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2003 Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso Riserva Pipparello

Sangiovese Blend

  • Italy
  • Umbria
  • Montefalco
  • Montefalco Rosso

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Community Tasting Note

  • IJC Likes this wine:

    March 23, 2019 - Assertive, but controlled, especially from this hot vintage. Plum and nutmeg, ie, extremely rich, but with an edge of spice. Pairs well with hearty food, especially a bolognese sauce, for example.

    Rated 2 on a scale of -1 to 3.



  • seijaro commented:

    4/27/19, 10:11 AM - IMO a scale of 1-3 is way too coarse, only allows Bad, Good, Great. Begs the questions how good, how great? Gooder than the last one you liked? What's wrong with the Parker 100-point scale? It lets you grade from F to A and all the gradients between, like 83 = B- and 88 = B+ It gives the rest of us a better idea of how much you liked it. FWIW.

    Best Regards,

  • IJC commented:

    4/27/19, 10:48 AM - Bob,

    You are welcome to score wines as you wish, but since you ask, I will tell you why I don't use a 100 point scoring system. Simply put, it's meaningless - unless you are into marketing, or are the sort of person who's impressed by a number. Can anyone really tell the difference between a wine rated 91 or 93? Nonsense.

    Frankly, 3 levels are sufficient - I like it, Neutral, I don't like it - which happens to parallel Cellar Tracker. But, I've expanded this to 5, which offers me just enough nuance to remind myself where I place that bottle relative to others. This is not a rigid system - sometimes I rate a wine highly simply because of the pleasure it gives me, even if it isn't "profound." Sometimes I rate a wine poorly because it failed to meet an expectation. Rarely would I rate a wine based on QPR - it's not so much the price as the experience of the bottle that matters.

    My ratings begin not at 1 (one), but at -1 (minus one). This is for a wine I would recommend against drinking, and hope to never drink again. The negative number = bad.

    Zero (0) is a rating for a wine that I drank, and isn't memorable. Call it Neutral, if you prefer.

    Ratings of 1, 2, and 3 are similar to Michelin stars, the higher number representing an ever increasing level of enjoyment.

    Think about it - if the Michelin guide, more than 100 years old, can accurately and reliably review restaurants using only 4 levels (they go from 0-3 stars), and restaurants are arguably far more complicated to rate than wine - then why would we need 100 points for wine?

    I try in most of my notes to give some indication of what I sensed - on the nose, on the palate, in the mind - and if you have drunk any of the wines I've so rated/ described, then you'll be in a better position to decide if what I have to say matters to you or not.

    In the end, if a friend were to ask me if I would recommend a bottle, the answer would be yes or no - would an answer of 91/100 help?

    Good luck,

  • seijaro commented:

    4/27/19, 6:54 PM - I get it, thanks for the explanation. I still disagree. If you like just a 5-category scale, why not the simple school grades A B C D F? With your -1 to 3 you have to explain it to us every time.
    As to the 100 point scale, my wife and I even use it between ourselves. After all these years, we will discuss a wine and I will say something like, "I'm 92-93." She will respond with, "I can't get to 93, I'm 91 at best and probably a 90." We each know pretty much how the other guy enjoyed the wine. I guess it's "To each his own."

    Thanks for the conversation!


  • Rollerball commented:

    2/10/21, 11:49 PM - IJC I’ve been souring on the 100pt scale and considering alternatives. Thanks for the great ideas here.

    You call out four of your criteria (profoundness, pleasure to you, memorability, degree of meeting expectations). Question: if a wine is high quality but not to your taste, how do you rate it?

  • seijaro commented:

    2/11/21, 7:27 AM - FWIW, I don't even read the comments that don't have a number attached.

  • Rollerball commented:

    2/11/21, 9:31 AM - Bob, note that CT has the option in "display settings" to "Hide scores without notes" but not the reverse. You could request the feature ;)

    Look, almost all my notes have scores on the 100pt scale. But my sense is arising that those scores--while certainly having some value--no longer really get at (and might even obscure) the more important truths about a special wine. Confession: I am also starting to feel that way about using direct descriptors, it smells like this other thing and tastes like that other thing.

    Don't get me wrong, it was all valuable to me for many years to understand what was happening with wine; and both 100-scale scores and direct descriptors are standard and thus valuable to readers too. But especially for the most moving wines it all seems so inadequate and even absurd.

  • Rollerball commented:

    2/12/21, 4:11 PM - Also, IJC, still very interested in your thoughts on this question: if a wine is objectively high quality but not to your taste, how do you rate it? Or do you not think in terms of objective quality for wine (either because you feel there's no such thing or because it's not a factor in your reviews)?

  • seijaro commented:

    2/12/21, 7:06 PM - The score is how much YOU liked the wine... then I look for critics with the same tastes as me. It's a lot like movies... if Rex Reed likes it, I'll hate it, and vice versa. That's why I loved Parker, we were so similar it was really rare that I disagreed with him.

  • Rollerball commented:

    2/13/21, 8:50 AM - Seijaro, totally agree on how to use critics. And part of what I’m saying here is that I’ve been writing my reviews as a critic this whole time. And I’m just starting to think about eliminating or at least relaxing that angle.

  • Rollerball commented:

    2/19/21, 5:16 AM - Check this out

  • seijaro commented:

    2/26/21, 2:19 PM - It reminds me of my brief term on the local Board of Education when the school system wanted to eliminate grades in favor of a narrative. The Superintendent asked the Board, "What would you rather read, "Johnny got a B in math' or 'Johnny does well in addition but needs reinforcement in division'? ('needs reinforcement' was the euphemism for 'is bad at')" The Board said "Grades."

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