The De­canter guar­an­tee


Our buy­ing guide is here to pro­vide you with trusted, in­de­pen­dent, ex­pert rec­om­men­da­tions on what to buy, what to drink and what to cellar.

Each panel tast­ing is judged by three ex­pe­ri­enced tasters cho­sen for their author­ity in the cat­e­gory of wine be­ing rated. All wines are tasted blind and are pre-poured for judges in flights of eight to 10 wines. Our three ex­perts taste and score their set of wines in­di­vid­u­ally but then dis­cuss their scores to­gether at the end of each flight. Any wines on which scores are markedly dif­fer­ent are re­tasted; how­ever, judges are un­der no obli­ga­tion to amend their scores.

Judges are en­cour­aged to look for typ­ic­ity in wines, re­ward­ing those which are true to their re­gion. Prices are not re­vealed, and thus not taken into con­sid­er­a­tion when scoring.

The tast­ings are held in the con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment of De­canter’s tast­ing suite: a plain white room, with nat­u­ral light and no noise. We limit the num­ber of wines tasted to a man­age­able level – a max­i­mum of 85 per day – al­low­ing judges to taste more thor­oughly and avoid palate fa­tigue.

Drink-by dates are based on how long it is pru­dent to keep the wine in ques­tion. How­ever, some wines will have a longer age­ing ca­pac­ity if stored in pris­tine con­di­tions through­out their life­span.

Scoring sys­tem

Tasters rate the wines us­ing the 100-point scoring sys­tem. The over­all De­canter rat­ing is the average of all three judges’ scores.

The rat­ings are as fol­lows: 98-100: Ex­cep­tional A great, ex­cep­tional and pro­found wine 95-97: Out­stand­ing

An ex­cel­lent wine of great com­plex­ity and char­ac­ter 90-94: Highly Rec­om­mended

A very ac­com­plished wine, with im­pres­sive com­plex­ity 86-89: Rec­om­mended

A well-made, straight­for­ward and en­joy­able wine 83-85: Com­mended

An ac­cept­able, sim­ple wine with lim­ited per­son­al­ity 76-82: Fair

Cor­rectly made, if un­ex­cit­ing 70-75: Poor

Un­bal­anced and/or bland with no char­ac­ter 50-69: Faulty

Dis­plays wine­mak­ing faults For the Ex­cep­tional and Out­stand­ing

De­canter rat­ings, judges’ in­di­vid­ual scores and tast­ing notes are listed in ad­di­tion to the average score. For the Highly Rec­om­mended and Rec­om­mended wines, in­di­vid­ual and average scores are also listed but tast­ing notes are a com­bi­na­tion of the three judges’ notes. For the tast­ing notes of the Com­mended wines, please go to De­

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