Introducing the QVX wine scoring system

An example of the graphic developed for Q-VeX wine scoring. The points are indicated with the bar graphs. General information about the wine, when it was tasted and typical retail price at time of tasting is included. Finally, a couple of sentences explaining why the wine received its score are included at the bottom.

Last post I outlined some of the failings of wine scoring systems and posited an alternative system. My system scores a wine out of 10 points and, unlike the conventional 100- or 20-point systems where at least 70% of the points available don’t mean anything, here every point counts. Wines are scored in three categories: Quality (out of 4); Value (out of 3); and the X-factor (out of 3). The latter is an admittedly subjective category that reflects how much the wine excites me or how close it gets to a canonical benchmark of its regional style.

I have developed a handy visual graphic for this scoring system (the ‘QVX’ system, or 'cue-vex' if you will) where the scores in the three categories are represented by bar graphs along with the nominal information of the wine, typical retail price and a couple of sentences explaining why the wine received the score it did.

Over the summer I have been putting this system to the test, scoring wines as I’ve tasted them and applying the metric to some historic tasting notes from my myriad notebooks.

I did find the constraints I’d set myself a little bit frustrating at times. Sometimes I’d think that a wine wasn’t quite perfect, but that it deserved better than a 3 out of 4 for quality. Perhaps I could stretch to giving it a 3.5…? But in these moments, I had to reflect that my goal here was to simplify a scoring system, even it did come at the cost of a small loss of nuance. Likewise, when it came to judge the Value and X-factor categories, I had to remind myself that these categories (in particular) will always be subjective experience of the personal tasting history – and bank balance – of the taster. And that my score is a (hopefully useful!) starting point from which others can draw their own opinions. After all, wine facilitates dialogue in many ways – and one of the best ways to get to learn about wine is to discuss opinions on it.

There are situations where the Q-VeX scoring system is not appropriate: for instance, at trade tastings where the purpose is to assess wines for commercial/wholesale purchase, or during wine awards judging. Perhaps too, when tasting once-in-a-lifetime bottles of old and rare wines; in such situations the experience is priceless: how can one put a value for money tag on that...? (See my comments in the caption for the Grand-Puy-Lacoste tasting notes below.) However, I feel this system is a useful metric for general wine buying by when you’re looking to get a wine to go with dinner or seeking a few bottles to replenish the cellar. The motivation for developing this system came out of a personal frustration with the information available to me before deciding on a wine to buy and asking myself what would I like to know to help inform my decision.

Below are the results of six different wines. Scores range from 2 to 9 out of ten (the perfect ten proves to be elusive…) and the scores can be derived in many different ways. A wine might be absolutely brilliant, but highly expensive (therefore not great value for money) and thus score a 7/10; while another can score evenly across the board and attain the same number of points. Both of these wines, I feel represent a 7/10 consumer experience, even if that experience is derived from different sources.

See what you make of the QVX system, and as ever, let me know what you think.

 

Functional wine, but overpriced for what it is in my opinion. Not magical.

A fairly pricey wine, but... one worth the money. It was a unique experience for me drinking this wine - hence the 3/3 for the x-factor.

Absolute text book example of what Riesling should be, let alone South Australian Riesling. And for under £20! You can get better wines, but certainly not at that price.

An example of an inexpensive yet very well made wine. Exceptional value for money.

The biggest named wine (and most expensive) of the samples I've included here. It is a canonical left bank Bordeaux (hence X=3/3); and if this bottle didn't have hints of the wine seeming past its best it would get 4/4 for quality. But the value for money is a tricky category for me here. It is certainly a wine I'd recommend - for someone with the money. Unfortunately my own wine budget doesn't stretch that far!

An example of a really good, down-the-middle wine.