príncipe de VianaViña PomalViña Zorzal, etc...)  

CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
CONTINO Reserva 2015 Rioja Spain 
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

As I said at the beginning of this post, I had the pleasure and the privilege to know and spend some times, at the winery, with Jesús Madrazo, the son of Jose A. Madrazo, one of the CONTINO project's founders, while visiting the winery a bunch of times, back in the mid-2000s. And I have heard that an Aragonese producer and consultant, named Jorge Navascués, took over in 2017.

So, once again, Jesús, wherever you are now, muchas gracias for this particular wine, CONTINO Reserva 2015, which was one of your latest vintages at the winery. It is a fantastic wine that has a lot of potential to become an even much better wine with time and care. A truly enjoyable wine for the taste buds.  

Thank you Jesús for your wines and the memories they trigger every time I drink them. And good luck in your current endeavours. Hoping you're not too affected by the current situation in your native Spain. 

¡Hasta la próxima! ¡Hasta luego!  

Thank you for reading my post, 

And until next time, be and stay safe, respect the social distancing, wear a mask and take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. 

And, as it is the new year soon, I wish you All, all the best for the New Year to come (2021), hoping that it will be much better, happier, safer and healthier than this past year (2020), for all of you. 

Personally, I cannot wait for 2020 to be over and for the new year to begin.   

Cheers! Santé!

LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)

Sources and Links 

(1) Map of the Riojas partly or entirely taken from and edited for this post courtesy of

(2) Info partly or entirely taken from and edited for this post courtesy of

(3) Info partly or entirely taken from and edited for this post courtesy of

#macandcheese #homemade #homemadefood #contino #rioja #reserva #spain #jesusmadrazo #cvne @cvnevino #ledomduvin @ledomduvin #lesphotosadom #loverioja #lesselectionsadom #wine #vin #vino #wein

Unless specified or notified otherwise, ALL the above, including, but not limited to, illustrations, drawings, pictures, photos, tables, graphs and texts, etc... property of  ©LeDomduVin 2020 

FYI: Thank you for crediting me on any materials or texts included in this post that you might use.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020



Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noel  from LeDomduVin to all of you in the world  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noel
from LeDomduVin to all of you in the world
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noël 

to all of you around the World 

2020 has been an extremely difficult year, all around the world, for all the reasons we know all too well...

Fortunately, it is coming to an end, with the hope of a better 2021. Yet, we all know that 2021 is bound to be a difficult year too.  

That's why, like every year, I wanted to wish to all of you, a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" & "JOYEUX NOEL", but more particularly so, this year, as this year, Christmas is far from going to be a "Happy", and even less a "Merry" Christmas for a lot of people around the world.  

I'm thinking about all the people who have been particularly affected, directly or indirectly, not only by the COVID-19 situation, but by all the situations we have encountered this particular year 2020. 

I'm lucky enough to still have my job, to still be able to buy presents for my kids, to be able to put food on the table and live in an apartment that I can still rent, under a roof where my family and I can feel safe and protected.  

However, this is not (and has not been) the case for millions of people around the world, for weeks, even months (probably a few years for some, as 2019 has not been a great year for many either, for plenty of other reasons).  

And, these are the people I'm thinking about, all the forgotten, all those who will not be able to celebrate these end-of-the-year holidays with their families and friends and loves ones and other relatives. Those who won't be able to put food in their plate, on their table. People who lose their home, their job, their situation, their life as they knew it.  

All of those who have been directly and indirectly impacted by the already difficult economical, financial, political and societal crises that were occurring in many countries, long before the virus came to exacerbate and aggravate the situation even more.  

All of those who have been impacted by the wars, the civil unrests, the political unrests, the protests, the genocides, the famines, the mass exodus, the epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic too, and whatever else man-made absurd and irrational actions (and their consequences) that caused them to be in this situation.  

All of those who have lost everything in the fire, in Australia of course, but also on the West Coast of the US, in Brazil, and in other places too like in Africa (yet, it was barely covered by the international press, so barely no one has heard about it). 

All of those who, instead of fire, lost everything in the water, in massive floods, due to overflowing rivers, eventually a dam break, but more specifically due to ice and snowmelt, and unusually heavy rainfall, and even heavy and damaging hail, resulting from massive storms, typhoons and hurricanes (that seem to have grown stronger and more numerous from a year to the next).  

2020 was a year of unremitting and unprecedented extreme climate events and "supposedly" natural disasters, from heatwaves to droughts to wildfires to hurricanes to floods, many of which scientists have directly linked to human-caused climate change. Each event has taken a huge toll in lives lost and irremediable damages incurred. 

Such disasters cost many lives, and I'm not talking only about human lives, wildlife too and nature in general, all around the globe and everywhere too (air, water and ground), which added to the ever-increasing pollution is causing massive extinctions. 

Climate change includes both the global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns, combined with human pollution and, in general, human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth's atmosphere. Like carbon dioxide, the largest sources being the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas for power generation, transportation and industrial manufacturing processes. 

To which we can add the pollution generated by the trash, either incinerated, dumped in the water and/or buried in opened and/or non-opened landfills. And all the pollution caused by all the chemicals used directly and or indirectly in the over-production of food and other agricultural products. 

Funny, how, over the last 6-8 months, with the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the news, some of these events (or even most of them) have rapidly and already faded into memory, while they caused (and are still causing every day) as much or even more damaged than the virus itself.

The government's misleading attitudes toward the gravity of the situations and how to prevent to put their citizens in danger, as well as, and more particularly, the mishandling of these various events, including the various disasters, but more especially the pandemic situation (in most countries), resulted into a very unstable world economy, civil and political unrests everywhere, protests, rise of unemployment and precarity, with millions of people losing their jobs, unable to make ends meet, or to simply live as they used to only a few months ago for some and/or about a year ago for most...   

And I'm not even talking about the public backlash against racism, during the Black Lives Matter movements or any other movements that occurred this past year.  

However, there are so many other subjects I could write about, in this post, and could even "re-do" the whole year 2020, all over again, with all the events that occurred, but that is not the purpose of this post.  

The purpose of today's post is for all of us to have thoughts, and even help if we can, those who have less than we have and are in essential needs. For those for whom living has become a daily struggle and may have dire consequences on the mid to long term, both psychologically and physically, as well as emotionally and morally.    

Consequently, in the eve of Christmas, a period of religious and cultural celebrations among billions of people around the world, traditionally marked by events such as gift-giving, family and other social gatherings, symbolic decoration, feasting, charities and helping and being with others, I just want to encourage everyone to give a hand to those who need it most. I will do the same.  

And right now, despite Clinton Samy Jr's quote "Oh, but that's the irony, broken people are not fragile", a lot of people are not strong and probably need your help, as in fact, they are fragile right now.  Affected by too many things in their lives and too many thoughts in their minds. 

As Bill Withers implied in his song: We all need somebody to lean on, at some point or another, especially when we are not strong. 

"When you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on
If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me
Call me
If you need a friend" - Bill Withers

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND JOYEUX NOEL to all of you around the world, and think about others, this year, more than ever. 

Think about the people in your family, your friends, and all the other people you love and care for. 

More especially, with the virus becoming more infectious (these past few weeks), and who knows, maybe even more virulent at some point, and with all the people locked-in and/or living far from their native country, family and friends (like me), now is the time to think about them: give them a call, send them an email, text them, WhatsApp them or even better video-chat them.  

And you have no excuses, as there are so many tools you can use to reach out for them and to them.  

Enjoy the rest of this week towards Christmas, and may your Christmas be a "Happy" or "Merry" one, well spent with your family and/or friends (if possible).  

Until next time, be and stay safe, and take good care of yourselves and all your loved ones.  

Cheers! Santé! And Merry Christmas to you all.!

LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)

#christmas #merrychristmas #joyeuxnoel #Feliznavidad #feliznatal #tothewholeworld #toeveryone #illustration #lesillustrationsadom #lescollagesadom #collage #wishes #christmaswishes #christmascard #card #ledomduvin @ledomduvin ©ledomduvin

Unless specified or notified otherwise, ALL the above, including, but not limited to, illustrations, drawings, pictures, photos, tables, graphs and texts, etc... property of ©LeDomduVin 2020

FYI: Thank you for crediting me on any materials or texts included in this post that you might use.

Saturday, December 12, 2020

LeDomduVin: My Wine Scoring Way - The Wine Scoring Dilemma

The Wine Scoring Dilemma  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
The Wine Scoring Dilemma
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

My Wine Scoring Way

The Wine Scoring Dilemma

Who still believes in wine scores? You do? 

Personally, I'm sitting on the fence. I'm not necessarily against it, but I'm not necessarily for it either.  

And, this post comes "très à propos" (very appropriately, if you prefer), as all the Wine Critics and Wine Magazines are releasing their BEST OF and/or TOP 100 Wines of the Year 2020 (1).  

I'm on the fence because, first of all, tasting wine is very subjective

And, secondly: Wine is alive! This means that wine continuously changes and evolves while ageing in the bottle and even reacts to its immediate surroundings and storage conditions. 

Like any living being, amongst other things, a wine goes through phases and can rapidly change in terms of aspect, aromas/flavours and taste, depending on:

  • The intrinsic quality of the wine itself (if it is a bad wine to start with, it usually won't get better),
  • The age and the intrinsic potential of ageing (some wines are not meant or not able to age well), 
  • The quality of the vintage, of course (not all vintages are good or able to age well), 
  • The vineyard management and the vinification process (it all starts in the vineyards, then in the cellar, if wrong decisions are made, they will always affect the quality of the wine, one way or another),
  • The quality of the winemaker too (sorry to say, but some winemakers are quite bad, and they don't even seem to be aware of it, or simply have bad taste or maybe they never try the wine they make?), ( is a bit harsh, I know, but it is true, some winemakers/producers never fail to make bad wines, year in, year out... to the point that you've lowered your expectation so much, that the day you taste a good wine from them, it is like a miracle... and the worst part is that some them are quite expensive and therefore disappointing for the price... but, I won't name any..), 
  • The storage temperature and overall conditions (too hot, too cold, too humid, not well-ventilated enough, mouldy, etc..), 
  • The service temperature (too hot or too cold) and conditions (dirty decanter, wrong glasses, etc...), 
  • But also the outside temperature (too cold or too hot?),
  • And the overall climate conditions in general (rain, storms, etc..),
  • And last but not least, the tasting conditions and the potentially influential factors coming to play during the tasting 
    • Will the wine get the same score if tasted at a public tasting, an office or at the winery/chateau itself? 
    • How about if the owner, producer or winemaker is a friend? Etc... 
  • Etc...

And, if you want to go even further, as everything on this earth is, one way or another, influenced by, affected by, and/or even related to various forces and energies here on earth (but also by/with those influenced or directly emanating from the moon, the sun, the other planets of our solar system and even, to a certain extent, the cosmos), we could even say that, as per the lunar calendar (organic/biodynamic), better consider tasting and drinking wine on "Flower" and "Fruit" days, rather than on "Root" or "Leaf" days.   

That's already a lot of reasons and factors that may alter and/or influence the subjectivity and objectivity of the taster (i.e. the Wine Critic, Press, Oenologists, etc...) and the "genuity" of the given score, isn't it?   

Therefore, it is essential to put things back into context and understand that "scores" only represent the olfaction and tasting bud's primary reaction of a particular individual (i.e. the taster: Wine Critic, Press, etc..) to a particular wine, tasted within particular conditions, on a very particular day, and with all the possible potentially influential factors imaginable.     

That is a bit reductive, but it sums up the situation quite well. 

Fortunately, the Wine Critic or Journalist's experience and palate's skills and accuracy come to play a major role in this equation. To a certain extent, they moderate these influences and "usually" ensure that the score/rating given to a tasted wine is genuine and representative, not attributed due to these potentially influential factors.    

Yet, always remember that the dependability of a wine scoring system rests on those who set, moderate, and give the scores to the wines (i.e., Wine Critic, Press, etc..). 

And, even the most accurate and skilful Wine Critic (or any experienced wine professional tasting and scoring wine, for that matter, including me) is vulnerable when faced with, affected by or influenced by any of these factors. It is a very human condition. Our mind is not as rigid, impermeable and impartial as the CPU of a computer, a robot or artificial intelligence.   

It is true. You have to admit it. It is always more difficult to taste and give low or bad scores to the wine of a property or a winemaker you've loved or even known and "tested" for years. Or worst, the wine of a friend, colleague, old acquaintance, family, or anyone else you've shared memorable moments with. More especially if the wine reveals great features. 

On the contrary, if/when the wine is not as good as it could have been or should have been (depending on the vintage, the history of the wine or even the brand) and many other reasons, then hesitation and indecision will come to knock on the wall of your brain, interrogating and questioning your mind and senses. And no matter how genuine and well-intentioned you wanted to be, and despite all your self-discipline and rigorous methodology, you might still give that half a point or even a point more to that wine...      

Because, in certain conditions and circumstances, it is difficult to separate things, measure the euphoria, control the joy, and prevent or attenuate the infatuation while trying to maintain the needed and necessary detachment and neutrality to remain impartial and keep your integrity. 

More especially when you taste a wine that shines with all the energy and passion a winemaker has placed in it. Even more, especially if you are acquainted with or know that specific producer/winemaker and/or have loved his/her wine(s) for years.    

It is difficult to badly score or write about wine made by your friend or a winemaker (you know and like his/her wines), especially when the wine is good, great or even brilliant, or worst, if, on the contrary, the wine is not that good, without arousing suspicion of collusion with others. Hence the reason for being as impartial as you can be and keeping your integrity as much as possible, remain neutral and distant to erase the assumptions and interpretations of others. 

But God only knows how difficult it is, as not only taste, relationship, acquaintance or friendship, come to play in this equation, price too.  This means that wines of high pedigree and price always influence or even command high scores (in most press and wine critics' minds). 

Although the price of a wine is usually/normally/supposedly directly related to the quality (the greater the quality, the higher the price) and/or the quantity (the lower the production, the higher the price), always remember that great wine doesn't have to be necessarily expensive. High price does not always make the wine either. I will not give any examples or names, but I know a lot of expensive wines that are not as great as they should be to command such a high price. 

And that said, even if Wine Critics or Press know all of the above "All too well", it seems their ratings cannot help but be influenced by the price somehow (I guess it is part of the game). Meaning that it is rare to see an expensive wine get a bad or low rating. While in my opinion, it should get a low or bad rating if it is bad or not up to the quality or reflects the price it commands. And the same goes for renowned high-end Châteaux/producers/brands. 

Consequently, I will say, "Choose the Wine Critic or Journalist that you want to follow" well and preferably select the one (or the few) who you feel are "genuine" (as per your point of view) and that you can trust, and maybe have a comparable or similar palate and taste as yours. 

For example, when I was working in NYC in the early 2000s, my boss was a Robert Parker Jr "groupie" (he was a man, but still...), while my director was more a James Suckling follower, and personally, I had already figured out that my palate and way of scoring was closer and more similar to Stephen Tanzer with its International Wine Cellar's wine rating system on a 70-100 point quality scale. 

That said, I never understood and still don't understand the point of rating below 88pts? - or at the most below 85 pts - as it does not serve anyone to rate a wine that low. If below 85pts, it might be better not to score the wine and let people make their own opinion.       

As I always say: 

"When a wine is bad, the wine is bad! No matter the pedigree, history, classification, rank or price! Better not to score it than tarnish its reputation. It does not serve anyone." - LeDomduVin    

No matter what you think about all the things I've said above, directly or indirectly, ALL of these intricate factors are unarguably and undeniably related and greatly impact a Wine Critic's final score on a particular wine. Everyone knows it.

How about the "En Primeur" tasting? 

The worst, in my opinion, is the "En Primeur" tasting in Bordeaux, where Critics and Journalists, as well as professionals, connoisseurs and amateurs, come to taste and evaluate unfinished wines, some that have been blended specifically for the occasions and may not even reflect the final products in the bottle. 

Sorry to describe this way, as it is a very graphic metaphor, but in my opinion (and I'm not the only one to think that way), tasting "En Primeur" is like taking the baby out of his mother's womb at 3 months old, when it is only a fetus, to check and determine in which conditions it is, evaluate it and rate it, then put it back into the womb to finish the remaining 6  months it needs to fully develop. It is like rating a kid and predicting his/her future while he/she is not even born yet.      

Some critics and journalists are cautious and clever enough not to give an "En Primeur" wine a definitive score but rather a score range, for example, "90-92", "94-96", or even "95-100", which makes more sense in my opinion, as an "En Primeur" wine may change between the time of the "En primeur" tasting and bottling, due to various factors: oak treatment, final blend, etc...  

Difficult to compare a wine that has spent only a few months in barrels compared to a finished wine that may have spent between 12 and 18 months (or more) in barrels.  More especially if the final blend ends up not being the same for diverse reasons. 

Which makes me think: how can we trust a definitive score given at en "En Primeur" tasting? More especially, if that same critic or journalist changes his/her score 2 years later when the wine is bottled? I will let you ponder on that.    

I know that as a Bordeaux native, grandson of a winemaker, Sommelier and Wine Buyer, I should not speak like this of such an institution.  And frankly, I have nothing against the "En Primeur" tasting.  On the contrary, I think it is a good way of having somewhat of an idea of the quality of the vintage (even if it is a bit early in the wine's life, in my opinion).  As you probably understand, it is the "definitive score" I have a problem with when rating "En Primeur" wines.

However, I'm just a Sommelier, not a critic or a journalist, so I should be more tolerant and accepting, yet it has driven me crazy for years, and I had to vent out and say it once again.   

LeDomduVin's 5-Star Wine Rating Scale by ©LeDomduVin 2020
LeDomduVin's 5-Star Wine Rating Scale
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

My own wine-scoring way

And that is the reason why I'm on the fence with scoring wine, wine scoring and wine scores in general, and also why, long ago, as a young Sommelier and Wine Buyer, I had to develop and use my own wine scoring way: a personal wine rating scale more adapted and suited to my wine buyer's needs, and to be used for big tastings and events mainly. 

Therefore, please understand "my way of scoring" is a "Wine Buyer Scoring Scale" rather than a "Wine Critic or Journalist's Scoring Scale". I use it to quickly assess a wine's intrinsic qualities without spending too much time tasting it or dissecting every detail of it. It allows me to make quick buying decisions during a tasting.    

It is a 5-star rating scale that I can easily understand and that is solely based on my taste bud's immediate reaction. I had to develop it, especially for big tastings and events, to be able to focus only on the good wines, go fast and differentiate my ratings from the other rating systems to prevent their influence on my buying decisions (which was critical when I was a wine buyer for restaurants and retails back in the days, and even till these days).       

Meaning that I usually approach all wine tastings the same way: with essential knowledge and information about the region(s) and vintage(s) to be tasted. And, eventually, about the featured wines to be tasted too (if I saw the list prior to going to the tasting or if the list was provided at the beginning of the tasting), but not necessarily, as I usually prefer to go to a tasting with a clear head, uncluttered of unnecessary thoughts or ratings/scores that I could possibly have seen or known about some of the wines.     

So, I created my own custom "5-Star Wine Rating Scale" scoring method and adopted this tasting approach to assessing the wines as they are and for what they are. Assess their respective intrinsic qualities, as well as their quality/price ratio, the most simply and efficiently I could possibly put it, with a "Wine Buyer" minded attitude and mannerism (meaning not like a "Wine Critic" or a journalist): 

0 - NO (I dislike it, won't buy it, next !!!)

1 - OK (I don't dislike it, but I'm not a fan either, probably won't buy it unless the price is low)

2 - MAYBE (It is interesting but may present flaws or angularities, I may buy it if the price is good)

3 - LIKE IT (I will buy it, especially if the price is good)

4 - LIKE IT A LOT (I definitely need to buy it, especially if I can get a discount for 10 cases or more)

5 - LOVE IT (A must-have! How many cases can I buy? When can I have the wine? )    

As you can notice, on any five-star scale, regardless of the bottom rating, 3 stars are often the lowest positive rating, and it is the same on my scale too. Though judging on a purely mathematical basis, 2.5 stars should be the dividing line between good and bad on a 0-5 scale, but I skipped the 1/2 (half star) to make it easier and went straight to the upper point. After all, I created that 5-Star Wine Rating scale to prevent having to bother with too many details and make fast wine-buying decisions, so no half-star!   

Prior to going into more detail about my "own way of scoring", complemented with my "LeDomduVin's Tasting 5-Star Wine Rating Scale" Table explanation in the paragraphs further below, I would like to come back and extend my thoughts a little more, on the "Wine Scoring" and "Wine Scores" Dilemma.    


The Wine Critic Tasting Notes Paradox  by © LeDomduVin 2018
The Wine Critic Tasting Notes Paradox
by © LeDomduVin 2018 

The Wine Scoring and Wine Scores Dilemma

Like most wine buyers, over my nearly 30 years career in wine, I was forced to adapt and adopt many different ways of scoring wines and rating scales depending on the critics, journalists, magazines and websites I was reading or following (e.g. 3 stars, 5 stars, 10 points, 20 and/or 100 points scales). 

I had to do it to compare my personal tasting notes and descriptions with those from the "professionals" but also in order to comprehend and read through their scores and the lines of their tasting notes, which can be pretty confusing sometimes.   

By "reading through the lines and the scores" (of the Wine Critics and Journalists), I mean trying to understand what differentiates an "88" from a "90", or even a "92, or a "94" from a "98" in THEIR language and way of scoring. And trust me on this, it is not always an easy task

More especially if, like me, you prefer descriptive and detailed wine-tasting notes/descriptions that have a meaning and clearly indicate that difference, which is far from always being the case, depending on the wine critic. 

Some of them only give short and undescriptive tasting notes/descriptions that are fairly similar or sometimes nearly identical, yet with different scores, making it really difficult to understand why there is such a difference in scores. 

Let's take, for example, a very confusing situation where the respective descriptions of two different wines (from the same appellation, same grape varieties and same vintage) are almost the same, or sometimes even identical, but somehow generate two drastically different scores. 

The following is a great example. I wrote it and put it into an illustration for a previous post (2) (see also my illustration above), but I'm re-using it as it is perfect to illustrate that kind of situation: 

In the illustration above, there are two wines, "Y" and "Z", with a fairly similar descriptions, yet scores that are strangely quite distant for no apparent reason: 


"Black fruit, good acidity, polished texture, good structure and balance, long persistent finish" - 89


"Black fruit, refreshing, smooth texture, combining structure and balance, long-lasting finish" - 96  

Do you see what I mean? It is definitely not easy to understand why one commands an "89" and the other a "96" while the descriptions are so very similar, isn't it? I think you get my point.  

Consequently, that is why, in my opinion, "wine scoring" and "wine scores" have always been a huge dilemma (for me and most people I know in the industry). 

Moreover, what to choose? Which scale? 100 or 20-point scale? (or even a 10-point scale back a long time ago...). And beside points, what else? 3- or 5-Star scale? Or even a 3- or 5-Wine-Glasses scale? 

Depending on which side of the globe you're on, rating scales are different and their understanding and meaning too. Sometimes what could or should seem to be logical isn't! And it is very frustrating! 

That is why I came up, long ago, with a "Wine Scoring Scales Comparison Table" that has always helped me better comprehend and read through the different scales (see the Table in the paragraph further below). 

That is also one of the main reasons why more Wine Critics, Wine Magazines and other Wine Media have, in recent years, adapted and changed to the 100-point scale in order to "globalize" the scoring/rating scale for a better understanding of the scores and their significance.  

I even recently realized that various well-known wine-scoring websites use the 100-point scale and the common 5-Star scale together (for each wine on their site) to adapt and appeal to a broader range of readers and attract larger and younger audiences. 

However, as if it wasn't complicated enough already with the various scales to choose from, the other question is: Who to follow? 

Just to name a few, and there are so many more... It is a dilemma, isn't it? (At least, it is to me...)

This is a dilemma, even more so, as, nowadays, thousands of professionals and non-professionals (who could eventually be added to the above list) are now surfing the growing wave of wine vloggers and wine influencers on social media, posting thousands of wine descriptions, pictures and even streaming media and live videos everywhere on Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik-Tok and even LinkedIn now, and surely on all the other social media and networks I do not know, or I'm not registered with). 

Thus, it is more fun and interactive now, isn't it?... Sure! 

Yet, it makes it even more difficult to choose who to follow and who to listen to now. 

Yet again, surprisingly, and it is an excellent surprise (like most wine bloggers, like me, at the beginning of "blogging" back 10-15 years ago), nowadays, Wine Influencers speak with their guts and passion for what they like and love. They do NOT use any rating or scoring scale. 

They just use their own words to translate and transcribe what they have in their minds to convey a passionate and animated message to the world, free of "too-short-to-mean-anything" descriptions and "often-incomprehensible-and-weirdly-attributed" scores. And I looooooooooove it!!! I find it soooo refreshing!   

Just to name a few among some of my favourites that I have been following on Instagram (some more recently than others) (mostly French Wine-Influencers, sorry) 

You can also browse the Feedspot Top 200 Wine Instagram Influencers most followed in 2020 to see if some of the people you follow made a list.  

So, although I just wrote all the above and could still talk about this fascinating subject for hours, I have already long debated and detailed the subjects of "Scoring Wines" and "Wine Scores" in two of my previous posts, here and here. Therefore, I did not want necessarily to write another post about it. So, why did I? 

What prompted me to write today's post?

So, what prompted me to write today's post (about "wine scoring", "wine scores" and "wine critics"), was the reaction of a friend who, a few days after the tasting of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB) Bordeaux 2017 Vintage, in Hong Kong (November 25th), asked me to send him a list of the wines from this tasting with "scores".  

As I was trying to finish my previous post on that specific UGCB Bordeaux 2017 Vintage tasting (read it here), I told him that as soon as I finish the post, I will send him the link, so he can see and read about the wines I liked/loved from the tasting, based on the various pictures and tasting notes included in the post. 

But, he replied (to me): 

"I thought you would give me (or even put) your scores out of 100pts on your post, on your blog, but it is probably too divisive, although I don't know, maybe you can still express yourself and put up the scores without the Chateaux having griefs against you". 

To which I replied (answer edited for this post): 

"I usually never rate on a 100-point scale. More especially during big wine tastings or events. I just use my own rating scale and put stars when I taste: 3 Stars (I like), 4 Stars (I like it a lot) and 5 Stars (I love it), based on the quality of the wine first, and I also try to take into consideration the  "quality/price" ratio when I award stars while tasting. Other than that, I'm only writing tasting notes (which I find more interesting and more descriptive than rating the wines anyway). However, I'll try to convert my stars to try to rate the wines on a 100-point scale, for you, based on what I wrote during the tasting, then send it to you. Yet, I probably won't put those ratings out of 100pts on my blog, so as to not receive any criticisms or comments from the properties." (FYI: I do not put my stars on my posts on my blog either, for the record). 

To which, I immediately added: 

"I developed this method while working in the US, in New York, when I was a buyer for wine & spirits retail stores. So, it's a wine buyer's method, not a wine critic rating scale system. During tastings, there is usually no time to assess the lesser wines (not to say "mediocre" or "bad"), so, if not good enough, no star and I move on to the next one. As for the ones I gave 1 and/or 2 stars, I usually revisit them at the end of the tasting to be sure (and if I have time too). After re-tasting them, unless I made a mistake, the 1-star wines end up being discarded from my selection. And the 2-stars wines are kept only if the quality/price ratio is interesting, but still only remain considered as "Ok" (instead of "Maybe"), and probably won't be bought. They often end up being discarded too."

So, there it is! This is my "Wine Scoring Way". Everyone seems to have one. This one is mine: my customized Wine Buyer's "5-Star scale" wine rating system. 

My Scoring Way (suite): the conversion from my 5-star to 100-point and 20-point scales

Yet, you see, now that I had told my friend (the one who wanted me to send him the list of the 2017 Bordeaux with 100-point scale scores) that I would try to convert my stars system into 100pts scale, I had to come up with a plan, a conversion strategy or methodology that made sense, not only for me, but also for him, and eventually, if/when needed, for my colleagues, partners, clients and customers. 

Fortunately, it was an easy task as I have a "comparison table" (or "equivalence table" if you prefer) I made long ago that I have been using to convert/compare my 5-star scale into/with 100-point and 20-point scores/rating scales, which came pretty handy on numerous occasions in these past 2 decades.   

So, (as I said in the conversation above), I probably won't post the list of my favourite Bordeaux 2017 vintage from that UGCB Tasting in this post, or maybe? Hmm... It could be interesting, but I will have to face the reaction of the wineries and winemakers and maybe, other Bordeaux Grands Crus wines-related people like some of the Brokers and Negociants. Tough decision to make...    

Anyway, you can just read the post on that subject here (UGCB 2017 Vintage) to see and read about all the wines I liked/loved, including pictures and tasting notes. 

But there are NO scores, as I only write about wines I like or love in my posts. No point in showing disappointing scores and/or writing about the wines I disliked (or even found really "awful" for some). It would not serve me nor the Châteaux/wineries. 

NB: And, at the end of the day, there is enough misery in this world, so, better to write only about good wines and positive things, keeping the mood light and on a high note, with a smile and positive attitude. 😁     

Therefore, what I wanted to share with you (today, in this post) is my Wine Rating Scales "conversion" table comparing my 5-Star rating scale with the 100-Point and 20-Point scales, as well as the common 5-Star/Point scale (which is different than my customized 5-Star scale). 

And between you and me, I have never really understood why we need a 100-point scale as most published scores and ratings (by the critics and other wine media) never (or so rarely) go below 85pts, and the same for the 20-point scale, it never really goes below 12.5pts...  So, what's the point?.... 
Go figure!!!

I guess it was to "uniformize" or even, as we say in France "mondialise" ("mondialisation"), meaning globalize (globalization) the wine rating scale system for everyone to have a better understanding and be able to compare. 

The 100-point scale is widely used on the planet to rate exam results at schools or other products than wine, it makes sense, and it was probably the best thing to do anyway.  

And don't get me wrong, I also occasionally use the 100-point rating scale scores (I'll explain a little more on that further down this post).    

Without further ado, and because a visual is worth a thousand words, here is my Wine Rating Scales comparison table. 

LeDomduVin's Wine Rating Scales Comparison Table 

Wine Rating Scales Comparison Table by ©LeDomduVin 2020
Wine Rating Scales Comparison Table
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

So, as you can see, there is nothing complicated about this comparison table. It is just pure logic and common sense, after all. 100pts (in the 100-point scale) = 20pts (in the 20pts scale) = 5 stars/points (in the 5-star/point scale). Only my 5-star rating scale is a bit tricky, as it was not created for the common understanding but rather for mine only. 

But, once you'll understand the fact that my customized 5-star scale is a "Wine Buyer" rating scale, not a "Wine Critic" nor a Wine Magazine" rating scale, then the comparison will start to make more sense to you and become easier to digest and accept. 😄  

As quite a lot of people in the world still use the 20-point scale and even the common 5-star scale (which is different from mine), I believe that, after all, the first 3 columns of this table (that I created long ago and been using for the past 2 decades) might prove quite useful to many of you.   

As you can notice (in this table above), any wine I estimate the potential score to be below 88 points (on the 100-point scale) or 14 (on the 20-point scale) or 2 (on the common 5-star scale), gets a "0" star from me. That means that the wine is immediately rejected or discarded or immediately put aside, and, obviously, considered as "unworthy" (either because of its taste or because of its quality/price ratio, yet, most of the time, both).   

And, I can hear you say, isn't it a bit harsh? No? 

Well, as stated previously, I developed this "customized 5-star scale" rating system for myself long ago (as a Wine Buyer), to be mainly used during big tastings/wine events while working in New York, as Wine Buyer for "niche" boutique wine and spirits retail stores, in order to 
  • spend less time on the bad wines and focus on the best wines
  • make a quick and accurate first selection of the best-tasted wines based on my first impression and immediate reaction to the wine's intrinsic taste, characteristics, character and style  
  • not be influenced by and effortlessly differentiate my scores from the others (tasters, including wine critics/wine magazines and media in general)
  • and, thus, make my final selection and buying decision quickly and efficiently based 
    • on the intrinsic quality of the wine according to its place and terroir of origin (appellation, region, geography, topography, local climate, etc..), its rank, grape variety(ies), the quality of the vintage, etc..., first, 
    • then, based on its quality/price ratio (if or when I know the cost price and/or the estimated average market retail price). 

Therefore, and I never repeat it enough, it is a "Wine Buyer scoring scale", not a Wine Critic or a Winepress "100-Point or 20-Point scoring scale".   

What does that mean concretely? 

It means that when you are a Wine Buyer and need to quickly assess lots of wine during big tastings and wine events, it is essential not to waste your time on wines that are lesser in quality and lesser in quality/price ratio to really focus on the good ones. 

A Wine Buyer thinks pleasure (quality/taste) and business (quality/price ratio) at the same time, with a selling-point-oriented manner and mindset that will benefit both the seller (retail, restaurant, supermarket, etc...) and the buyers/consumers.   

This is the opposite of a Wine Critic, who usually must take the time to taste to carefully assess and describe the wines in order to rate them and give them a score. A Wine Critic also thinks about pleasure (quality/taste) and also take into consideration the quality/price ratio at the same time, but not necessarily in the same mindset or business-oriented manner, but rather in a buyer-consumer-oriented manner.      

The main purpose of a wine buyer is to buy "good to great" wines at "good to great" prices in order to increase sales, have a rapid turn-over of the products on the shelves and make decent-enough profits to be able to buy more wines, grow the business, pay the bills and the other employees and please the boss. 

Personally, when I was a Wine Buyer for niche boutique Wine & Spirits retail stores in New York while attending big tastings and other events in the city, I had neither the time nor the luxury to "fuss about" with the complete intrinsic characteristics and other details of the wines I was tasting. I had to be focused, accurate, fast and precise (and get back to work). So, any wines that were not good enough were immediately disregarded/discarded. And the 5-Star scale (I created and used, and still do) help me a lot to succeed in that task back then. 

LeDomduVin's 5-Star Wine Rating Scale for Tastings and Events

A visual may work better for you to grab and understand the concept, so here is my personal and customised 5-Star Wine Rating Scale with explanations (to make it clearer): 

LeDomduVin Tasting 5-Star Wine Rating Scale  by ©LeDomduVin 2020
LeDomduVin Tasting 5-Star Wine Rating Scale 
by ©LeDomduVin 2020

You have to understand that, in the US, when you work in a wine retail store (or any business for that matter), time is money and "good-to-great" business is solely based on the quality of the goods and the rapid turn-over of what you put on the shelves. Therefore, you can't really afford to put bad wines on the shelves, you only want to buy wines that you (and your team) feel confident to sell, and that will please your customers (as well as you and your team too). 

It is obviously harder to sell wines you or your team don't like, so it is important to always involve some or all, of your team when you taste and make decisions to buy wines.   

Consequently, when we had 3 or 4 sales representatives and/or distributors coming to the store to do a tasting presentation of 5-10 wines each, we (the team and me) had the time (and we were taking the time) to "fuss about" the interesting features and the intrinsic qualities of the wines we were tasting. 

We could discuss and hear each other's opinions, laugh and have a good time, and even buy wines that were not necessarily pleasing the majority but that one of us was sure that he/she could sell to our customers. And that was fine. It was a team job, taken and dealt with as such when tasting at the store.       

However, when we were attending big tastings or wine events in the city, or worst when we were going to Bordeaux to attend the various tastings organized by the Negociants, the Chateaux or the Appellations during the "En Primeur" campaign (late March/early April), each year, and that we had to taste, for example, 300 Crus Bourgeois at 9 am in the morning, I can tell you that my customized "5-star wine scoring scale" came very handy, to go through the 300 wines in the most efficient and expedited manner.  😊  

We were assessing 300 wines in a few hours, while a Wine Critic might take the whole day to taste 300 wines. The job is not the same, that's all.   

In the End 

In the end, I have a profound respect for Wine Critics and their job too. Even if I don't always agree with their scores/ratings. And, even if I know that they (we) are not machines and are all influenced, one way or another, directly or indirectly, by external factors, sometimes out of their (our) control. 

And also, the fact that to always remain genuine and impartial by keeping the needed and necessary consistency, integrity, distance, neutrality and perspective, to not be influenced by any of these factors cited above, at some point or another, must be really difficult. 

I admit that I'm influenced or let myself be influenced sometimes, occasionally, by some thoughts, preconceived ideas, misconceptions, misinterpretations, "A Priori", wrong information, lack of information, or, on the contrary, too much information and knowledge too. 

A good example was the Hong Kong UGCB Bordeaux 2017 Vintage tasting I attended in late November. I went to the tasting with no real excitement or expectation as I knew already that 2017 is a difficult vintage in Bordeaux (in general) and that the wine will not taste great and probably not show its full potential either. 

Maybe I was wrong to go to a tasting with that mindset. But that is the main problem we face every time. Whether you're a Wine Buyer (like me) or a Wine Critic (or any other type of wine professional, amateur or connoisseur going to a tasting), the more knowledge you possess about a region, an appellation, the places/vineyards/parcels that are more auspicious to produce better wines and which properties are on them, the various styles of the wines for each property, and the style of the winemaker, and, moreover, if you have followed the evolution of or read abundantly about the vintage and already have a fairly precise idea of what the wines will be and taste like (prior to tasting them), then, you cannot prevent going to a tasting like this one with preconceived ideas and mindset. 

And, unfortunately, the tasting proved me right. To put things in context, what else could one expect from such a difficult vintage? The wines were hard, dry, and astringent on the tannins, showing little to no structure or even little to no texture for some. They were light and lacking in complexity and depth for most of them.  

And to be honest, I'm shocked to see that some of these Bordeaux 2017 wines (that I tasted and did not find good or pleasant) made it to most of the TOP 100 Wines of 2020 (1)  ... very surprising... and that's why I sometimes question if the intention behind the such choice is genuine or interested? (3)

The 2017 Bordeaux, as I mentioned above, are mostly tight, hard, and tannic, with poor structure or texture, with hollow mid-palate and short finish (at least for those I tasted at the UGCB Bordeaux 2017 vintage tasting and on other occasions), rare were the few good ones.  And not only that, but 2017 Bordeaux are expensive too. 

Not that I want to do some Bordeaux bashing, as I'm from Bordeaux and I have been promoting Bordeaux wines for 30 years, but the combination of "lesser in quality", "low in production", "little quantity", and "high price" does not seem very attractive to me. Don't say you did not know, as you had been warned.    

That said, not all the Bordeaux 2017 vintage that I tasted were bad. Some of them were actually really good. The proof is my previous where you will see and be able to read about all the ones I liked and even loved during that tasting. (here)

Therefore, understand that 2017 for Bordeaux is a vintage where you have to look for good quality/price ratios. Otherwise, it's not worth it. Why? Because the wines are expensive and not really that good, so might get very disappointed paying a high price for a wine that does not worth that much.  Which explains some of my ratings and notes. (3)

So, understand my surprise to see that so many of them have made it to some of the "TOP 100 of 2020". Are the wines really that good? Or, is it a commercial stunt to help Bordeaux sell their wines, as the 2017 and 2018 sales were down for various reasons?  (e.g. Trump administration Tariff in the US, COVID-19 everywhere, direct sales and export to China have slumped since early 2019, Chinese cellars are still full with 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Vintages that are not selling, etc...).  

I let you be the only judge of that. However, in my true and honest opinion, and as a business-minded Wine Buyer and wine lover too, Bordeaux vintage 2019 is much more attractive for both its taste and price and much cheaper than 2018 and 2017 too, if you compare the quality/price ratio. There is definitely some good business to be done with 2019. And although 2018 is a bit more expensive, it is not bad either. 2017 is a pick-and-choose vintage that requires both knowledge and tasting skills.  

That is also one of the reasons why I hesitate to put this list (3) on my blog because these 2017 Bordeaux wines were tested here, in Hong Kong. Therefore, the bottles travelled, one or two were corked, and some did not present themselves well. 

That said, the bottles tasted the way they did because it is also the particularity of this vintage, with little homogeneity and a lot of inconsistency due to the errors made (date of the harvest, lack of maturity and ripeness of the grapes, etc ...) and the climatic characteristics of the vintage that were disastrous too. Not an easy vintage to make wine either.  

So, please take my opinions, notes and ratings with a grain of salt because they correspond to my impressions of these particular bottles of wine tasted on that particular day. It is very possible that some of these wines will reveal themselves a little more in a few years. Who knows? However, in any case, the price/quality ratio is not there (IMO), so proceed with caution and make your selection carefully not to end up with stocks you'll have difficulty selling.  

And, as a last reminder, these are Wine Buyer scores and notes, not Wine Critic scores and reviews.  I'm a Wine Buyer, not a Wine Critic.  

Thank you for reading my post, and until next time, be strong, be safe and take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. 
Cheers! Santé!

LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)

Sources and Links

(1) BEST OF and/or TOP 100 Wines of the Year 2020 


(2)  - Read my previous article (2018) on Wine Scoring and Wine Critics at 

(3) If interested, you can check my tasting results for the HK UGCB Bordeaux 2017 Vintage, with both the ratings of my 5-star scale and the conversion into the 100-point scale equivalent, here, and make the decision for yourself.

(4)  Find more wine-related personalities, websites and blogs on FeedSpot's Top 100 Wine Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020   

NB: I'm number 101 😁 on Feedspot's Top 100 Wine Blogs, Websites and Influencers of 2020 (as of December 28th, 2020). I was number 85 at the beginning of the year, in January 2020, so I better write more on more subjects to go back up.  Please spread a good word for me. It might help too. 🙏🙏🙏

Unless specified or notified otherwise,  ALL the above, including, but not limited to, illustrations, drawings, pictures, photos, tables, graphs and texts, etc... property of ©LeDomduVin 2020

FYI: Thank you for crediting me on any materials or texts you might use in this post.  

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