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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Foxy Wine News: Parker to Change his wine scoring systrem.

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services – The Foxy Wine News Network, viewed by almost 4,000 people during the recent Stanley Cup games, today has learned that Robert M. Parker Jr., the Dean of Wine Writers, the guy who started measuring and evaluating wines in terms of school performance report cards, will be changing his scoring scheme beginning with wines tasted in August 2011.


Said Parker (no relation to the creator of the Spenser mystery novels), "It is about time I changed. I've come under so much flak from others over my ParkerNumbers™. Besides I wanted to leave a legacy for Buddy, my bulldog."


In essence, Parker is shifting from an arithmetical scale to a common logarithmic scale, much like the decibel. "I've called it the Buddy scale", said Parker.  "The common logarithm has a base 10. It is indicated by log10(x). On calculators it is usually 'log'. So it is perfectly adaptable to the computer society."


The Buddy, then, is based on the common logarithm of ratios — -10 times the logarithm of a power ratio. As Parker explains, "The signal-to-noise ratio describing the amount of unwanted noise in relation to a (meaningful) signal is measured in decibels and in Buddies. In a similar vein, the peak signal-to-noise ratio is commonly used to assess the quality, in this case, of wine."


Parker continued, "My 94 Buddy point wine is ten times better than my 93 Buddy point wine, and my 95 Buddy point wine is 100 times better than my 93 Buddy point wine. That's how it goes. It will give me more scope to refine my judgement with those wines that closely approach perfection upwards to 100 points. But like Zeno's Paradox, I may never reach 100 points again."


Initial responses have been fast, furious, and to some extent chaotic. Nobody knew that this was coming. The International Wine and Food Society abandoned its seven point scale in favour of the modified Richter log scale. The University of California at Davis immediately re-vamped its 20-point scale as a natural log. The Wine Speculator, though, stuck with its 100-point scale, saying, "There's nothing we can quickly do: the points are arrived at by committee. It would take years to change our glacial approach."


The Wine Writers' Circle of Canada commented, "We have no control over our members. They can use whatever numbers or letters they want. We got one guy who rates all the wines as either Tops, Dandy, So-So, Punk or Lousy. We have another who rates all wines in terms of whether they should be served to mothers-in-law. What can I say?"


More on this story as it rolls along…


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