Monday, November 9, 2009
The HoseMaster Scale
I am guilty of complaining about rating wine on the 100 point scale, but I do recognize the usefulness of the rating system. The folks of the Religious Right rant and rave about the erosion of the moral fiber of this country, but often get caught recognizing the usefulness of adultery and prostitutes. Same thing. But I feel guilty that I only complain about the 100 point scale and don't present a better alternative. I believe I have solved that problem, and without the use of prostitutes (sadly, unlike countless stupid wineries, hookers do not provide free samples for bloggers).
Aside from the philosophical complaint that assigning a number to a wine is giving an objective value to a subjective opinion, which I am willing to disregard because philosophy is even stupider than wine reviews, I have always hated the fact that in the course of a year a publication like Wine Spectator assigns hundreds and hundreds of wines, say, 89 points. Nothing wrong with 89 points. Like most of you, I really enjoy kissing my sister, though it's annoying when Mom tries to break us up with cold water. But can it really be true that their critics liked those hundreds of wines exactly the same? That there is absolutely (and numbers are absolutes) no qualitative difference between all of them? That the $150, 89 point Cabernet from Silver Oak is exactly the same quality as the 89 point, $20 bottle of Penfold's 10W/40? If it is, that's fine. But it is hard to swallow. (OK, so we're back to the hookers again.)
So it occurred to me that the problem isn't assigning numbers to wine, the problem is we're not using enough numbers! 100 points is peanuts in this runaway inflationary era. To reduce the scale to 10 points, like that potted plant Alder Yarrow, is exactly wrong. Parker has said that he modeled it after the scale we are all familiar with from our days in school. Isn't that a telling remark? We're all just a bunch of half-wit students sitting at the knee of an oh-so-wise wine critic, taking copious notes, and trying to imagine what it's like to be so smart! To be able to grade wines so quickly and accurately. How will we ever graduate and become teachers too?! So the 100 point scale isn't only wrongheaded, it's insulting. But, in my view, not insulting enough.
I have created the HoseMaster Scale of 1,000,000 Points! That's right, the Million Point Scale. And here is the best feature of my Million Point Scale--no two wines will ever receive the same score! And, here's another unique feature, my Million Point Scale starts at 1! That's right. I have had a wine that scored 7 on the Million Point Scale--I believe it was a Nichelini Zinfandel, but I'd have to look it up. And it's impossible for me, or any critic, to rate a million wines, so each wine will have its own unique number! Readers will know exactly where each wine falls with respect to every other wine I've scored. So, if I'd used the HoseMaster Scale on the wines I've previous reviewed on my outrageously popular "What's the HoseMaster Drinking?" segments and scored, say, the Benovia Pinot Noir 356,875 points (not the actual score) and the Allemand Cornas 356,877 points (again, not the actual score), the reader would know that I liked them about the same, but preferred the Cornas! It's brilliant, and, pay attention here wineries, it's incomparable marketing material. Think of the shelf talkers! "Murphy-Goode 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon--107,452 Points!!!" Even crappy scores sound great. This is the shot in the arm our struggling industry needs.
She's got her own HoseMaster Million Point Scale!
I know it will take time, but I believe that eventually every reputable critic and publication will adopt the HoseMaster Million Point Scale. There's no reason not to. Will there ever be a wine that rates 1,000,000 points? Not on my watch! I hereby swear on Robert Parker's grave that I will never award a wine more than 995,000 points. A score above that sends the wrong message, I think. Nothing is that close to perfection. I mean, come on, it's a scale, no sense getting carried away.