Monday, August 4, 2008

Bodegas Juan Gil Juan Gil 2005

As a retailer, I am amazed by the number of people who won’t buy a wine that it 89 points. “What’s so wrong with 89 points out of 100?” I think to myself. I worked my butt off in high school to get 89 points, which was a B by the way, so I don’t see the issue. Yet so many of our customers think if it isn’t 90 or above, why bother? Well, along comes a spot light on the shortcomings of that thought process, The 89 Project, and I have been invited to help enlighten the masses. I humbly offer my first contribution to the site with the Bodegas Juan Gil Juan Gil 2005 from Jumilla.

This amazing red from the Spanish importer Jorge Ordonez is 100% pure Monastrell (Mourvedre) and demonstrates what is so amazing about the region of Jumilla. Big, bold, jammy fruit, expressive aromas, and full-bodied complexity – these are all attributes that you would expect the reviewers to be all over. And you’d be wrong.

Both Wine Spectator and Stephen Tanzer rewarded the Juan Gill with 89 points. Here are their reviews:

(Wine Spectator) “An expressive red, with blackberry, kirsch, chocolate and cola flavors in a plush texture. A modern style, but notes of game and leather keep this grounded. Monastrell. Drink now through 2011.” [Nov. 15, 2007]

(Stephen Tanzer) “Inky violet. Intense floral, spice and red berry aromas offer striking pungency and clarity. Sweet red fruit on the palate, dusted by sexy oak spices and gaining a suave gingerbread quality on the close. With its sweet finish and impressive silky persistence, this reminds me of a Southern Rhone wine.” [Sept/Oct. 2007]

My impression of both of these reviews is that the wine is really good. So why the 89 points? There isn’t any tell-tale indication of how they came up with just 89 points. And to be fair, the Wine Advocate gave the wine 90+ though Dr. Jay Miller, who I find to be incredibly lazy, posted no accompanying tasting notes – so there is no telling what made him give this wine the 90+ score.

The whole ratings scale is obtuse, yet nothing more mindboggling than all the 89 pointers out there. Do yourself a favor, and find yourself a wine with an 89 point score. Buy it, try it, and you will most certainly love it. And perhaps you may be influenced a bit to see the wine scores for what they truly are – crap.


dhonig said...

Welcome aboard. The more I read and drink the more I become convinced "89" means one of the following:

a. An excellent wine from somewhere other than Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Napa, or Barossa;

b. A merely good wine from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Napa, or Barossa;

c. An excellent wine under $20;

d. a merely good wine over $75.

Feel free to add your own definitions.

JZ said...

What's interesting is that a 90 from Jay Miller is almost a pan (and the no-tasting-notes is insulting!), an 89 from Wine Spectator is a 'decent but not spectacular' score, and from Tanzer and 89 is pretty amazing.