Tastings, powered by the Beverage Testing Institute, was founded in 1981 with the goal of producing fair, impartial wine reviews for consumers. This philosophy still holds true today and has since expanded to include beer and spirits.
Over the years, our reviews have appeared in publications such as Wine Enthusiast, Restaurant Hospitality, The New Yorker, CNBC, Wine & Spirits, International Wine Review, Epicurious.com, All About Beer, and many others.
Tastings is a specialized marketing company that serves drinks industry and provides beverage buying guides and education for consumers.
A basic tenet of qualitative evaluation is that the shorter the scale, the easier it is for panelists to repeat their scores--and repeatability is the essence of accuracy--Our tasters now use a simple scale with four bands. In the first round we use this range:
4 - Highest quality.
3 - Shows style and character, yet probably not of the highest merit (85-89).
2 - Of sound commercial quality, though not overly exciting (80-84).
1 - Not recommended (less than 80 points).
With this scale, tasters needn't concern themselves with the difference between an 88 and an 86, or a 90 and a 91. Wines with two scores of "4" are sent to the "merit round," whose range is as follows:
6 - Provides a world-class experience (96-100).
5 - Outstanding, though not quite one of the world's finest (93-95).
4 - Truly excellent in style and distinction (90-92).
3 - Very good, but not of the highest merit (88-89 points).
This allows our panelists to consider general quality, without the distraction of adding points. Products breaking the critical 90-point barrier are tasted twice without exception, virtually guaranteeing that they will deserve their accolades. Also, after the first round, those with a wide disparity in score are re-tasted. We also re-taste many that scored poorly, to make sure a bad sample was not at fault.
The scores are then translated onto a modified 100-point scale. We think the five "bands" below more accurately reflect the quality of products in today's market, roughly corresponding to a five-star system:
96-100 - Superlative (Platinum Medal)
90-95 - Exceptional (Gold Medal)
85-89 - Highly Recommended (Silver Medal)
80-84 - Recommended (Bronze Medal)
79/NR - Not Recommended (No Medal)
To help translate the panels' scores, we use a different statistical method, relying on the mode (the most frequent score) rather than the mean (the average score). This helps reduce the impact of maverick scores; the mode is much closer to what the panelists are really saying. If, for instance, a product in the first round receives three scores of "3," it is placed in the upper center of its band (85-89) and given a final score of 88 points. Should the third score be a 4 or a 2, the product in question would be given an 89 or an 86, respectively. The third score is used to move the total score up or down within the same band. Again, controversial permutations are re-tasted. Those falling in the lowest band (less than 80) are simple listed as"not recommended"; no score is assigned.
Other recognitions include:
Best Buy - Wines or spirits which provide uncommon value.
Cellar Selection - This is a wine that we believe will improve significantly with at least five years of age.