How To Rate Wine With Your Friends and Have Fun Doing It. Great "Meritage" Wine Under $25.

simple rules to rate wines with your friends

As I have mentioned I own a company that reviews wine, and I also write Custom Wine List for many Restaurants, Clubs, and Resorts here in the US and abroad. As owner of "Stellar Cellar" it is my duty to see that every wine gets a fair review. To do this I have a group of people from the industry, and others I have great respect for as they are professional wine collectors. We seldom agree on every aspect of the wine, however I have devised a Grading Card which each tester marks as he or she feels best describes the wine and its character. After all cards are gathered I average the score for each category. This will result in the final score when added together for the test wine.

Each wine is judged on color, nose, taste, finish, and overall drinkability. I try and keep it simple as each part of the test is measured in tenths. Example, on taste it may rate as low as a 50, and you may add votes up to 10 points as high as a 10 or anywhere in between such as an 8.8, it just depends your personal review. So if a wine gets a rating of:

6.1 + 7.0 + 5.5 + 4.0 + 10.0    the total score will be 32.6 + the 50 points each wine starts with giving us a total of 82.6 in this category when all totals are averaged this is the score of the wine.

When all five categories are added together we average the totals and arrive at the end score for the tested wine. Remember when testing wine to test like wines; for instance all Merlot with in the same price range or from the same state or the same region. By grouping the wine to be tested it is easier to reach a fair conclusion and arrive at a fair review.

Last night I hosted a "Wine Party" where we reviewed "Meritage" Wines under $25. "Meritage" Wines are wines produced in countries other than "France" that are "Bordeaux" style wines. This means they are blended wines where no one grape is 75% or more of the blend. Most "Meritage" wines are comprised of 3 to 5 grape blends some as many as 7 grapes are used. The end result is a distinctly smooth and rich wine with which each grape brings out the best in the others in the blend.

Our wines we reviewed are as follows with a brief description of the over all review. I do hope you will try some of the wines I review, and let me know what you think of our conclusions. I am always' on a quest to find Great wines at Great Price to share with friends. Many wines increase in price due to demand or because of label recognition. The more demand for a certain wine the more expensive it becomes, this is how wine makers make the most profit from their product. I am sure you have noticed some wines start out affordable and over time become more expensive, at times they may become over priced in my opinion. There are many Fantastic wines on the market made by great winemakers around the world that are yet to be discovered by the wine snobs....LOL! Many people just rely on others to make decisions for them when it comes to saying what is good or great, I always like to make my on judgements on these matters....LOL!

  • KENDALL-JACKSON, 2006 Meritage Vintners Reserve:  A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and 1% Cabernet Franc. Our findings resulted in a score of 62.3 for this wine. Over all we were not impressed, while some found it to be desirable in taste, most were discouraged by the finish, and noted the acid to be out of balance with the fruit flavor in the wine. Notes of Coffee, Berries, and some smoke were recognized.
  • HAYMAN HILL, 2005 Meritage Reserve: A blend of 43.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24.7% Merlot, 5.7% Cabernet Franc, 15% Malbec, and 11.3% Petite Verdot make up the blend for this wine. Over all review score was 96.8 for this wine! A more than excellent score considering it was the most inexpensive of the three tasted! Testers noted a velvet like texture to the wine with flavors of Black Cherry, Tobacco, Vanilla, Leather, Dried Fruits, and Spice. All were impressed with the long finish giving you a multi-layered full mouthfeel. I highly suggest this wine will be a great investment and be even better in 1-3 more years! But it is great drinking right now!
  •  Nicholas Cole, GraEagle Red Wing 2006 : A blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot, 6% Syrah, and 3% Petite Verdot make up this wine. This is a Meritage from Washington State, and got very high marks from our testers! The over all review score was 95.7 just shy of the winner, we all loved the beautiful nose of the wine! Very tasty with hints of Fig, Cranberry, Dirt, Chocolate, and Nutmeg. This wine just rolled down your tongue with a velvet finish. It seemed just too young by a hair, I suggest it will be much better in 1-3 years a very nice investment wine.

You may ask why should you trust my group of experts? I only say our group is not tainted by the industry breathing down our backs, we are just lovers of wine! All the tasting and reviews are done "Blind" as they should be, so as not to be influenced by name of product, origin, or any other outside influence. I try to surround myself with people who are knowledgeable in wine but not wine snobs. We all know a few of them. The people who only drink wines with high marks or say one winemaker is the only maker to drink if you want a quality wine. Well I say that is just not true, the "Stellar Cellar" group has been reviewing wines for 5 years now. We have always based our final judgement on just how much we liked the wine, not the Vineyard or the Winemaker. I try to offer just simple reviews on wines that I hope will get you to try some new wines that may be more affordable, or just offer exceptional taste!

Watch for other Wine reviews, as well as reviews on Spirits, Ports, and even Beer. I do hope you find these articles of interest and enjoy the products as much as I have! Have a "Wine Tasting Party" of your own it is a great way to introduce new wines to your friends and great fun!

Other Red Meritage we have reviewed are listed here with the rating scores by "Stellar Cellar":

These wines retail from $32-$60........and all offer great quality and value!

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Posted on Aug 11, 2009