Our Wine Quality Ratings (see How to Use this guide) are intended to give a truer assessment of wine quality than a vintage dependent point score. It is nearly always based on scores from a minimum of two recent vintages. Wine shows and competitions encourage the production of wines of flattering first impressions but don’t always reward those that show at their best with age. Nor do they address the implications of the vintage characteristics. Rather than a snapshot, consensual tasting mentality we believe in tasting wines again and again (both blind and non-blind) in order to gain a better understanding of a wine’s style and when it should be drunk.
A rating combined with an understanding of the style is the key to discovering the best wines, and that means those you will most enjoy. Before choosing a bottle for immediate consumption always ask yourself which wine works best now, reflects my mood, personality, or that of my friends or family? What flavours do I want? How much flavour? By buying wine for cellaring it will be possible to contrast different vintages of the same wine. Alternatively from a case of the same wine the gradual development and increasing maturity of a specific vintage can be assessed over a decade or more.
Think of Wine behind the label as a catalogue to a vast array of vinous riches. Choose with the certainty of trying wines of dependable quality that our labours and experience provide through our wine ratings system.
If you haven’t tasted Austrian Grüner Veltliner or Californian Syrah then try a three star example from at least two or three profiled producers. Buy the best new reds from the Languedoc- Roussillon, Southern Italy, Spain or Portugal. In the past five years Germany has made better Riesling than ever before but contrast these with those from Alsace, Austria or Australia. Discover a wealth of fine Pinot Noir from Central Otago, Victoria & Tasmania or North America. Alternatively seek out new names from the classic regions such as Burgundy, Bordeaux or the Rhône, Tuscany or Piedmont, Napa or South Australia. Most of all we implore you to sample more widely.